Little Shop of Horrors (1986) Movie Review: Or the time Bill painstakingly explained the whole film over Facebook chat

Drinking Game

Take a Drink: for Songs

Take a Drink: for cameos (Steve Martin doesn’t count.)

Take a Drink: every time someone says “Seymour”

Take a Drink: every time someone says “Audrey”

Do a Shot: for your favorite song in the movie

Do a Shot: for the original cut ending

Do a Shot: if you’re watching the theatrical cut. Shame on you.

Community Review

How many beers do you recommend for this movie?
1 Beer! A Toast! Great Movie!2 Beers! Good Movie!3 Beers! Okay Movie!4 Beers! Mediocre Movie!5 Beers! Awful Movie!6-Pack! Bad movie! Do not be Sober!

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Movie Review

DISCLAIMER: THIS IS A TRANSCRIPT OF A DRUNKEN RAMBLING FULL-ON PLAY BY PLAY OF THE FILM LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS COPY AND PASTED FROM A FACEBOOK CHAT. IF YOU HAVE NEVER SEEN THE MOVIE, MAJOR SPOILERS LIE AHEAD.

By: Bill Leon (Director’s Cut: A Toast, Theatrical Cut: Two Beers) –

The original stage productions of Little Shop have Howard Ashman doing the prologue. He doesn’t do it in the movie and to this day, I wish he did. He does such a great job at it!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KpbeXt6cwD4

You might prefer the one in the movie… and I understand if you do… but HOWARD. HOWARD. HOWARD.

SMASH CUT TO THE MOVIE!

Two of these girls were later cast on the Martin Lawrence sitcom Martin in the 90s. This song rules. The first time I heard this and saw this part of the movie, I was a young kid drifting out of sleep, falling asleep before the movie even started. So I always assumed this was… something totally different. Some stuff happens in between these two songs but it’s not real important at all.

They live in skid row, a terrible neighborhood. And everyone in this neighborhood is miserable and GOD DAMN IT THIS SONG might be the best song in the movie honestly. The original cut of the movie that is. Rick Moranis gets a chance to shine, Ellen Greene gets a chance to shine, the whole cast of extras knocks it the fuck out of the park. THIS is the song that makes you care about the characters. And their wants and needs throughout the story. Without “Skid Row”, there is NO story.

This song “Skid Row” establishes so many character motivations. Seymour and Audrey both long to get out of Skid Row by any means necessary and then opportunity rears its ugly head. AFTER this song, kind of out of nowhere, Seymour is like, “HEY! I have this anthropomorphic plant we can put in the window and it might attract customers.” Anthropomorphic might not be the right word… They put the plant in the window, his boss Mr. Mushnik says, “You think just because you put a weird plant in the window that people are just going to start-”
THE BELL RINGS. THE DOOR OPENS. A CUSTOMER WALKS IN.
Its Christopher Guest. He’s doing this American accent that’s funny- wants to buy things from them and the subject of where it came from is brought up. And there’s a song about it.

I listen to music just like this on the regular so I dig the fuck out of this track. And the visuals! Woody Allen could have sung this song. “Da Doo” Matter of fact Rick Moranis sounds A LOT like Woody Allen singing this track. AFTER that song, the shop is making money on selling flowers because people see the weird venus flytrap-type plant in the window. They come in, look at it, and buy flowers… because they’re there. The plot comes from the Roger Corman movie of the 60s so… that is what it is. The shop makes good money that day because he puts the plant in the window and Mushnik is pleased with him. OKAY SO let’s sing.

“Grow For Me” is a sweet track that adds to Seymour’s character motivation to get the hell out of the slums and make a better life for himself. I really wish I was capable of writing something so, so sweet but sadly, I don’t think I could ever come close to…
Man.
I’ve given you grow lights and minerals, supplements,
What do you want from me? BLOOD?!?!?
Howard. Fucking. Ashman.
There’s so much more in these lyrics that continue to blow my mind.
I’ve given you sunlight, I’ve given you rain… looks like you’re not happy less I open a vein.
I’ll give you a few drops
if that’ll appease

This shit is sick. Aaaaaw man. We’re getting the fuck into it now.

