Follow TV Tropes


Film / Little Shop of Horrors

Go To

"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 short story "Green Thoughts" by John Collier. 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. It's also Howard Ashman's only credit as a screenwriter.

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. This ending was only available in black-and-white and with limited sound effects until in 2012 it was fully restored with color.

In 1991 (five years after the films' release) the film received a animated television series on Fox Kids titled Little Shop that lasted for 13 episodes. And sadly no, the plant doesn't eat blood.

Not to be confused with Pet Shop of Horrors.

The film provides examples ofnote :

    open/close all folders 

  • 20 Minutes into the Past: Like the musical, the film is set "In an early year of a decade. Not too long before our own," with passing mentions of "President Kennedy" and Jack Paar putting it ambiguously in the early 1960s (JFK was president between 1961 and 1963 while Paar retired from The Tonight Show on March 30, 1962, with Johnny Carson replacing him that September). The big giveaway, however, is the line about the 23rd day of the month of September, which would set the movie in 1961 exactly.
  • Accidental Good Outcome: Subverted — Seymour accidentally cuts his thumb on a rose, which attracts the plant Audrey II, which makes Seymour realises it feeds on blood. This saves Audrey II, but then later, it grows into a Man-Eating Plant, meaning that it would have been better had it died.
  • Actor Allusion: Levi Stubbs, formerly of the R&B group The Four Tops, voices Audrey II. One of his group's songs, "Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch," is used at the coda to "Skid Row."
  • Adaptational Alternate Ending: The 1986 film adaptation has an audience-demanded 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. The 2012 Director's Cut reinserts the original Downer Ending.
  • Adaptation Amalgamation: Arthur Denton is based on a character from the 1960 movie and wasn't in the play.
  • Adaptational Badass: Audrey II in the play is more or less stationary, virtually unable to do anything except sweet talk and pounce on any human that ventures too close to its maw. Here, Audrey II has a more animated and active process, deliberately calling Audrey into the shop with a rotary phone (in the play, Audrey merely stumbles into the shop trying to find Seymour). This culminates into the climatic song "Mean Green Mother From Outer Space" where Audrey II breaks out of its pot and tries to kill Seymour with its vines and in the original ending, it succeeds.
  • Adaptational Context Change:
    • The circumstances of "Suppertime II" are now completely different. In the play, Audrey becomes restless from worrying about Seymour, and loopily enters the shop after taking a sominex. In the film, Audrey II calls Audrey on the phone; shocked that the plant is talking to her, she enters the store to meet it face-to-face.
    • The film gives Audrey and Seymour a happier ending than the stage musical. In the film, they survive to live out their suburban dreams as opposed to the stage musical, which ends with both getting eaten by the carnivorous plant, which goes on to take over the world. This changes the tone and implications of the work significantly. Originally the film's ending was the same as the play's, but test audiences responded so badly that much of the final half-hour had to be reshot; the Director's Cut restores the intended ending.
  • Adaptation Distillation: 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.
  • Adaptational Dumbass: In the previous versions, the plant couldn't move, making it somewhat understandable that Seymour would think it couldn't hurt anyone on its own. In this version, it has prehensile vines and limited range of motion. How did Seymour not predict what would happen if he kept feeding it?
  • Adaptation-Induced Plot Hole: Of a musical sort. The soundtrack featured the extended versions of "Mean Green Mother From Outer Space" and "The Meek Shall Inherit" and the completely excised "Don't Feed the Plants", causing confusion for people who only saw the original ending. Oddly, "Subsequent to the Events You Have Just Witnessed" was not on the soundtrack.
  • Adaptational Villainy: Mr. Mushnik is hit with this in the film. After witnessing Orin's mutilation at the hands of Seymour, he attempts to blackmail the latter into giving ownership of the plant directly to him, presumably so that he could gain all of Seymour's profits. This makes his death scene less tragic and a lot more deserving. However, a Deleted Scene ("The Meek Shall Inherit") shows Seymour feels really guilty about killing him, imagining a bleeding portrait of Mushnik.
