Little Shop of Horrors

Little Shop of Horrors

little shop header

One of Jack Nicholson’s first film roles is also a surprisingly good little horror comedy, even by today’s standards. Yeah, there is the inherent 1960’s goofiness, but even much of that is clearly intentional. Give this short little movie a shot and you may just be surprised (and you can watch it for free here):

Colorized version:

Original B&W:

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Automatic Transcript

Little Shop of Horrors (1960)

Episode 41, 2 Guys and a Chainsaw Podcast

Todd: Hello, and welcome to another episode of 2 Guys And A Chainsaw. I’m Todd.

Craig: I’m Craig.

Todd: And today, Craig and I decided to go with the 1960 version of Little Shop of Horrors. Now I don’t know Craig if well, I guess I’m just gonna out you here. Craig has been That’s cool. Craig has been performing in a the musical version of Little Shop of tours, this last week in our community theater. How’s that been going, Craig?

Craig: It went great. It’s actually over now, but, it went really well. It was a really fun group of people to work with, and, it was a show that I’d wanted to do for a really, really long time. So it was a really, really good experience.

Todd: Oh, that’s wonderful. You you played Seymour, didn’t you?

Craig: I did. And I did. And, you know, this, what the the film that we watched For today, is the 19 sixties version, which I had never seen. You know? I’ve been watching the 1980 Six version, I believe. The one with Rick Moranis, and Ellen Green. I’ve been watching that since I was a little kid, and I’ve always loved that movie. And so, you know, this summer, I had the opportunity to do the play version, which the the Rick Moranis movie is actually based on. So I had never seen this 19 sixties version until today, and it was kinda cool to compare similarities and differences and just see the original source material.

Todd: Yeah. What did you think?

Craig: I don’t you know, I didn’t really have much expectation going in. I was surprised kind of, I guess, that I had never watched it just I’ve been such a big fan of the musical and the the musical movie, I knew very little about it. I remember when I was a kid seeing, the the, you know, the VHS, at the video store, which always very prominently featured Jack Nicholson on the cover. And, I was always kinda confused by that. I don’t think that, you know, when I was little, I really understood the concept of remakes and different versions of things. And, so, watching it today, going in with very little expectation, I I thought it was cute. I thought it was was Charming. And I was actually, surprised by how closely both the Broadway show and, the movie musical follow it.

Craig: Clearly, obviously, there’s difference, differences. You know, this original is not a musical. But beyond that, there are a lot of similarities striking similarities. Even some, you know, some of the lines clearly They lifted from the source, and, so it was fun. It was fun to watch.

Todd: Yeah. You know, when I was a kid, this is a movie that I had seen a few times, and it was a little notorious for me. I think because you saw it everywhere, because, this is a Roger Corman film, and it was one that he shot Pretty quickly. I think, actually, all of the scenes that happen indoors in the interiors take place over 2 days. I mean, he shot them over 2 days.

Craig: Right.

Todd: Because, he was very well known for, getting the most out of his money, and he would shoot a film. And we’ve talked about this before. He would shoot a film, and then he would still have time left over on everybody’s contract and still have these sets left over.

Clip: And so he’d quickly have somebody whip up a screenplay, and he’d

Todd: shoot another movie. And sometimes that 2nd movie would do even better than the first. This, movie Was shot on old sets from another film that he did called Buckets of Blood, and he was able to convince, whoever owned the studio that he was, shooting in to let him use the sets for a little while longer, and they quickly whipped this thing together. And, obviously, it turned out to have a lot more staying power than buckets of blood, Although it didn’t Right. Quite as well at the time. I think he was so disappointed in the box office turnout for this little film that he didn’t even bother to renew the copyright, and so it slipped into the public domain. And so you’ve been able to buy this, like, at dollar stores and on those Cheap DVD sets with a bunch of films. It’s shown up on TV quite a few times, and all of the the horror movie hosts like Elvira and those folks, have done this movie just because it’s been so available and and free to use.

Craig: Right. And because it’s public domain, it’s legally available on YouTube, and that’s, how I watched it today. Yeah. From from what I understand, this almost was was the result of, like, a bet or a dare. Corman, talked to I don’t remember if it was a friend or his brother or something along those lines, and he bet that he could, shoot a movie, Rehearse and shoot a movie, in a couple of days, and that’s kind of, where its notoriety came from initially, I guess. From what I’ve read, In reality, he actually rehearsed the actors for a few days before shooting, but he did most of the principal shooting, like you said, in those 2 days. And then they they did do some, some reshoots in in the subsequent weeks, but, even even that, You know, they shot this on, a budget of $30,000 over just a couple of days, and I was really impressed because I thought as far as the Filmmaking went it was really competent. I mean, you would think, you know, something that was done so on the fly that That would be pretty obvious, but, I think that it stands up with any of those, you know, b movie, monster movies, from this era.