Ellen Greene as Audrey- she was the originator of this role. She did it in its original production and then in the movie. It’s hard to explain why it’s good cause… Audrey isn’t a good character- at face value. Audrey pretty much sucks. She’s vapid, she longs for whatever she thinks is viable at the time, she romanticizes… everything… It’s Ellen Greene’s performance that makes the character tolerable. So she dates a guy that hits her… but also romanticizes Seymour from afar. And this is where after coming home from getting beaten up by her boyfriend, she fantasizes about a better life with Seymour.

This might be the most famous song in the movie.

They make reference to Howdy Doody in “Somewhere That’s Green”- This all takes place in the 60s like the original film. There isn’t even a break between that song and the next one. It literally goes from one extreme to the other at the drop of a hat.

I’ve always liked this song though. Yeah! Reggae? Why the fuck not? I kept thinking to myself “This movie needs more almost-reggae music in it!” The visuals are actually really important to the story. At the end of “Some Fun Now,” there’s a scene with Audrey, Seymour, and Mushnik at work, frantically dealing with all the new customers they have. Mushnik calls Audrey’s boyfriend a bum because he knows he hits her. I think he asks her about it and she lies like “I FELL INTO A DOORKNOB” or some dumb shit. It’s not a super important dialogue scene it; just sets up her shitty boyfriend PLAYED BY STEVE MARTIN!

And if you don’t like this song… something might be wrong with you. This is the shit. The guy spitting at the end of this song cuts to Seymour pouring a bucket of water out in the alley. Steve Martin’s character… Orin Scrivello what a name. He pulls up on his motorcycle and he talks to Seymour, he’s kind of a dick-as expected. He takes Audrey out for a date on his motorcycle and Seymour stays at the shop. Seymour talks to the big upright plant Audrey II before walking out of the store. “Why can’t *I* get the girl?” Shit like that. And all of a sudden, it falls over.

He’s like, “What? Is it sick? What can I do? This plant is basically my fucking livelyhood now.” And the plant’s venus flytrap mouth opens up uttering one of the most famous movie lines of the 80s and for that matter perhaps all time: “Feed me.” At first its a weak “feed me” like its struggling to talk and Seymour… let me see if I can find movie footage. Cause I doubt I can do it justice. Close enough.

Pretty much right after I stopped describing the scene.

Rick Moranis and Levi Stubbs of The Four Tops. These two. Fuck. The video cuts off too early.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5ea5jKFGgUw

That muppet team fucking moves a plant around. I tell you what. Cause Audrey II blew me away the first time I saw this and it blows me away now. What the hell happens in between the next two songs? Oh yeah. Bill Murray happens.

This scene is amazing. Sadist meets masochist. And the sadist IS PISSED. I’ve never seen the Roger Corman film this movie and the play it’s based on adapt but… from what I understand, this is the role Jack Nicholson played. So Rick comes in and kills Steve Martin’s character Orin. He feeds him to the plant. Mr. Mushnik sees him.

SOME would argue this is the best part of the movie. It aint my favorite part but I think it is a necessary element of the film and the story. SO Audrey finds out Orin Scrivello- still a great name- is dead and she’s like depressed about it for a minute… but then… very quickly… some might say SUDDENLY…

People go APE SHIT for this song. It’s the “You’re The One That I Want” of this movie. Although I prefer this song immensely over anything in Grease. Rick and Ellen both fucking bring it. Here comes old man Mushnik, though, to confront Seymour about what he saw!

The doo wop girls AKA the Greek chorus. Fucking sickos. They’re totally supporting the plant-eating Mushnik. It’s great. Ooooooh what a segue! Here’s where you’re gonna get bitch fit number one. The first time I saw the movie- the end of the clip you just saw leads into this.