  • Adaptational Wimp: Seymour is a more passive character than he was in the play, which may have led to the negative reception of the original ending. In the play, Seymour is an active participant in the murders, such as singing a song of how he's going to let Orin die and deliberately tricking Mushnik into Audrey II's maw by saying the money is inside. Additionally, he dies on his own terms, jumping into Audrey II's mouth to hack the plant from the inside with his machete. None of this made it to the film adaptation, thus Seymour is at best complicit to the crimes but not enough to warrant a Humiliation Conga from Audrey II, who forcibly eats Seymour in an undignified manner.
  • Advertised Extra: The cover for the director's cut features radio announcer Wink Wilkinson besides Audrey and Orin.
  • Aliens Are Bastards: Audrey II sings he's from outer space and he's mean, green and bad.
  • Alien Invasion: Only found in the Director's Cut ending. The song that plays during the plants' rampage emphasizes how this could have been prevented.
  • An Aesop: While the Adaptational Alternate Ending explicitly removes the moral of "Don't Feed The Plants" (ie, "Don't Do A Deal with the Devil"), it does still have the message of not trusting something that sounds too good to be true.
  • And Starring: "With a Special Appearance by Steve Martin".
  • Answer Cut: "What kind of professional rides a motorcycle and wears a black leather jacket?" Cue Orin Scrivello, DDS. It gets invoked again when Seymour asks Audrey II who does he know that deserves to be chopped up and fed to a hungry plant. Audrey II shows him out the window Orin abusing (the human) Audrey.
  • The Apocalypse Brings Out the Best in People:
    • In both the theatrical and the director's cut, Seymour decides to try and destroy Audrey II when Twoey tries to eat Audrey and reveals his plan to dominate America. Seymour only succeeds in the theatrical version.
    • In the director's cut, a brave journalist and cameraman show footage of Cleveland getting ravaged, rather than running from the danger. Ordinary civilians are holding each other as they run from the plants. The military makes one final stand against Audrey II and the descendants, bringing out all the arsenal they have.
  • Apocalypse How: The Audrey II invasion as depicted in the original ending could potentially range anywhere from Class 0 to Class 5.
  • The Artifact: The Opening Scroll refers to Audrey II as a "deadly threat" to humanity's very existence. This line was meant to foreshadow the original ending, in which the plant launched an all-out invasion on Earth. Since the theatrical cut removes this ending in favor of a happier one, the line loses its original meaning (though it could be recontextualized as Audrey II being called a potential threat to humanity).
  • 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 II's dinner.
    • Orin as well. He was a sadist dentist and violently abused Audrey, presumably for a long time, which makes it easier for audiences to agree with Audrey II suggesting that Seymour turn him into "plant food".
    • All of humanity in the Director's Cut ending, since Audrey II's offspring were allowed to grow to monstrous sizes just like their mother by their human masters who were enticed by the plants' promises of helping them get rich if they were fed blood. The Greek Chorus calls them "unsuspecting jerks".
  • Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever: In the original ending, Audrey II turns into a giant monstrous plant terrorizing the city.
  • 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 she eats Seymour:
    Audrey II: Don’t talk to me about old King Kong - you think he’s the worst? Well, you’re thinking wrong! Don’t talk to me about Frankenstein! He got a temper? Hah! He ain’t got mine!
  • 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.
  • 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 electrocuted Audrey II to kill it once and for all.
  • Big Bad: Audrey II is proudly this. He grows bigger as the movie progresses, and sings to Seymour he should know by now how mean and bad he is.
  • 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...
  • Bloodlust: Audrey Two's song "Feed Me (Git It)" is all about how much he loves blood and why Seymour should get it for him.
  • Blood-Splattered Wedding Dress: When Seymour saves Audrey from the plant, she has a wound in her hip that stains her beautiful white wedding dress.
  • 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, totalling an impressive 18 rounds fired from that little six shooter. .
  • Braces of Orthodontic Overkill: Orin's last victim-er, patient,note  winds up in something out one of the Saw movies.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: Musical tradition holds that the songs are just stylized representations of the characters' feelings and not actual performances within the reality of the story. However, this film cheekily breaks that tradition when Seymour and Audrey launch into a reprise of "Suddenly Seymour," only for Patrick Martin to cut in and ask them to stop singing for just a moment so he can talk to them.
