By Sarah Khan
The latest addition to the ANDPOP writing team, Sarah Khan, hopes to expand your film repertoire as she tackles some of the best little known films in the new bi-weekly column, “Blink And You’ll Miss It.” This week, she tells you why the original Little Shop of Horrors is one film you shouldn’t overlook.
What Is It: B-movie turned cult hit director, Roger Corman’s 1960 flick Little Shop Of Horrors. You may know the musical remake, but the original is far less excruciating and full of wonderfully dark and macabre humor.
It tells the story of shy and bumbling plant shop clerk, Seymore (Jonathan Haze), who is able to stop his boss from firing him by promising to nurse a mutant plant. Seymore’s boss hopes that the mutant plant will be able solve his shop’s financial problems by attracting slews of potential customers. Unfortunately, Seymore soon discovers that the plant’s only choice of food is human blood. While Seymore initially refuses to give in to the plant’s demands, he ends up getting caught up in an unstoppable cycle of events leading to a ridiculous climax.
Why You Probably Missed It: Though Roger Corman received and honorary Academy Award for his work, he is best known in the world of low budget and cult films. His entire filmography consists of low budget movies with subjects ranging from murderous girl gangs to invasions by space aliens to a number of Edgar Allan Poe adaptations.
This movie is probably only a little better known than the rest of his filmography thanks to the 1986 musical “re-make” which wasn’t even directly inspired by the Corman film, but instead by an off-Broadway musical that ran in 1982. On top of that, Roger Corman is sort of an under-rated director similar to Ed Wood. Sadly, most of his work ends up being brushed under the rug when people talk about great movies.
Why you Should See It: Little Shop Of Horrors isn’t Oscar-worthy material, but it is a wildly clever, hilarious and downright bizarre story. Everything about it screams low budget (Interesting note: this film was actually shot on the set of Corman’s Bucket of Blood in the two days before the set was torn down!), and it’s full of sight gags and corny jokes along with some of the strangest characters you’ll ever meet.
Probably the best surprise in this movie is the cameo by Jack Nicholson, who got his feature film start in Roger Corman’s The Cry Baby Killer. In this role, Nicholson plays a creepy masochistic pain-loving dental patient.
If not for the quirks, the black humour or the wonderful bizarreness, Little Shop of Horrors is definitely worth checking out for Nicholson’s cameo!
Watch the trailer for 1960’s Little Shop of Horror below: