The Video Vacuum (thevideovacuum) wrote,
The Video Vacuum
thevideovacuum

THE LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS (1960) ****

The Little Shop of Horrors is one of director Roger Corman’s finest hours.  After directing dozens of unintentionally hilarious movies like Attack of the Crab Monsters, this was his first intentionally funny horror film.  It also happens to be a searing indictment of the small time businessman and the lengths he will go to in order to be successful.

 

Seymour Krelboin (Jonathan Haze) works for his overbearing boss Mushnik (Mel Welles) at his Skid Row flower shop where he pines for the pretty (but dumb as a bag of hammers) Audrey (Jackie Joseph).  Seymour creates a mutant Venus Fly Trap, which he names Audrey Jr. that drinks human blood to live.  The more Audrey Jr. grows, the busier the shop becomes, which makes Mushnik very happy.  As Audrey Jr. gets bigger, so does her appetite, and eventually Seymour takes to killing hobos and hookers in order to feed her.

 

The Little Shop of Horrors is famous for a lot of reasons.  First, it was shot in two days, which is pretty amazing.  Secondly, it kinda gained a second life after the 1986 musical remake.  Thirdly, it’s a public domain movie, so everybody’s probably seen it.  And perhaps the best reason is because it features Jack Nicholson in one of his greatest roles.  His performance as Wilbur Force, the masochistic dental patient has to be seen to be believed.  With his hair parted down the middle, he reads Pain Magazine and says shit like, “No Novocain!  It dulls the senses!”  He’s almost as nuts here as he was in The Shining.

 

This flick is chockfull of bizarre little bits and entertaining black humor.  The Dragnet style cops are hilarious and some of their banter will leave you in stitches.  The scenes of Seymour feeding Audrey Jr. disembodied hands and feet while the plant screams “FEEEEED MEEEEE!” are also pretty great.  And not only does the movie features a man-eating plant, but also a plant-eating man played by the always awesome Dick Miller.  (“I’ve got to get home; my wife’s making gardenias for dinner!”)  The Little Shop of Horrors is rife with weird touches like this that makes it so much fun.

 

Incredibly, Corman also managed to churn out Ski Troop Attack, Fall of the House of Usher, and Last Woman on Earth the same year.

 

Audrey Sr. gets the best line of the movie when she says, “I’m so hungry; I could eat a hearse!”

 

The Little Shop of Horrors is Number 3 on The Video Vacuum Top Ten Films of the Year for 1960 which places it just below The Magnificent Seven and right above Peeping Tom.

Tags: comedy, horror, jack, l, roger corman
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