  • Bring the Anchor Along: The plant is effectively rooted to her own heavy flowerpot. However, when she makes a telephone call, she uses her tendrils to drag herself and her pot nearer to the telephone.
  • Broken Lever of Doom: The sadist dentist Orin Scrivello puts on a gas mask that allows him to take in large amounts of laughing gas from tanks on his back. After a while he wants to take off the mask but accidentally breaks the valve controlling the flow of gas, and he slowly begins to asphyxiate. Watch the scene here.
  • Butt Biter: Audrey II tries biting a woman's butt while Seymour is bringing her to a radio show.
  • Camp: 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!" Hence the deliberately artificial-looking sets and costumes and comically absurd premise.
  • Card-Carrying Villain: Audrey II and Orin.
  • Celeb Crush: "How about a date with Hedy Lamarr? You gonna get it!"
  • Central Theme: Don't let corruption overpower you.
  • Character Catchphrase: "FEED ME!"
  • Cheshire Cat Grin: The little Audrey II in both versions. However, in the Director's Cut, it's far nastier in context.
  • Collectible Card Game: Topps released a set of 44 trading card stickers.
  • Comic-Book Adaptation: DC did a one-shot adaptation that notably omitted the songs and drew the characters to look completely different.
  • 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...
  • Curb Stomp Cushion: In both versions, Seymour is this when fighting Audrey II. Despite getting his butt kicked, he will not give up. He's getting smashes up? Seymour goes for a gun. Gun doesn't work or is taken away? He grabs the axe. Sadly, he only succeeds in the theatrical version when grabbing the nearest broken cable and electrocuting Audrey II.
  • 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.
  • Deal with the Devil: Seymour when he agrees to feed Audrey II for the sake of money and securing Audrey as his girlfriend. He then learns that money isn't necessarily a gateway to an easier, happier life and Audrey always loved him no matter how much money he made.
  • Demoted to Extra: Mrs. Shiva is only briefly mentioned as a regular customer whose family members are dropping like flies, requiring lilies.
  • 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.
  • Died in Your Arms Tonight: In the 2012 Director's Cut, Audrey dies in Seymour's arms after being lethally wounded by Audrey II.
  • Dies Wide Open: Orin, when he asphyxiates in his broken nitrous oxide mask.
  • Disappeared Dad: According to "Suddenly, Seymour", Audrey's father walked out when she was young.
  • Dismembering the Body: After the death of Dr. Orin Scrivello, Seymour chops his corpse into smaller pieces so that the still-growing Audrey II can devour him more easily.
  • Don't Wake the Sleeper: Seymour sneaks past Audrey II, trying not to wake her up as he prepares to leave Skid Row with Audrey I.
  • 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.
  • Downer Ending: This is the main difference between the Director's Cut and theatrical version.
  • Dreamville: Audrey envisions her ideal life in suburbia in "Somewhere That's Green," brought to life in an extended dream sequence in which she's married to Seymour and living a utopian life of gardening, tupperware parties and I Love Lucy - the sorts of things that a downtrodden girl from Skid Row would really want to escape to.
  • Driven to Suicide: In the Director's Cut ending, Seymour tries to jump to his death after Audrey has been eaten by the plant but is dissuaded when Patrick Martin shows him that Audrey II is spawning offspring and decides to either keep living or delay his suicide to destroy Audrey II. He fails miserably and ends up getting eaten.
  • The End... Or Is It?:
    • The closing shot of the theatrical cut reveals a certain strange and interesting plant outside Seymour and Audrey's garden, and then it smiles...
    • Parodied in the original ending, where "THE END" is shown, but then a question mark is added to it... and then an exclamation mark and another question mark, as if to convey pure bafflement. Then Audrey II breaks through it.
  • 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!".
  • "Everybody Dies" Ending: 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, and possibly use the children like farm livestock to keep them as a food source.
  • Evil Laugh: Audrey II lets out one hell of one of these after bringing the shop's roof down on Seymour.
  • Fake Shemp: Tisha Campbell was unavailable to reshoot the ending, so a double was hired to stand in for her. This is why the camera pans down to their feet after only showing the first two girls’ faces.
  • Film Comic: Robert and Louise Egan penned a photonovel that included the deleted Meek Shall Inherit montage.
  • 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.