Todd: Oh, I totally agree, and I think a lot of that probably has to do with the competence of the acting. I mean, most of the people in here are pretty seasoned actors even if they’re seasoned in low budget films. They’re clearly very, very competent and very good at what they do. The star, Seymour Krelborn, is played by a guy named Jonathan Hayes, who you’re not gonna see in a lot of films, but He was in quite a few of Roger Corman’s movies before this, so he was well seasoned in the Corman shop. Jack Nicholson, this was one of his first Movie roles. I think it might have been

Craig: Yeah. I think it was his 3rd.

Todd: Mhmm. And then Dick Miller, who we’ve talked about before, is in this film too. And, and he just keeps popping up, and he was a mainstay of Corman’s. In fact, he starred in Buckets of Blood, which was the movie that Corman shot right before this.

Craig: Right. And I and I read that Corman wanted him to play the role of Seymour, but he just didn’t want to, for whatever reason. So he turned it down and ended up playing a smaller supporting role. But all of the principal actors here, Jonathan Haidt, you said, played Seymour, Jackie Joseph who played Audrey, and Mel Wells who played Mushnik, the 3 central characters. I think all of them had worked with Corman fairly extensively, And, so, you know, that may have and that kind of struck a chord with me too because, you know, like, I just did this with our community theater who is you know, we’re I’m in a small community, and so we I work with these same people over and over again. So it was kinda cool to see another group of people

Clip: who were familiar with one

Craig: another, who had worked with one another before, and seeing how, you know, they could put something together that, was really pretty and and kind of has stood the test of time. Probably, for, you know, the reasons that you already said because, you know, it’s public domain, so it got a lot of exposure. And then also because, the the musical and the movie of the musical went on to be successful and have a large Called Following, and I’m I’m sure that has something to do with why this has kind of, stayed in the mainstream somewhat. But yeah. Cool.

Todd: Well yeah. And, you know, the the movie itself really lends itself well to a play. In fact, I was watching this with my wife, and she, after a little while, asked me. She said, did this used to be a play? And I said, no, but it’s clearly filmed like a play. It’s clearly written like a play would be. You know, it’s limited mostly to those couple interiors of Mushnik’s flower shop, and later on, the dentist shop for a couple scenes, but the whole thing is staged. In fact, even the writing and the jokes And kind of the way it it moves and flows is very reminiscent of a play, and I I think a lot of that too, you know, the way that they filmed it, they were filming it very quickly. A lot of it was done only in one take, and, Roger Corman, even in order to save time, used multiple cameras, which is pretty unusual for a movie.

Todd: So they had the 1 setup. The whole set was lit, so they could move anybody at every anywhere they needed to without having to relight, you know, things for different shots. And then they were covering everything with a couple different cameras at once, so, boom, you know, you do a whole section, and boom, you’re done. And and you can tell In the movie that a lot of this is is really one take. I mean, if you’re paying attention, there’s the continuity between shots. It’s obvious that this is just the same, take from a different angle, which is really unusual for a movie, but, again, when you watch this, you can’t help but think, Man, this would make a really good play. And, clearly, that that’s what those guys had in mind when they turned it into a musical.

Craig: Right. Right. And it’s fun. You know, it’s it’s a goofy we, you know, we do all kinds of of movies. We talk about all kinds of movies and and I think that both of us, You know, like, you know, diversity and horror. This one, you know, it’s it’s again, it’s filmed in 1960 and so, of course, It’s a a, you know, really light on any kind of violence or gore. There’s there’s very little if any at all. And it’s it’s not Scary.

Craig: You know, what they what they did is they basically took a horror premise and kind of filmed it as a comedy, and it’s it’s it’s much funnier than it is scary at all. And and and that’s fine. You know? I I knew that going in, and that wasn’t a concern for me. But, The premise is is simple and cute, and, like, they had thrown around several different ideas, I guess, in prepping. You know, they just decided we’re gonna make a movie. Let’s, You know, let’s brainstorm some ideas. And, initially, they had thought about, kind of a a crazy chef, who, You know, kill people and cut them up and serve them in his food, and, you know, they kinda passed on that idea. At one point, it was gonna be kind of a play on a Dracula kind of thing.

Craig: And, eventually, after a night of drinking and brainstorming, one of the writers said, well, what if we do a killer plant, a man eating plant? And from what I’ve read, Corman, who had had several drinks at that point said, That’s it. Let’s do it. And they just rolled from there.

Todd: Yeah. And and and, again, as you said, it’s really cute, and it’s It’s original. I mean, it’s really pretty original for its time. I don’t know if anybody had ever really done this. I mean, they are they were, like, Eating man eating plant films. I’m not sure how soon before or after this. Usually, they were aliens, you know, that came in from somewhere else and had kind of a plant form. But in this, you just have this flower shop, and it’s run by this guy named mister Mushnik who, of course, is upset because His flower shop is in Skid Row, which is the bad part of town, and he doesn’t get any business.

Todd: And He’s thinking about closing it up, and he’s mad at all of his his basically, his 2 employees who are Audrey, who’s this just ditzy girl, and, Seymour, who’s this klutzy guy. And the point that they play up is klutsiness in this movie.

Craig: Oh, yeah. Yeah. I mean, the the In the very beginning of the movie, you know, it opens well, actually, no. It it opens and this was one of the differences. It it starts with this kind of interesting, you know, the credit sequences over this Draded, version of Skid Row. And then it sounds almost like Dragnet. You get, like, the detective voice over.

Clip: My name is Sergeant Joe Fink. Working the 24 hour shift out of homicide. And this is my workshop. The part of town that everybody knows about but that nobody wants to see. Where the tragedies are deeper, the ecstasies wilder, and the crime rate consistently higher than anywhere else. Skid Row. The most terrifying period in the history of my beat began in a little rundown floor shop called Mushniks.

Clip: And, of

Craig: course, that’s an element that they left out of, the the play and and the movie musical, and and I think rightly so. You know, it it really seems Kind of forced and and unnecessary. But, yeah, then we get right into the the flower shop where we meet the principal characters and, Seymour’s 1st entrance, you know, you hear him singing in the back and and Mushnik kind of, yells at him or whatever. But when he comes out, you know, it’s a total Pratfall, right into the scene. And again, you know, that’s something that, the play, you know, picked right up. You know, I’m bruised from head to toe from that Pratfall every night. But, it it’s it’s cute. And, you know, it’s it’s cutesy from then on.

Craig: Lots of little jokes. I I think that, you know, there’s quite a few, jokes about Jewish culture that I don’t even really think that I necessarily got. In fact, they had some problems with distribution because distributors were afraid that people would view it as being anti Semitic. I didn’t see that at all, and Corman said, you know, that was not his intention at all, you know, these were just Jewish characters and, you know, they played into the comedy. But yeah. So it’s the it’s the little flower shop. It’s failing. Seymour, is a Klutz.

Craig: He’s you know, he can’t do anything right. He’s messing up flower orders. He’s breaking stuff. And so Mushnik Fires him. He says, you’re fired. And, Audrey says, well, hold on a second. Seymour has been working on this new plant. You ought to take a look at it.

Craig: And so Seymour comes Out with this little what looks like, you know, a little kind of, Venus flytrap, looking thing. And it’s Cheap looking, you know, like, it’s obviously it’s obviously, you know, just a cheap prop. It doesn’t really look like plant life at all. But it’s just this cute little thing, and and they start talking about it, Nick. And, it moves it moves on from there.

Todd: Yeah. You know, the the dialogue is so Funny and snappy, and that’s something that I had forgotten about when I was a kid. I think because a lot of these jokes just went right over my head. I as a kid, I really wanted this to be a horror film, And, I wasn’t looking for the comedy, and I didn’t find it. But, man, as an adult, this this comes at you. It’s in spades, and that’s again why it feels so much like a play. It’s just really funny, snappy dialogue, and I’ve gotta give credit, to the writer here, Charles Griffith, who, you know, this wasn’t his 1st rodeo. He actually wrote most of core most of what he wrote were Corman films.

Todd: A lot of them some of Corman’s most, Most, notorious ones. And I I I love the part where Seymour, like, Bushticks talking to missus Shiva, who keeps coming in. And and that’s another Jewish joke. This woman keeps coming, getting buying flowers for these dead oh, so and so died, and I’ve gotta get flowers. I don’t know. So it’s like her his only customer is this woman who just needs flowers for a funeral that’s happening every other day. And, Yeah.

Craig: And I and I apologize if we have Jewish listeners because I know so little about the Jewish culture. But from what I understand, even the name Shiva, Shiva is kind of, I think, a Hebrew death ceremony kind of maybe the equivalent of awake or something. And, yeah, every time she comes in, it’s somebody new in her family has died. And it’s just a running gag, and there are lots of running gags like that. And they they they play well. They play funny.

Todd: Oh, Dick Miller’s character who loves to eat He gets the flowers just so he could eat them, which is insane. It he goes for being this guy who is gonna be the star to this It this weird bit part, but it’s so cute. I I don’t know. It’s just kinda funny. Cute. Every now and then, he pops in, and he’s kind of the guy in the scene makes little comments, and he’s the one who actually comments. He says, you know, mister Mushnik, if he’s got this weird plant, this plant could become really popular and really save your shop. And and so, he he does have an an important role to play, but otherwise, he’s just like whipping out a salt shaker every now and then I’m sprinkling it on some carnations and just munching down on them.

