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Little Shop Of Horrors

movie reviewmovie reviewmovie review out of 4 Movie Review: Little Shop Of Horrors

Starring: Jonathan Haze, Jackie Joseph
Director: Roger Corman
Rated: NR
RunTime: 70 Minutes
Release Date: September 1960
Genres: Comedy, Horror

*Also starring: Mel Welles, Dick Miller, Myrtle Vail, Jack Nicholson, Marie Windsor

Review by Brian Koller
3½ stars out of 4

For those who like their comedy black, with no cream or sugar, "The Little Shop of Horrors" is for you. Made in two days with a cast of unknowns, with a script written in under a week, and featuring a story about a talking man-eating plant, the film is far better than it has any expectation of being.

Gravis Mushnick (Mel Welles) runs a struggling skid row florist shop. Other employees are clumsy fool Seymour (Jonathan Haze) and ebullient dimwit Audrey (Jackie Joseph). Seymour's hilariously hypocondriac mother is played by Myrle Vail. Seymour can only keep his pathetic job if he can nurse to health an unusual crowd-drawing plant, a plant that needs human blood in order to grow. Seymour sort-of commits a series of murders to feed the plant, which soon overruns the florist shop.

The legend behind "The Little Shop of Horrors" is that a studio executive gave low-budget director Roger Corman a challenge: to make a film using a storefront set before it was to be torn down. Necessity is the mother of art as well as invention, and "The Little Shop of Horrors" could be Corman's best film. Charles Griffith, who had previously collaborated with Corman on the cult classic "A Bucket of Blood", wrote the viciously funny script.

Ignored upon release, "The Little Shop of Horrors" slowly gained notoriety over the years. Its status of a cult film was helped by the presence of then- obscure Jack Nicholson, who has a small part as a lunatic masochistic dental patient. The film was remade as "Please Don't Eat My Mother" (1972) and the sequel was "Little Shop" (1991). It eventually become a Broadway musical, which became an excellent film version in 1986.

Copyright 1997 Brian Koller

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