    • During the song "Suppertime", Audrey II sings "I swear by my spores, when he's gone, the world will be yours." A Freeze-Frame Bonus shows a small mirror positioned near the plant's lips, hinting that Audrey II may have been talking about Seymour and the original ending.
  • 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!invoked
    • Then Audrey II at the end bursts through the screen to attack the audience.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: Orin runs his... um, dental practice from Room 101.
  • Gender-Blender Name: Audrey II, who is voiced by Levi Stubbs, the lead singer of The Four Tops in the 1986 film.
  • 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.
  • Genre-Busting: The movie is a campy horror-dark comedy-sci fi-musical that also works as a social satire.
  • Get Out!: Dr. Orin Scrivello wants Arthur Denton out of his dental office because the latter turns out to be Too Kinky to Torture.
  • Greedy Jew: Downplayed. This movie's version of Mr. Mushnik is greedier and less sympathetic than in previous versions, but also a lot less overtly Jewish (he's played by Italian-American actor Vince Gardenia, for one).
  • Gross-Up Close-Up: The close-ups on Audrey II's mouth.
  • Helpless Kicking:
    • In the film's climax, Seymour bursts into the shop to find Audrey's feet kicking helplessly as Audrey II consumes her.
    • In the Director's Cut, Seymour is wrapped in vines and slowly pulled into Audrey II's maw, only able to feebly kick his feet as the plant slurps him down.
  • High-Voltage Death: Seymour electrocutes Audrey II with a severed cable in the Focus Group Ending, and the plant blows up.
  • 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?
    • Frank Oz says in the DVD Commentary;
      • In Somewhere That's Green, the kids would be doing something different every time Seymour and Audrey looked into their bedroom and everybody would burst out laughing.
      • Moranis and Gardenia couldn't keep straight faces during the scene where Seymour tells Mushnik how to feed the plant, meaning their lines had to be recorded separately.
      • Inverted with Christopher Guestnote  who had to be told to redo his lines sillier and more cartoon-like.
  • 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.
  • I Lied: While not saying it straight out, Audrey II sums up that it played Seymour for a chump with this line:
    "I'm just a mean, green, mother from outer space / "And it looks like you've been had!"
  • Injured Limb Episode: Audrey's arm is in a cast at the beginning of the film.
  • 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 Shall Taunt You: When Seymour realizes that Audrey II's plan was to become popular enough to spread his cuttings all over the world, Audrey II gleefully replies, "And I wanna thank you!"
  • "I Want" Song:
    • "Somewhere That's Green," as sung by Audrey.
    • "The Meek Shall Inherit" (which was deleted from the final film) was about Seymour wanting to be with Audrey, and he feared that losing the plant would also mean losing her affection.
    • "Grow for Me" can count too, cause it's Seymour begging for the plant to save the shop's business.
    • Both "Feed Me" and "Suppertime" are these to Audrey II, who begs to be fed blood.
  • Jerkass: America, according to the Greek Chorus, during "Subsequently". "Unsuspecting jerks", yes, but still jerks.
  • Job Song: "The Dentist Song" is about Orin's job as an evil dentist.
  • The Juggernaut: "Mean Green Mother From Outer Space" showcases just how powerful and dangerous Audrey II is after being fed enough blood. While it's inverted in the Focus Group Ending with it being destroyed via electrocution, this carries over in "Don't Feed The Plants" from the Director's Cut.
  • 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.
  • Last Request: As she's dying, Audrey asks Seymour to live a happy and fulfilling life when she's gone and enjoy the wealth he is thriving off the publicity he gets from the plant.
  • 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.
    • Also compared to the original movie from 1960. Which was not a musical and ended on a fairly downbeat note.
  • 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.
  • Meaningful Name: On a particularly busy day at the shop, Audrey has to do a funeral arrangement for a woman named Mrs. Shivah. "Sitting shivah" is a mourning practice in Judaism. An appropriate customer for the Ambiguously Jewish Mr. Mushnik.
  • Militaries Are Useless: In the director's cut 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 though it has no effect on the plants at all. This was foreshadowed when Seymour fired shots at the original Audrey II, but the bullets just bounced off.
  • 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: During Audrey and Seymour's duet reprisal of "Somewhere That's Green" in the theatrical cut, they are cut off by a man interrupting them to offer to take cuttings from Audrey II.

