Film / Little Shop of Horrors

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"Feed me, Seymour!"

Little Shop of Horrors is a 1986 film adaptation of the musical of the same name, which was in turn loosely adapted from the original 1960 film, itself loosely based on the book Green Thoughts. It starred Rick Moranis in his last singing role, which in turn inspired a revival of the musical. It is Frank Oz's first film as a solo director (he'd co-directed his previous films with Jim Henson) and his first outside of the Muppet label, and would start his line of subsequent comedy films.

The film follows the stage version fairly closely, except for a Focus Group Ending in which Audrey II is defeated and Seymour and Audrey survive to live happily ever after, filmed after the original play's Downer Ending (where the plant wins and Audrey and Seymour are eaten) did horribly with test audiences. On October 9, 2012, the director's cut was released, featuring the original, darker ending which is closer to that of the musical and digitally remastered.

On December 7, 2016, it was announced that Warner Bros. had hired Greg Berlantinote  to direct a remake, to be written by Matthew Robinson.


The film provides examples ofnote :

  • Adaptational Alternate Ending: The 1986 film adaptation has a happy ending where Seymour and Audrey defeat the evil plant and live Happily Ever After, as opposed to the 1960 film where Seymour gets eaten, and the stage version where everyone gets eaten and it's implied that the plant will eventually destroy humanity, starting with the audience.
  • Adaptation Distillation through Pragmatic Adaptation: The subplot about Mr. Mushnik adopting Seymour is dropped, along with a few incidental songs, to make a tight 90-minute narrative. Also worth noting, the scene with Bill Murray as a masochistic dental patient did not appear in the stage version. It derives from a famous scene in the 1960 movie which originally featured Jack Nicholson in this role. Additonally, the Dragnet-parodying cops Joe Fink and Frank Stoolie of the original film are more or less entirely dropped from both musical versions, although they are briefly seen conversing with Audrey before the film's "Suddenly, Seymour" scene.
  • Adaptation-Induced Plot Hole: Of a musical sort. The soundtrack featured the extended versions of "Meen Green Mother From Outer Space" and "The Meek Shall Inherit" and the completely excised "Don't Feed the Plant", causing confusion for people who only saw the original ending. Oddly, "Subsequently" was not on the soundtrack.
  • Adult Fear: It's hardly a coincidence that "Skid Row", a song about poverty and working-class depression, features a shot of Seymour slowly backing away in horror from a bunch of homeless alcoholics climbing a fence to get at him.
  • Advertised Extra: The cover for the director's cut features radio announcer Wink Wilkinson besides Audrey and Orin.
  • Aliens Are Bastards: Audrey II sings she's from outer space and she's mean, green and bad.
  • An Aesop: Of the "Don't Do A Deal with the Devil" variety. That is, "Don't Feed The Plants".
  • Answer Cut: "What kind of professional rides a motorcycle and wears a black leather jacket?" Cue Orin Scrivello, DDS.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: When Seymour is offered a chance to sell Audrey II cuttings, the three things that echo through his thoughts are every household in America having one, Audrey II's everywhere, and it being bigger than Hula Hoops.
    • Subverted in that the "bigger than Hula Hoops" line is an affirmation of the "Audrey II's everywhere" line, since Hula Hoops became quite popular in the late 50s early 60s.
  • Apocalypse How: The Audrey II invasion as depicted in the original ending could potentially range anywhere from Class 0 to Class 5.
  • Asshole Victim: Mushnik. He was a horrible boss to Seymour, then he blackmailed Seymour to leave town and hand over all the fame and fortune the plant can bring or else he'd "expose" Seymour to the police as Orin's murderer, though all Mushnik gets in the end is the honor of being Audrey 2's dinner.
  • Ax-Crazy: Orin Scrivello.
  • The Bad Guy Wins: In the Director's Cut.
  • Badass Boast: Sung by Audrey II in the original ending just as he eats Seymour:
    Audrey II: And I... AM... BAD!
  • Bad People Abuse Animals: As part of his musical number, Dr. Orin Scrivello, D.D.S. mentions murdering lots of puppies, fish and cats before his mother noticed his "funny" behavior and suggested he put his sadism to more profitable use by taking up dentistry instead.
  • Berserk Button: Don't hurt Audrey in front of Seymour.
    Seymour: (singing) You need blood and he's got more than enough!
  • Better Living Through Evil: Audrey II uses this method to convince Seymour to feed it Orin and Mushnik by bringing up the fact that it could make Seymour rich. It eventually works once Seymour realizes what he could buy with the insane amount of money Audrey II is capable of bringing in.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Seymour. He decides to kill Orin when he sees him beating Audrey. He does it not by firing the revolver he brought with him, but by letting Orin die from asphyxiation. He also later electrocruted Audrey II to kill it once and for all.
  • Big Damn Kiss: Seymour and Audrey have one at the end of "Suddenly, Seymour".
  • Bittersweet Ending: The Focus Group Ending: Seymour has succeeded in defeating Audrey II and saving Audrey, allowing her and him to run off to the suburbs but they have to live with what Seymour did to get there, and another baby Twoey is in their garden . . .
  • Bo Diddley Beat: "Mean Green Mother From Outer Space" uses it at the end of each stanza during the rap section.
  • Boredom Montage: This happens when Seymour, Audrey, and Mushnik boredly wait for customers to arrive at the shop.
  • Bottomless Magazines: Audrey II steals Seymour's tiny pistol during "Mean Green Mother from Outer Space" and proceeds to fire about twelve shots at him.
    • The original ending features Seymour firing a few extra shots before the gun is taken.
  • Braces of Orthodontic Overkill: Orin's last victim-er, patient,note  winds up in something out one of the Saw movies.
  • Card-Carrying Villain: Audrey II and Orin.
  • Catch-Phrase: "FEED ME!"
  • Celeb Crush: "How about a date with Hedy Lamarr? You gonna get it!"
  • Cheshire Cat Grin: The little Audrey II in both versions. However, in the Director's Cut, it's far more nasty in context.
  • Corrupt the Cutie: Seymour wasn't a bad person, and he was actually offering his own blood to Audrey II to feed it. But when Twoey opened his trap and said he wanted more . . .
  • Cut-and-Paste Suburb: "Somewhere That's Green"
  • Dark Reprise: The "Somewhere That's Green" reprise, where the somewhere in question is inside Audrey II. When Seymour feeds her body to the plant, there's a swelling instrumental version of "Skid Row".
  • Death by Cameo: In the original workprint ending, director Frank Oz is seen being eaten by the Audrey IIs invading New York.
  • Depraved Dentist: Orin Scrivello, DDS, of course. It's not for nothing that he's the trope image.
  • Diabolus ex Machina: Completely inverted with the Focus Group Ending.
  • Disappeared Dad: According to "Suddenly, Seymour", Audrey's father walked out when she was young.
  • The Door Slams You: During "Dentist!", Orin slams open a door and it hits the same dental nurse in the face he had punched early in the song.
  • Eat 'Em All: In the Director's Cut ending, the plants destroy cities going around snatching and eating humans. The plants will undoubtedly eat up all the adults, but imagine what the plants might do to the children once they realize they need to allow the human race to keep reproducing so that they won't run out of food. It shouldn't be surprising if the plants were to put the children inside cages and force them to mate then make babies.
  • The End... Or Is It?: The closing shot reveals a certain strange and interesting plant outside Seymour and Audrey's garden, and then it smiles...
  • Establishing Character Moment: Orin's Villain Song marks him as an Ax-Crazy sadist dentist and quite possibly also The Sociopath.
  • Even Bad Men Love Their Mamas: Orin has a closet shrine in his office to his late mothernote , as seen during "Dentist!".
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Orin, a sadist, is horrified when he realizes one of his patients is a masochist, and actively enjoying the pain he so loves to inflict upon others.
  • Focus Group Ending: The stage adaptation's Downer Ending with our heroes being eaten and multiple Audrey IIs taking over the world was shot, but focus groups decided to change this in favor of the less confronting The End... Or Is It? ending. It had the unfortunate side-effect of Paul Dooley being replaced by Jim Belushi.
  • Foreshadowing: Seymour names the plant Audrey II! Isn't that cute? She tells Seymour to give her body to the plant after she dies. That way, when he feeds it, he'll be feeding Audrey, too.
