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The Little Shop of Horrors (1960)

What better way to kickstart this blog then to review a movie from the 50 horror classics pack that is such a little obscure and bad flick that even mst3k wouldn't touch it? (note: mst3k was never available for watching here in Belgium, I don't have the foggiest idea what they did or did not made fun at.)

Well that would be a good idea but instead I'll review the original Little Shop Of Horrors.
  • Year of release: 1960
  • Director: Roger Corman
  • Genre: Comedy, Horror
  • IMDB Page
Let's be honest, this movie would not ring a lot of bells if it wasn't for the musical that was based upon this story, eventually resolving into the 1986 famous version. It might be a good idea to compare both movies in this review. Well no, I will save that for when I review the musical version (if ever). The story starts with our main persona, Seymour Krelboyne (Jonathan Haze) working as a clumsy helper in a flower store. The store isn't doing very well but we do get to see some regular customers who represent everything that works with the humor of this movie. First we have Mrs. Siddie Shiva, and old annoying lady who has to buy flowers everyday because a new relative has just died. Another regular is Burson Fouch who buys flowers as a snack or as a dinner, the funny part is that nobody seems to find it that strange.
I always get the shitty roles.
Seymour is so clumsy however that his greedy boss Gravis Mushnick (Mel Welles) wants to fire him. Luckily we have our love interest of the movie Audrey Fulquard who together with flower eating Burson convinces his boss to give him another shot by showing his new breed of plant, a cross-bred from a butterwort and a Venus Flytrap (a buttertrap?). The plant, titled Audrey Junior (get it?), does not gather much attention at first but when our "hero" accidentally drops some of his own blood on it, the plant start growing. After feeding the plant with as much blood as he can miss, Seymour takes a walk to think what he will do next. In frustration he randomly throws a rock which lands on probably the most lucky man in the world who then falls into the tracks right before an incoming train. Since this man is dead anyway, Seymour decides to at least have some use out of him and feeds him to the plant.
let me take a look into this giant man-eating plant.
This first accidents leads to many people disappearing by Seymoure (he is not really a murderer, but accidents happen right?).
The greedy boss finds out that the plants feeds on humans but when he wants to put an end to it, he finds out how many people are visiting his shop looking at this marvelous eight wonder of the world (or so it seems) and he decided that the plant can stay as long as he gets his profit.
The world is shocked however when the plant blooms and the faces of all the people it has eaten are shown in the flowers. I won't give the ending away but it is quite dark and fits right in with the overall feel of the movie.
Heeere's Johnny!

This movie is known for two facts (besides the musical). First that it was shot in two days making this whole thing quite impressive and two that Jack Nicholson started his career with a small part in this flick.
This has to be viewed as the dark comedy with some horror influences, not as a serious horror movie, and you know what? It works, the humor doesn't come from jokes or slapstick but it comes from the story and the characters creating a whole overall feel of enjoyment. The story also plays out more like a parody of horror movies of that time than an actually horror movie. The acting is great with a special mention for Nicholsons sadomasochist persona who gives us a great dentist scene.

It does have some small problems though, the love interest scenes feel forced and undermine the overall darkness of the humor and even by 1960 standards the special effects feel and look shoddy (junior was probably made by the local kindergarten with Papier-mâché).

This is where the term flower power actually came from.

The print on the "Horror Classics 50 Movie Pack" is more or less the same as the one that can be streamed from, so even-though it is not the best quality you can get, it does not diminish the overall enjoyment of this movie.

So in conclusion: It is not a horror movie, it's a dark comedy and a great one at that.
Score: 7.5/10

Edit on 15/02/2010: I have bought a digitally remastered edition (colored) and it's definitely a great improvement. Try to track it down!


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