Roger Corman – The Little Shop Of Horrors DVD (1960) Eureka Video (1999) New

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$9.62

Roger Corman’s cult horror comedy, in which a shy young florist bites off more than he can chew when he nurtures a maneating plant from outer space. Jack Nicholson made his film debut as a masochistic dental patient. Allegedly shot in two days, this film spawned a stage show and a 1986 remake.

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Even by Roger Corman’s thrifty standards, The Little Shop of Horrors was a masterpiece of micro-budget movie-making. Scripted in a week and shot, according to Corman, in two days and one night, it made use of a pre-existing store-front set that serves as the florist’s shop where most of the action takes place. Our hero is shambling loser Seymour Krelboined, sad-sack assistant at Mushnick’s skid-row flower shop and who is hopelessly in love with Audrey, his fellow worker. Threatened with the sack by Mushnick, Seymour brings in a strange plant he’s been breeding at home, hoping it’ll attract the customers. It does, and the store starts to prosper, but Seymour is horrified to discover that the only thing the plant will thrive on is blood, fresh, human blood at that.

The sets are pasteboard, the acting is way over the top, and altogether Little Shop is an unabashed high-camp spoof, not to be taken seriously for a second. Even so, Corman notes that this was the movie “that established me as an underground legend”. Charles Griffith, the film’s screenwriter, plays the voice of the insatiable plant (“FEED ME!”), and billed way down the cast list is a very young Jack Nicholson in a bizarre, giggling cameo as Wilbur Force, a masochistic dental patient demanding ever more pain. The film’s cult status got it turned into an off-Broadway hit musical in the 1980s, with a great pastiche doo-wop score by Alan Menken, which was subsequently filmed in 1986. The musical remake is a lot of fun, but it misses the ramshackle charm of the original.