  • For the Evulz: Orin is a sadistic bully who does malicious things, even to children, just for the fun of it. He's cruel enough to convince Seymour that Orin truly did deserve getting eaten by the plant.
  • The Fourth Wall Will Not Protect You: Twice in the original ending:
    Greek Chorus: And what they proceeded to do is eat Cleveland, and Des Moines, and Peoria, and New York.... and where ''you'' live!
    • Then Audrey II at the end bursts through the screen to attack the audience.
  • The Gardener: Seymour and Audrey are Mundane Gardeners who work at a flower shop. When Seymour starts taking care of Audrey II, things start going downhill.
  • Gender Equals Breed: In the "Somewhere That's Green" dream sequence, which was one of the inspirations for the trope, Seymour and Audrey's kids are identical to their mother and father.
  • Hilarious Outtakes: Oh yeah. So many gems in these. Especially Steve Martin at about 1:17.
    Vincent Gardenia: So work, Seymour! Nurse this plant back to death! To death...
    Ellen Greene: Oh, Seymour, we gotta ge–I forgot my line!
    Rick Moranis: (Beat) MY LEGS!!
    Ellen Greene: The vine is coming *into* my dress?
    Rick Moranis: THE SEQUEL! WHAT ABOUT THE SEQUEL?!
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Orin dies from asphyxiation by abusing nitrous oxide, wearing a mask to receive a constant supply, but he accidentally breaks an intake valve and is unable to take the mask off.
  • Homage Shot: In the Director's Cut, "Don't Feed the Plants" begins with the chorus singing in front of an American flag, evoking Patton.
  • Hypocritical Humor:
    • Orin: "Goddamn sicko."
    • Audrey tells Seymour he suffers from low self-esteem, the same thing the urchins say Audrey suffers from.
  • Ironic Echo:
    • In the original ending, Audrey's "Somewhere That's Green", in which she imagines herself as being part of the plant that Seymour takes care of.
    • The same scene also has the melody of "Suddenly Seymour", a song about Seymour inviting Audrey to come clean with him because he won't judge her. That's exactly what happens, only their roles are reversed.
    • "Skid Row" tells us people who live in Skid Row are doomed to die there because of rampant poverty and the exploitation of the working poor. At the end, Seymour is doomed to die there because of what he did to become rich and successful.
  • "I Want" Song: "Somewhere That's Green," as sung by Audrey.
  • Kick the Dog: Orin frequently does this. He did this literally as a child by shooting puppies with a BB gun, then as he walks into his practice, he twists the head off a doll a girl is holding. Then of course there's his treatment of Audrey.
  • Kick the Morality Pet: Seymour has already been having qualms about feeding people to plants, and only trying a meat substitute near the climax, but what causes him to turn against Twoey? When Audrey II tries to eat the original Audrey.
  • Large Ham: Almost everyone, but Levi Stubbs in particular sounds like he's having an absolute blast.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: In the original film, Seymour's Despair Event Horizon has him feeding himself to Audrey Jr. He and his victims appear as "roses" when the buds bloom.
  • Lighter and Softer: See Darker and Edgier and Dark Reprise in the play version. It manages to contain all these aspects in its songs, but somehow makes it lighthearted simply by changing the ending and some of the songs.
  • Match Cut: At the end of "Dentist!", one of Orin's patients is shown spitting water. The scene cuts and water is shown splashing into a puddle, which turns out to be Seymour dumping a bucket.
  • May–December Romance: Audrey apparently considers herself and Seymour to be this, calling herself "his December bride." Either she's being hyperbolic about their age gap or she looks very good for her age.
    • Not actually an age reference, but to the TV show December Bride. The next line refers to Father Knows Best.
  • Militaries Are Useless: In the more popular ending of the film, the United States Army mobilize in a hurry and desperately do everything they can to stop the plants with a variety of weapons including rifles, bazookas, handguns and machine guns. Earlier, Seymour tried shooting at Audrey 2 with a gun but the bullets just bounced off the plant's skin so this should point out the U.S. Army can't hurt the plants either.
  • Mouth Cam: During "Dentist".
  • Movie Bonus Song: "Mean Green Mother From Outer Space", and arguably "Some Fun Now" (which is a rewrite of the musical's "Ya Never Know").
  • Musicalis Interruptus
  • Not Brainwashed: Audrey in the Focus Group Ending reveals that she loved Seymour all along, for the man he was, and not because of the plant or the money.
  • Oh, Crap!: All of the main characters get this one at some point.
    • Seymour has a lot of these right before and during the Mean Green Mother song. Even though Seymour already knew Audrey II can catch and eat humans at will much like a Venus flytrap, only now he is learning of what potential the plant has (in order):
      • Able to create offspring (Oh Crap!)
      • Able to burst his pot open and be able to stand without any dirt for support (Oh Crap!)
      • Is immune to bullets (Oh Crap!)
      • Grows proportionately even bigger than before Audrey II started singing "Mean Green Mother" (Oh Crap!)
      • Grabs Seymour with her vines and proceeds to devour him (Oh NOOOO!)
  • Paparazzi: Lots of these show up at the shop shortly after the plant eats Mushnik. Seymour doesn't handle them very well.
  • Parrot Exposition: In the theatrical version, Seymour in an insert shot gasps and says, "Outer space?!" after Audrey II has just sung he's from outer space, and it's quite obvious from the total eclipse scene that Audrey II just beamed himself from someone out there. The insert is removed in the Director's Cut.
  • Pet the Dog:
    • Mushnik keeps telling Audrey that she should stop going out with Orin after she comes to work with a black eye.
    • In the Director's Cut, Audrey II allows Seymour to feed Audrey to it in a dignified, almost ritualistic way, in sort of a plant-variation of a Viking Funeral.
  • Plant Aliens:
    "Get this straight! I'm just a mean, green mother from outer space and I'm bad!"
  • Phrase Catcher: "What a strange and interesting plant..."
  • Pragmatic Adaptation: Frank Oz explained the Focus Group Ending as being a consequence of adapting the stage play to a different medium:
    "I learned a lesson: in a stage play, you kill the leads and they come out for a bow — in a movie, they don't come out for a bow, they're dead. They're gone and so the audience lost the people they loved, as opposed to the theater audience where they knew the two people who played Audrey and Seymour were still alive. They loved those people, and they hated us for it."
  • Public Medium Ignorance: Thanks to this movie, people have mistakenly rented or downloaded Corman's 1960 movie, thinking it was this version.
  • Punny Name: Mrs. Shiva always needs funeral lilies. (Even in the 1986 film, though we never meet her there.)
  • Reaction Shot: Seymour's final showdown with Audrey II is packed with shots of Audrey peering through the window at the action. Clearly this was placed in the Focus Group Ending, as she's dead at this point in the original cut. Interestingly, the theatrical release also features another reaction shot in this battle that's not in the director's cut: Seymour verbally reacting to Audrey II's revelation that he came from outer space.
  • Recut: The Blu-ray reissue includes a version of the movie with the original Kill 'em All ending fully restored.
  • Revolvers Are For Amateurs: Seymour, a man clearly not predisposed to violence, carries a revolver when he goes to kill Orin. He's so lacking in confidence with the firearm that he never actually uses it, Orin instead accidentally killing himself.
  • Save the Villain: Seymour saves Audrey 2 from starvation with drops of his own blood out of pity. (Grow for Me)
  • Shrine to the Fallen: Played for Laughs—Orin has a closet shrine to his dearly departed mom.
  • Shout-Out: To Ray Harryhausen. The theater Audrey II destroys is showing Jason and the Argonauts.
  • Silence Is Golden:
    • The scene where Seymour first notices Audrey II craving his blood lacks all the dialogue used in the stage version, which probably would have sounded like Narrating the Obvious by movie standards.
    • Also from the Director's Cut, when Seymour gets eaten, you can see the back-up pods laughing maniacally and Seymour screaming, but all you hear is the background music.
  • Skip the Anesthetic: Orin has laughing gas/nitrous oxide, but it's for him, not his patients.
  • The Sociopath: Orin is very likely one, considering he started off harming animals as a child (one of the early signs of being a sociopath) and committing such acts without any shame, and he shows none.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance: The Director's Cut is rather guilty of this during the ending sequence, when the Audrey IIs' attack on New York - complete with some rather horrifying imagery of buildings being smashed and people fleeing for their lives - is accompanied by the funky song, "Don't Feed the Plants".
    • "Mean Green Mother from Outer Space" is a variation. Throughout the song, it keeps switching from sinister and imposing to upbeat and gospel-esque.
  • Spared by the Adaptation: In the Focus Group Ending, Audrey and Seymour. Note that Audrey has a recursive case of this, as she didn't die in the original film that the musical itself was based on.
  • Squick: Invoked by Seymour when Audrey II informs him the blood must be human, and must be fresh.
    Seymour: Twooey, that's disgusting.
  • Stepford Smiler: One of the mini Audrey II's does this when Seymour realizes Audrey II's plan.
  • Stepford Suburbia: In the film, Seymour and Audrey escape Skid Row. But one of the mini-Audrey IIs comes with them!
  • Stylistic Suck: Sort of. There is a deliberate artificiality to the sets and costumes, and the story is clearly not meant to be taken seriously. According to Frank Oz, Howard Ashman's exact words to him were "This is supposed to be stupid. My tongue was firmly in my cheek when I wrote it!"
  • Take Over the World:
    "Every household in America, that's what you had in mind all along, isn't it?"note 
  • This Is Something He's Got to Do Himself: "Wait for me, Audrey—this is between me and the vegetable!"
  • This Is Gonna Suck: Audrey II's Famous Last Words: "Oh shit !!".
  • Too Dumb to Live: Audrey in the "Suppertime" reprise. Doubles as Adaptational Dumbass, as she went into the shop looking for Seymour in the play and was too uneasy to sleep.
  • Too Kinky to Torture: Arthur Denton.
  • Trash the Set: In the final scene, Audrey II smashes and destroys practically every significant prop in the flower store individually before collapsing the whole roof. The sign, the phone, the cash register, the display rack, everything Mushnik built is gone.
  • Triumphant Reprise: At the end of the Focus Group Ending when Seymour and Audrey get out of Skid Row and move into Audrey's dream home, a happy, light reprisal of "Somewhere That's Green" is playing.
  • 20 Minutes into the Past: The Opening Scroll says it's "In an early year of a decade. Not too long before our own".
    • The radio refers to Kennedy being president so it must be set between 1961 and 1963.
  • Unlimited Wardrobe: The Greek Chorus have a better dresser than Michelle Obama.
  • Villain Song: "Mean Green Mother From Outer Space"
    • Also "Dentist!", "Feed Me (Git it!)", and "Suppertime". This movie has tons of awesome villain songs.
  • Vocal Dissonance: Invoked, when Seymour is surprised that Audrey II mumbled "Feed me", and is shocked when Audrey II gets up, pushes him and demands, "Feed me, Krelborne, feed me now!" The look on Seymour's face is priceless.
  • What You Are in the Dark: Seymour fails this in a big way. And "The Meek Shall Inherit" stresses this, when he sings that "You've got no alternative, Seymore old boy, though it means you'll be broke again and unemployed, it's the only solution it can't be avoided: the vegetable must be destroyed", but then changes his mind when he thinks about Audrey.
  • Wife-Basher Basher: Seymour's Berserk Button is anyone harming Audrey. The two who do (Orin and Audrey II) both end up dead.
  • Would Harm A Child: The poor teenage patient of Dr. Orin can attest to that, she certainly isn't crying about the fugly ortho wear.
  • Would Hit a Girl: Orin, who casually punches a dental nurse in the face and subjects Audrey to domestic abuse.
  • "Yes" Means "No": In the original ending, Audrey II bit hard on Audrey having tried to eat her, but Seymour pries her out (barely) and Seymour asks if she's okay. Audrey answers "Yes", except she can barely maintain herself from the bite and is quickly dying before Seymour's eyes.
  • You Can Talk?: Seymour and Audrey have this exact reaction.
    Audrey II: Does this look inanimate to you, punk?
  • You Have No Idea Who You're Dealing With: Audrey II says this several times during "Big Green Mother From Outer Space".
    "You don't know what you're dealing with, No you never did."
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: At the end of "Mean Green Mother From Outer Space" in the original version, Audrey II eats Seymour. He doesn't even need Seymour's help to distribute his species around the world as 'a goddamn vegetable is public domain'.

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