YMMV: Little Shop of Horrors

The musical

  • Alternate Character Interpretation Maybe Audrey II isn't evil, maybe it's jealous of Seymour's relationship with Audrey and resolves to keep him all to itself.
    • Seymour himself. Is he a passive little wiener whose tragic flaw is a spineless inability to stand up to anyone, or was he always selfish and amoral but just didn't have the resources to make anything of it?
    • Mushnik. He took in a street kid and is concerned for Audrey when she shows up with a bruise, but he jumps at the chance to take advantage of Seymour once he starts becoming successful and doesn't hesitate to try to blackmail him about Orin's death; was it mundane greed, or was Audrey II manipulating him in order to push Seymour?
  • Ear Worm: The musical contains among the most memorable songs inspired by 1950's gospel and Motown movement in theatre history, and nearly all of them are catchy.
  • I Liked It Better When It Sucked: In 2003, a broadway production of this opened, which starred Hunter Foster as Seymour, had a much bigger budget and a more elaborate stage set, with a full orchestra. This was not reacted to warmly by people and was deemed a bastardization; the morals were gone and replaced with a more Disney-esque feel, and the strings and shimmery chimes seemed to get in the way of the rock feel the tracks had. Furthermore the actors didn't fit, and at times were obnoxious, and people were more partial to minimalist stage sets as used in school productions and even the off-broadway production, which seemed to make it more "warm" and intimate to the audience; this production closed down less than a year later due to poor reaction. It wasn't all bad though; the cast recording was often a big seller because it included demos of excised songs from the original production (Bad, The Worse He Treats Me, We'll Have Tomorrow, A Little Dental Music) sung by Howard Ashman, and still continues to sell today for such a reason.
  • Magnificent Bastard: To much of the fandom, Audrey II.
  • Moral Event Horizon: Audrey II eating Audrey. Some blame for it rests on Seymour as well.
    • Seymour killing Mushnik. Scrivello deserved what he got, but Mushnik was killed purely so Seymour could save his own ass.
  • X Meets Y: Little Shop is best summed up as Edgar Allen Poe meets a Disney musical. Which makes sense, considering Alan Menken and Howard Ashman did the score.

The movie

  • Adaptation Displacement: Fans of this movie are not aware of the Roger Corman movie it was based on, and are disappointed when they rent or download the original, and find out which one they're watching. To an arguably lesser extent, it has displaced the stage musical.
  • Alternate Character Interpretation: Seymour Krelbourn. Is his letting Orin suffocate from laughing gas revenge, or is it due to him being in shock? Is him letting Mushnik being eaten by the plant because Seymour forced him to walk into the plant, or was Mushnik's backing up into the plant's mouth an action on his own accord?
    • The movie actually encourages this, as unlike the musical Seymour is never shown actually enjoying his newfound success built on the bodies of Audrey II's victims. This is likely a big reason why the ending had to be changed.
  • Award Snub: Many were upset that Steve Martin, King of the Oscar Snub, wasn't nominated for his performance. Roger Ebert stated that Martin's Chewing the Scenery was the best part of the film.
  • Broken Base: The Focus Group Ending has practically split the fandom into two separate ones.
  • Ending Fatigue: As faithful as the original ending was to the stage musical, it drags. The ending consists of two long musical numbers back to back, the first with Seymour getting eaten by Audrey 2 and the second consists of Audrey 2's army destroying the world. The sheer length of it all may have contributed to test audiences being turned off.
    • Shortly after the Blu-Ray release, a new, full-color workprint surfaced, claiming to be the final cut shown to test audiences and showing an alternate cut of the ending which is much shorter. However, it eliminates the feeling that The Fourth Wall Will Not Protect You by cutting out the plant attacking the audience.
  • Jump Scare: To the uninitiated, some parts of the Kill 'em All Ending could be this.
  • Nightmare Fuel: Audrey II, naturally. But also that a new Audrey plant is seen smiling at the end
    • Orin's... work habits. YEOW!
      • Really everything about that psychotic dentist. You end up wondering if his mama opted to make him a dentist because she knew that his only other choice would have been Serial Killer.
  • One-Scene Wonder: Bill Murray as the masochistic patient.
    • Steve Martin may also qualify, featuring in four continuous scenes before being killed, and is in the movie for about 15-20 minutes.
    • John Candy, in perhaps his biggest Large Ham role.
  • Retroactive Recognition: Two members of the film's Greek Chorus, Tisha Campbell-Martin and Tichina Arnold, went on to play the main female characters on Martin. The former later went on to play Damon Wayans' wife on My Wife and Kids, and the latter later went on to play young Chris Rock's mom on Everybody Hates Chris. Also, Campbell-Martin was in Zack and Miri Make a Porno as Delaney's Jerk Ass wife.
  • Special Effects Failure: In a movie with such good special effects, its one notable flaw stands out; during the scene where Seymour electrocutes the plant, a digitally added explosion is placed over it and the plant simply disappears.
  • Tastes Like Diabetes: The ending.
    • Not so much. There's a new Audrey II plant in the garden...
    • Some may get this feeling whenever Audrey opens her mouth due the extremely high pitch of her voice
  • Ugly Cute: Audrey II, especially as a baby plant.
  • Visual Effects of Awesome: The Audrey II puppet is possibly one of the most complex animatronics of its kind, and still holds up to this day. Frank Oz wanted to direct this film for a reason!
    • There's also the take over scene in the original ending. All of that was miniatures and puppets!
    • It gets even more impressive when you learn the puppet wasn't able to move nearly as fast as we see in the film, requiring all those scenes to be shot with Rick Moranis performing at half-speed.
  • What Do You Mean, It's Not for Kids?: Through the haze of the years, it's easy to think this movie as a little less grim than it actually is - you remember the songs and the jokes, and the fact that the ending is happy. But parents who haven't watched the movie recently should beware:
    • If your child is afraid of the dentist, you may want to skip that part.
    • The scene where Seymour chops up Orin and feeds him to the plant, which laughs with its mouth full of Orin...
      • That scene actually could've been worse, as props of Orin's head and arms were crafted. Oz decided at the last minute that it was too gruesome and had the props wrapped in red-splattered newspaper for the scene to obscure them.
    • We actually see the plant swallow Mr. Mushnik whole and later attempt to do so with Audrey.
      • This applies even moreso to the play, where the protagonist actually murders multiple people, all of the main characters die at the end, and the world ends.