“Let’s toast it. Up Yours!” That dude just said “Up Yours”… Why does he say “Up Yours!”??? Isn’t that an insult? Anyway, the end of this scene is Seymour being shoved into the shop after Mushnik has died and the publicity has gotten even more out of control.
But wait… what WAS that we just saw? A fraction of a song?
*deep breath*
YOU HAD GOLD. SOLID GOLD. AND YOU CUT IT FROM THE MOVIE??!??!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZZtguxa8Kpc

THIS is the full version of “The Meek Shall Inherit” WITH Rick Moranis GIVING A GOD DAMN SINGING SHOW STOPPER TO FUCKING RIVAL ANYONE EVER… AND THEY FUCKING CUT IT. Just wait. JUST WAIT til you hear Rick Moranis’s part in this. It’s jaw dropping.  They cut this. Just keep that in mind as you listen. THEY CUT THIS. It’s unforgivable once you know it- and don’t get me wrong, the soundtrack prior to this has been fantastic… but this is like… EVERYTHING. The entire emotional core of the story hangs on this. It’s a man rising up in anger and being beaten down by a grim realization. AND. THEY. FUCKING. CUT. IT. If you EVER questioned Rick Moranis’ singing ability, *I* say look no further than “The Meek Shall Inherit”. He fucking brings it.

And Howard Ashman’s wordplay here?

Although it means you’ll be broke again and unemployed,
It’s the only solution, it can’t be avoided,
The vegetable must be destroyed!

“The Meek Shall Inherit” is a better song than “Suddenly Seymour”. I think “The Meek Shall Inherit”- even if it would’ve made the movie a little longer- should’ve been included ESPECIALLY once we get into the ending(s) of this movie. So… what happens in between this and the next song…? well… if I remember correctly Seymour and Audrey agree to get married and run away from Skid Row- Seymour has money… presumably from hijacking the now dead Mushnik’s flower shop profits… the movie never explicitly mentions that… In “The Meek Shall Inherit,” hes offered a gardening TV Show and I think in the movie we’re supposed to think he’s taking the check from that and running off… but… okay. Either way. Seymour is a thief, and a liar, and a murderer.

In the play, these are ALL things that matter significantly. In the movie… he’s bumbling Rick Moranis and we love him. Which is kind of true. No one else could play this role. AND I believe that’s why so many stage productions of this fail for me personally because Seymour… is a bad person if you really step back and evaluate it. Rick Moranis is one of a few people who can pull it off and make you still like him. Seymour being a bad person- I’ll get to that. I’m getting super ahead of myself… or am I? Around this point in the story, the play would be entering its final scene. But the movie added a song. Audrey II convinces Seymour to go get her some meat- as if she would actually eat it. And he leaves. She calls Audrey- who lives across the street on a payphone and basically outs herself as a talking plant. Audrey rushes over to the shop and attempts to eat her. Bitch fit number 2 oncoming. Audrey IS being chewed on by Audrey II when Seymour returns and he pulls her out and takes her outside the store to “safety”.

Now at this point… two alternate timelines split apart. Two separate endings to the movie are born. You can probably guess somewhat the differences… but at the same time… god damn. Let me tell you all about it. So the movie I saw as a kid- the original cut of this movie most people are familiar with: Audrey doesn’t die from being chewed up. She stays outside the shop and recovers health RPG style I guess. Seymour goes back in and this happens.

This song is in both endings. I love it. It’s another staple of the movie. It ALMOST makes up for “The Meek Shall Inherit” being cut. ‘Cause that WAS in the play and this wasn’t. Exclusive to the film. ALMOST makes up for it. This song grooves though. And it’s catchy as hell. And this is the big reveal that the plant was an alien from space the whole time. “That’s tough titty, kid!” – a line that has stuck with me since childhood. And then he shocks the plant with a hanging live wire… and electrocutes her to death and she explodes.

And Audrey survives and they all lived happily ever after… OR DO THEY?!?!?! The workprint every fan originally saw before the Bluray was in black and white… and this scene still works infinitely well in black and white.

Ironically, though, the part right after. The final song that’s not in the theatrical cut of the movie “Don’t Feed The Plants” looks brilliant in color.

Also “Peoria” is name checked in this song. AND THEN THE GOD DAMN PLANTS TAKE OVER.
Godzilla style. Fuck. Yes. Levi Stubbs laughin’ and shit. You don’t get a better ending to this movie than that. It’s literally not possible. God damn.

Verdict

What you have just seen is a lightly edited actual rambling I made on Facebook. Little Shop of Horrors is one of my favorite films of all time. For as much as I bitch about what’s been cut out, the original theatrical version of the movie is still great… just not as great as it should have been. The newly restored Director’s Cut that puts the cut stuff back in is the true masterpiece, though. Check it out.

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About Bill Leon

Writer/Podcast at Movieboozer

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