DIRECTED BY: Roger Corman
FEATURING: Jonathan Haze, Mel Welles, Jackie Joseph, Dick Miller, Jack Nicholson, Charles B. Griffith
PLOT: Mild-mannered delivery boy Seymour breeds a new plant in an attempt to impress
his boss and the sexy cashier at his flower shop; the talking mutant Venus flytrap grows to extraordinary size, but only so long as it is fed a constant supply of blood and bodies.
WHY IT WON’T MAKE THE LIST: It’s not weird enough, though it certainly marches to the beat of its own drummer. Filmed in two days from a quickie script by Roger Corman scribe Charles B. Griffith written on the fly to take advantage of some leftover storefront sets, Horrors was seat-of-the-pants filmmaking. Aided by an inspired cast, the inherent quirkiness of the Faustian plant food fable shines through. Often called the best movie ever shot in 48 hours, The Little Shop of Horrors is a fast, fun ride that every cinephile should check out at least once; it’s a triumph of imagination, dedication, and sheer luck over budgetary constraints. It’s too bad it’s not a little bit weirder.
COMMENTS: “I’ve eaten in flower shops all over the world, and I’ve noticed that the places that have the most weird and unusual plants do the best business.” That’s the sort of universe Little Shop of Horrors takes place in, one where minor characters stand by casually chomping on salted gardenias and handing out plot advice to the principals. Set in a mythical Skid Row, “the part of town everybody knows about but nobody wants to see—where the tragedies are deeper, the ecstasies wilder and the crime rate consistently higher than anywhere else,” this is black comedy circa 1960. Not only is murder made a joke, but more scandalous taboos like sadomasochism and prostitution are part of the fabric of daily life on Skid Row. Man-eating plant aside, the movie’s greatest charm is the cast of crazy supporting characters that pop in and out of the story: the floral gastronome, Seymour’s hypochondriac mom, an unlucky woman whose relatives are constantly dying, two flat-affect flatfeet (broad spoofs of the duo from “Dragnet”), a pair of bouncy high school cheerleaders, a hooker who persistently tries to pick up a hypnotized trick, Continue reading CAPSULE: THE LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS (1960)