  • Near-Miss Groin Attack: "So better move 'em out / Nature calls / You got the point? / I'm gonna bust your balls!" Cue vine barely missing Seymour's ball.
  • 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.
  • Obviously Not Fine: 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.
  • Oh, Crap!: All of the main characters get this one at some point.
    • Orin has one when he accidentally breaks the intake valve on his face mask, leaving him at risk of asphyxiation from too much nitrous oxide.
    • Seymour has this when Mushnik tells him he had witnessed him chopping up Orin's dead body.
      Audrey II: (singing) He's got your number now…
    • 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 burst her pot open and be able to stand without any dirt for support (Oh Crap!).
      • Able to create offspring (Oh Crap!).
      • Is in fact from outer space (Oh Crap!) (though only in the theatrical version).
      • 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!).
    • In the Focus Group Ending, Seymour has one just before Audrey II brings the roof of the shop down on top of him.
    • Audrey II has one after being electrocuted by Seymour. He has enough time to utter some last words ("Oh, shit!!") before exploding.
  • Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: Rick and Ellen drop the accents when they start singing. Shaky, nervous Seymour is suddenly a smooth-voiced tenor and Broken Bird Audrey can easily take up professional singing. Especially obvious in "Suddenly Seymour" in which the switch is very audible. Justified, as singing while doing a voice isn't exactly easy, let alone with thick accents. Rick's Canadian accent comes out everyone once in a while when he has to say "soorey."
  • Paparazzi: Lots of these show up at the shop shortly after the plant eats Mushnik. Seymour doesn't handle them very well.
  • Parental Bonus: Not that the movie is intended for kids, but if you were kid when you first saw this movie, more than likely during Bill Murray's scene, you were probably confused and your parents were probably laughing their asses off. Then if you revisit the film as an adult and realize what the hell is going on in that scene, you will have a newfound appreciation for the movie's humor. And it's even better considering Bill Murray improvised the entire thing.
  • Parrot Exposition: In the theatrical version, Seymour in an insert shot gasps and says, "Outer space?!" after Audrey II has just sung she's from outer space, and it's quite obvious from the total eclipse scene that Audrey II just beamed herself from somewhere out there (which, to be fair to Seymour, happened when his back was turned). 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's body to it in a dignified, almost ritualistic way, gently swallowing her whole instead of violently ripping her to pieces with its teeth, as if it understands that he's grieving. Well, by Audrey II standards it counts as this trope.
  • Planet Spaceship: Audrey II beams down to Earth during an unprecedented eclipse, implying that he came here in a spaceship large enough to block out the sun.
  • 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."
  • Pre-Mortem One-Liner: Played with. "Bye-bye, Seymour!" is intended to be this, as Seymour has an Oh, Crap! and Audrey II brings down the roof of the shop on top of him. However, Seymour survives.
  • 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.)
  • Rage Breaking Point: What finally pushes Seymour into being willing to murder someone? Seeing Orin smack Audrey.
    Seymour: He's so nasty treating her rough!
    Audrey II: Yeah, smacking her around and always talking so tough!
    Seymour: You need blood, and he's got more than enough!
  • 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 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 kills himself. He similarly doesn't use it in the confrontation against Audrey II, prompting the plant to just grab the gun out of his hands, twirl it around for style, and start shooting him.
  • Room 101: The number on the door of Orin's dental practice is, appropriately enough, 101.
  • Rhetorical Question Blunder: At the height of "Grow For Me", Seymour sarcastically asks Audrey II "What do you want from me, blood?!". Upon cutting his finger on rose thorns, he finds out that's exactly what Audrey II wants.
  • Save the Villain: Seymour saves Audrey II from starvation with drops of his own blood ("Grow for Me").
  • Shadow Discretion Shot: When Seymour chops up Orin's body with an axe, only the shadow of him doing this is visible.
  • Shrine to the Fallen: Played for Laughs—Orin has a closet shrine to his dearly departed mom.
  • Shout-Out
  • 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.
  • Singing Voice Dissonance: Actress Ellen Greene puts on a soft, high-pitched voice as Audrey when speaking and sings in a similar way for most of her songs early on, so it comes as a bit of surprise when partway through "Suddenly Seymour" she switches over to her natural stage singing voice and starts really belting it.
  • The '60s: The film begins on September 23, 1961. (This was the only 23rd day of the month of September on which John F. Kennedy was President and Jack Paar was host of The Tonight Show.)
  • Skip the Anesthetic: Orin has laughing gas/nitrous oxide, but it's for him, not his patients.
  • Sliding Scale of Idealism vs. Cynicism: Despite being a fun comedy musical with a dark quirky edge, this movie is RELENTLESSLY cynical. It's even more cynical if you watch the original cut of this film which is much closer to the musical it's based on.
  • Smorgasbord Test: The song "Grow for Me" has Seymour singing about how he offered Audrey II everything a plant could possibly want (sunlight, rainwater, fertilizer) but it doesn't seem to react to anything. Until Seymour cuts his finger...
  • The Sociopath: If it weren't for his mother, Orin would very likely be 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. As it is, he's a textbook abusive boyfriend and a sadist.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance: The Director's Cut has a great example of this in 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 upbeat R&B 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.
  • Spit Out a Shoe: In the Director's Cut Audrey II spits out Seymour's glasses after eating him.
  • Squick: Invoked by Seymour when Audrey II first informs him that he feeds on blood.
    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!
  • Take Over the World:
    Seymour: Every household in America? Thousands of you eating?! That's what you had in mind all along, isn't it?
    Audrey II: No shit, Sherlock!
    Seymour: We're not talking about one hungry plant here; we're talking about world conquest!!!
    Audrey II: And I wanna thank you!
  • This Is Something He's Got to Do Himself: "Wait for me, Audrey—this is between me and the vegetable!"
  • Too Dumb to Live: Seymour, as well as anybody else who was dumb enough to feed their plant. Generally speaking, anyone with working common sense would know that anything that demands to be fed in blood should not only not be fed but should be promptly destroyed before it hurts someone. Preferably with fire.
    • 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: Dr. Orin Scrivello gets no pleasure out of torturing Arthur Denton because the latter is really into it.
  • 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.
  • Uncanny Valley: Christopher Guest was asked to be more and more unnaturally chipper when asking about Audrey II by Frank Oz with each successive take, as Oz wanted the lines to be asked as artificially as possible. invoked
  • Unlimited Wardrobe: The Greek Chorus has a better dresser than Michelle Obama.
  • Video Credits: The closing credits show the main cast one by one with clips from the movie.
  • Villain Song: "Mean Green Mother From Outer Space"
    • Also "Dentist!", "Feed Me (Git it!)", and "Suppertime". This movie has tons of awesome villain songs.
  • Villain with Good Publicity: Audrey II himself, as he is adored by everyone and the publicity and glamour he's bringing to Seymour is one reason he hesitates to destroy the dangerous, monstrous man-eating plant immediately.
  • 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.
  • Wall of Weapons: Dr. Orin Scrivello keeps a fine selection of torture instruments in his drawer.
  • 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, Seymour 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.
  • Winds of Destiny, Change!: Audrey II is able to bring success and good fortune to its caretakers. This is how he was able to persuade Seymour to continue feeding him blood even after he reached the point where a few mere droplets would no longer suffice.
  • World of Jerkass: Aside from Audrey, just about every character is a jerkass who are guided by greed, gluttony or disregard for others.
  • 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.
  • 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:
    • Since Seymour was making plenty of money for the ongoing growth of Audrey II and it became increasingly clear that he was in charge of the shop instead of Mushnik, Seymour demotes Mushnik from plant shop owner to plant food. Though it's not that Seymour really had a choice, Mushnik was holding him at gunpoint.
    • 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'.
  • You Wouldn't Shoot Me: Orin doesn't take Seymour seriously when the latter points a gun at him. Justified because he is under the influence of laughing gas.



Seymour explains how he found Audrey II after an unexpected solar eclipse.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (5 votes)

Example of:

Main / TotalEclipseOfThePlot

Media sources: