Little Shop of Horrors is a 1986 American rock musical comedy horror film directed by Frank Oz. It is a film adaptation of the off-Broadway musical comedy of the same name by composer Alan Menken and writer Howard Ashman about a geeky florist shop worker who finds out his Venus flytrap can speak. Menken and Ashman's Off-Broadway musical was based on the low-budget 1960 film The Little Shop of Horrors, directed by Roger Corman. The 1986 film stars Rick Moranis, Ellen Greene, Vincent Gardenia, Steve Martin, and Levi Stubbs as the voice of Audrey II. The film also featured special appearances by Jim Belushi, John Candy, Christopher Guest and Bill Murray. It was produced by David Geffen through The Geffen Company and released by Warner Bros. on December 19, 1986.
Little Shop of Horrors was filmed on the Albert R. Broccoli 007 Stage at the Pinewood Studios in England, where a "downtown" set, complete with overhead train track, was constructed. Produced on a budget of $25 million, in contrast to the original 1960 film, which, according to Corman, only cost $30,000, it was well received by critics and audiences alike, eventually developing a cult following. The film's original 23-minute finale, based on the musical's ending, was rewritten and reshot after test audiences did not react positively to it. For years only available as black-and-white workprint footage, the original ending was fully restored in 2012 by Warner Home Video.
In the early 1960s, a three-girl "Greek chorus"—Crystal, Ronnette, and Chiffon—introduce the movie, warning the audience that some horror is coming their way ("Prologue: Little Shop of Horrors"). Seymour Krelborn (Rick Moranis) and his colleague, Audrey (Ellen Greene), work at Mushnik's Flower Shop in a run-down, rough neighborhood in New York City referred to as "Skid Row". They lament that they cannot escape the neighborhood ("Skid Row (Downtown)"). Struggling from a lack of customers, Mr. Mushnik (Vincent Gardenia) decides to close the store, but Audrey suggests he may have more success by displaying an unusual plant that Seymour owns. Immediately attracting a customer, Seymour explains he bought the plant, which he dubbed "Audrey II", from a Chinese flower shop during a solar eclipse ("Da-Doo"). Attracting business to Mushnik's shop, the plant soon starts to wither. Seymour accidentally pricks his finger, and discovers that Audrey II needs human blood to thrive ("Grow for Me").
Seymour takes Audrey II and is interviewed on the radio, and Audrey misses the broadcast due to being "hand-cuffed a little" by her sadistic, mean-spirited boyfriend Orin Scrivello (Steve Martin). The three girls suggest Audrey dump Orin and get another man to protect her, like Seymour, but Audrey states she doesn't deserve "a nice guy like Seymour". Despite this, Audrey has feelings for Seymour and secretly dreams of running off with him to the suburbs ("Somewhere That's Green"). Audrey II continues to grow rapidly and Seymour becomes a local celebrity, but at the cost of his own blood, draining his energy ("Some Fun Now"). Seymour soon attempts to ask Audrey out, but she turns him down because she has a date with her boyfriend, revealed to be a dentist ("Dentist!"). After Seymour closes up shop, Audrey II begins to talk to Seymour, demanding more blood than Seymour can give. The plant proposes that Seymour murder someone in exchange for fame and fortune, as well as the ability to woo Audrey; as "a lot of people deserve to die". Seymour initially refuses, but agrees after witnessing Orin beating Audrey ("Feed Me (Get It)").
After Orin finishes with his masochistic patient, Arthur Denton (Bill Murray), who requested "a long, slow, root canal", Seymour books an appointment with Orin and arms himself with a revolver; however, he cannot bring himself to use it. Orin, who abuses nitrous oxide, puts on a type of venturi mask to receive a constant flow of the gas. Accidentally breaking an intake valve and unable to fix it due to laughing fits, Orin begs Seymour for help removing it, but Seymour does nothing. When Orin asks Seymour what he ever did to him, Seymour coldly replies "Nothing, it's what you did to her." Orin replies "Her who?... Oh, HER." and dies from asphyxiation. Seymour drags his body back to Audrey II. While dismembering the body to feed to the plant, Seymour is unknowingly witnessed by Mushnik, who flees in fear.
After feeding Orin's parts to Audrey II, which has grown to enormous size, Seymour discovers the police investigating Orin's disappearance. Audrey, feeling guilty about wishing Orin would disappear, is comforted by Seymour and the two admit their feelings for each other ("Suddenly, Seymour"). That night, Mushnik confronts Seymour about what he saw and holds Seymour at gunpoint, threatening to report him to the police. Mushnik then changes his mind, saying that since Seymour was "like a son" to him, he'll allow Seymour to leave town, blackmailing him into giving the plant to Mushnik. With no choice, Seymour steadily backs him towards the plant, which swallows Mushnik whole ("Suppertime").
Despite widespread success, Seymour worries about Audrey II's growth and unbridled appetite ("The Meek Shall Inherit"). Offered money and a contract for a botany TV show, Seymour becomes overwhelmed and decides to escape Skid Row with Audrey using money coming the next day, and leaving the plant to starve. After Audrey accepts Seymour's marriage proposal, Audrey II catches Seymour leaving and demands another meal: Seymour agrees, but insists on meat from a butcher. While Seymour is gone, the plant telephones Audrey, coaxes her into the shop, and then tries to eat her.
Seymour, returning in time to save Audrey, escapes the store with her. Explaining that he fed the plant to become successful and win Audrey's heart, Seymour discovers she has always loved him. Approached by an executive named Patrick Martin (Jim Belushi) from a botanical company, Seymour is offered a contract to breed Audrey II and sell the saplings worldwide. Horrified by the idea, Seymour drives Martin away and realizes he must destroy Audrey II for the sake of humanity.
Returning to the shop, Seymour learns that Audrey II is actually an alien from outer space ("Mean Green Mother from Outer Space"). Audrey II traps Seymour and destroys the shop, but Seymour grabs an exposed electrical cable and electrocutes Audrey II. Leaving the destroyed shop, Seymour safely reunites with Audrey. The two wed and move to the suburbs: as they arrive at their new home, which is the one seen in Audrey's daydreams, a smiling Audrey II bud can be seen among the flowers in their front yard.
During production, director Oz shot a 23-minute ending based on the off-Broadway musical's ending. However, after audiences at the preview screenings did not react positively to it, the ending had to be rewritten and re-shot for the theatrical release with a "happier ending."
In the original ending, the plant attacked Audrey, in the process revealing to her that he also ate Orin and Mr. Mushnik, Seymour comes and pulls her from its jaws but is too late to save her, as she is mortally wounded. As she is dying she tells him what the plant said about Orin and Mushnik, and then Seymour confesses that he fed them to the plant. Audrey requests that Seymour feed her to the plant too so that Seymour can earn the success he deserves ("Somewhere That's Green (Reprise)"). After fulfilling her dying wish, he attempts suicide by jumping off the roof of a building, only to be stopped by Patrick Martin. Martin offers to reproduce and sell Audrey IIs and has already grown a smaller Audrey II from one of the cuttings that he harvested earlier. He also warns Seymour that his consent is not necessary as plants are considered to be in the public domain. Realizing Audrey II is planning global domination, Seymour climbs down from the roof with the resolution to destroy the plant. Returning to the shop, he confronts and tries to kill Audrey II, who tears down the shop, fishes him from the rubble and eats him alive. The plant then spits out Seymour's glasses and laughs victoriously ("Mean Green Mother from Outer Space)".
The three chorus girls appear in front of a large American flag and tell how although Audrey II buds became a worldwide consumer craze, the buds grew into an army of monstrous plants who begin to take over the Earth. Giant Audrey II plants are shown destroying cities, toppling buildings, as well as eating people. The United States Army attempts to fight the buds as they ascend the Statue of Liberty and Audrey II eventually bursts through the movie screen and presumably eats the viewers ("Finale (Don't Feed The Plants)").
- Rick Moranis as Seymour Krelborn
- Ellen Greene as Audrey
- Vincent Gardenia as Mr. Mushnik
- Steve Martin as Orin Scrivello
- Levi Stubbs as the voice of Audrey II
- Tichina Arnold, Michelle Weeks, and Tisha Campbell as Crystal, Ronette, and Chiffon
- Jim Belushi as Patrick Martin
- John Candy as Wink Wilkinson
- Christopher Guest as The First Customer
- Bill Murray as Arthur Denton
- Miriam Margolyes as a Dental Nurse
- Mak Wilson, Danny John-Jules, Danny Cunningham, Gary Palmer, and Paul Swaby as the doo-wop backup singers
- Stanley Jones as the Narrator
- Vincent Wong as the Chinese Florist
- Kerry Shale as Life magazine assistant
- Audrey II was operated by John Alexander, Anthony Asbury, Don Austen, David Barclay, Michael Barclay, James Barton, Michael Bayliss, Marcus Clarke, Sue Dacre, Graham Fletcher, Brian Henson, Terry Lee, Christopher Leith, Toby Philpott, Mike Quinn, Paul Springer, William Todd-Jones, Ian Tregonnian, Robert Tygner, and Mak Wilson.
- Jim Henson's daughter Heather Henson cameos as one of Orin's patients.
- "Prologue: Little Shop of Horrors"– Chiffon, Ronette, Crystal
- "Skid Row (Downtown)"– Seymour, Audrey, Mushnik, Chiffon, Ronette, Crystal, Company
- "Da-Doo"– Seymour, Chiffon, Ronette, Crystal
- "Grow for Me"– Seymour, Chiffon, Ronette, Crystal (off-screen)
- "Somewhere That's Green"– Audrey
- "Some Fun Now"– Chiffon, Ronette, Crystal
- "Dentist!"– Orin, Chiffon, Ronette, Crystal
- "Feed Me (Git It)"– Audrey II, Seymour
- "Suddenly, Seymour"– Seymour, Audrey, Chiffon, Ronette, Crystal
- "Suppertime"– Audrey II, Chiffon, Ronette, Crystal
- "The Meek Shall Inherit"– Chiffon, Ronette, Crystal, Company
- "Suppertime (Reprise)"– Audrey II, Audrey, Chiffon, Ronette and Crystal (off screen)
- "Suddenly, Seymour (Reprise)"– Audrey, Seymour
- "Mean Green Mother from Outer Space"– Audrey II, the Pods
- "Little Shop of Horrors medley" (end credits)– Company
- Original ending
- "Somewhere That's Green (Reprise)"– Audrey, Seymour
- "Mean Green Mother from Outer Space"– Audrey II, the Pods
- "Finale (Don't Feed the Plants)"– Chiffon, Ronette, Crystal, Company
Operating the plant
Differences from the musical play
Differences from the 1960 film
- Little Shop of Horrors at Box Office Mojo
- Little Shop of Horrors at Rotten Tomatoes
- Little Shop of Horrors at Metacritic