Little Shop of Horrors (1986): Frank Oz’s Remake of 1960 Corman Feature

The first version of the horror comedy, Little Shop of Horrors, was shot in a few days by Roger Corman in 1960, then became a lavish 1982 Broadway musical, courtesy of Alan Menken and Howard Ashman.

In the second version, made in 1986, Rick Moranis plays the nebbish hero, Seymour Krelborn, who works in a rundown flower shop on Skid Row. While his boss (Vincent Gardenia) bemoans the lack of business, Seymour seeks a way of making the shop more famous and more successful.

He purchases a strange plant from an oriental street vendor (Vincent Wong), naming the plant after his girlfriend Audrey, played by Ellen Greene, who also appeared in the Broadway tuner.

Gradually, Seymour learns to his horror that “Audrey II” (voiced by R&B singer Levi Stubbs) craves blood and flesh. With each of Audrey II’s “Feed Mees, Seymour must get human food to satisfy the plant’s appetite.

One of the victims is a dentist (Steve Martin), a leather-jacketed Elvis type.  The dentist’s masochistic patient played by Jack Nicholson in the 1960 film is here played by Bill Murray.

The tone of the film gets darker as Audrey II grows more and more monstrous, but the filmmakers find a way conclude the tale with a happy ending.

MPAA: PG-13.

Running time: 94 minutes.

Directed by Frank Oz.

Released: December 19, 1986

DVD: May 23, 2000

Warner