- Audrey Jr. (the plant) to Seymour (Jonathan Haze)
"No novocaine; it dulls the senses."
- Wilbur Force (Jack Nicholson) to Seymour
Sight and Sound - 12/01/2002
"...Corman's low-budget mock horror film comes across like a tongue-in-cheek version of one of Ed Wood's sci-fi epics....There's a famous cameo from a very youthful Jack Nicholson..."
Description by OLDIES.com:
A classic tale of boy-meets-girl/plant-eats-people, starring Jack Nicholson in one of his first film roles. A hapless flower store clerk grows an exotic plant with an insatiable appetite -- for blood and flesh! As the ruthless plant grows larger and larger with each feeding, so do Seymour's affections for pretty shop girl, Audrey. The madness culminates with Seymour and his bloodthirsty plant in a feeding frenzy of epic proportions. This camp favorite gets a makeover with the hilarious, rapid-fire commentary by Mike Nelson and the stars of Mystery Science Theater 3000.
King of the B's, director Roger Corman shot this crazy beat-era classic in a mere two days, but it packs plenty of inspired lunacy and clever bits in its 70-minute running time. Jonathan Haze stars as clumsy assistant florist Seymour, who saves his job in Mr. Mushnik's skid-row flower shop when he brings in a unique man-eating plant. The problem is, it's a very hungry plant; every night it opens its huge jaws and demands to be fed, forcing poor Seymour to take to the street in search of victims, lest he disappoint his boss and his adoring girlfriend, Audrey (Jackie Joseph). From a zingy script by Charles Griffith, this hilarious black comedy overflows with great ideas and characters: Corman regular Dick Miller plays a hipster who eats flowers, and a very young Jack Nicholson takes a memorable turn as a masochistic dental patient. DRAGNET-style detective Joe Fink (Wally Campo) narrates as he slowly begins to track the killer down. This oft-revived favorite still generates plenty of laughs and chills, deserving of repeat viewings. A musical version debuted off-Broadway in 1982 and led to a film starring Rick Moranis and Steve Martin.
Seymour, a flower shop assistant (and milquetoast), acquires a plant named Audrey Jr. that starts growing at an incredibly fast rate. It soon develops other unusual traits, such as a voice and an insatiable appetite for human blood. As a result, the plant not only becomes gigantic, but it verbally bullies Seymour, who is forced to find ways to acquire human blood to feed his "pet."
Black Comedy |
Cult Film |
Roger Corman rehearsed the actors for three days and then shot this film in two, on a preexisting office set. The budget was around $30,000.
Screenwriter Charles Griffith played three roles in the film and provided the voice of the plant.
The shooting title of the film was THE PASSIONATE PEOPLE EATER.
"We adhered quite closely to the script and despite a loose, improvisational feel to the witty exchanges, this film was in no way created on the set. Any changes made were worked out in the three days of rehearsal before rolling. Everyone just came in very well prepared. In a sense, the creation of THE LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS may have been closer to the theatrical tradition of designing plays for a stock company than to standard film making. Perhaps this is why the original movie translates so well into the stage version."--Roger Corman (Foreword for the American Stage Festival revival, 1999)
This screenplay was also the basis for a hit stage musical, which was filmed in 1986; Bill Murray took over Nicholson's part in that version.