Craig: Right. And, you know, we have like you said, we talked about Dick Miller and his Roger Corman connection a bunch of times. Which, which version of this did you watch? Did you watch the original black and white or the colorized?

Todd: I watched the black and white version.

Craig: Okay. I was going to. I had every intention of watching the black and white, but the transfer that I was watching was really blurry. And so after the first 5 minutes, I I switched over to, you know, again just on YouTube. I switched over to the colorized version, and it had been so blurry that I hadn’t even realized that that was Dick Miller.

Todd: Oh, no.

Craig: And when he and when he popped up on stage or or not on stage, I guess, on screen, in color, like, A huge smile just came across my face. Like, this guy is so charming and cute and charismatic, And you’ve seen him in so many things and he’s just got this, you know, funny air about him. And here he is eating these flowers and, just so silly and and he really, you know, he’s he’s a big, bonus, in this movie. And I didn’t know this until after, you know. Again, like I said, we’ve talked about him a bunch of times, and the thing that I always remember him from, is, Gremlins, and and Gremlins 2. And, after the movie, when I was, you know, looking at some research and whatnot, I saw that Jackie Joseph, who played Audrey, actually played opposite him, played his wife in both the Gremlins movies. And again, it was just a connection that made me smile and, you know, really brought back memories from my childhood, and that was a lot of fun too.

Todd: Well, you know, this movie is just filled with a lot of hilarious, almost goofball jokes. Seymour then goes home, and we are introduced to his mother, who’s this invalid, who is Kind of a hypochondriac. Obviously, feigning sick most of the time, but, really, she just wants Seymour to get him, her her tonic, which is really just a so she’s really just an alcoholic who’s Yeah. Tonic with, like, 90% alcohol. Is that in the Is that in the musical version? I can’t remember.

Craig: No. No. In the musical version, Seymour is an orphan. His his parents don’t play in. And again, I can totally see why they made that decision. His the, you know, the character of the mother is just there for, for comedy. And it works in the movie. It’s really funny.

Craig: You know, like you said, when he walks in the house, the radio is playing and and the the DJ gives the Call letters, and then he says, you’ve been listening to, you know, w k I t or whatever. Music for invalids. Music for old invalids. And, like, it’s, you know, it’s It’s goofy and silly, and she’s all the time, you know, talking about all of these different, ailments that she has. Like you said, it’s all really just a cover for the fact that she just wants to be drunk all the time.

Clip: And you know sympathy for your poor mother Laughing at her and mocking her realness and she’s got 1 foot in the grave?

Clip: Oh, I didn’t mean it.

Clip: Oh, you never mean it. Come on. Look at my tongue.

Clip: A tongue’s a tongue, ma. They all look the same to me. Oh,

Clip: did you stop at doctor Mallard’s

Clip: and get the results on my tests?

Clip: Yeah. He said there’s nothing wrong with you.

Clip: Oh, not doctor Mallory. He he’s 1 doctor I thought would tell the truth.

Clip: He said you should be playing full back for the Rams.

Clip: He wants me dead. I’ll bet he’s assistant coroner.

Todd: Well, his flower starts to grow a little bit. The thing that he recognizes, Basically, because he’s moving another plant on the table to make way for the other flower, which has, I guess, a thorn in it, and it cuts him. And the plant opens up a little bit, and clearly, is moved by the blood. It wants the blood. And Yeah. So he’s, like, you really you you need blood, and so He starts to squeeze some of the blood out of his finger into the plant, and then it cuts to what we only know is a few days later, because It’s Seymour now it’s Seymour’s fingers. Every single one of them are bandaged. Right.

Todd: And, he’s been feeding the plant, and the plant’s been growing, because he’s been feeding it blood, but, of course, he hasn’t been telling anybody. The only thing that’s that’s been happening is that Mushnik’s been getting more business because the plants become a little more notorious. And there are a couple of, characters, so I was also trying to remember if they were in the musical. The the character of the 2 high school girls?

Craig: They’re not in the musical but they’re combined into a different character, just a customer. And and all of the little stuff that they do, these girls they come in, they’re impressed by this strange and unusual to a plant, and then Mushnik says something like You

Clip: would like maybe to buy something.

Clip: Well, we don’t have any money except $2,000, But that’s just to spend on flowers. So we don’t have any of our own. Isn’t that a drag?

Clip: You got just $2,000 just for to Spend on flowers?

Clip: That’s right.

Clip: Who died? The Chamber of Commerce?

Craig: And, apparently, You know, they are in charge. There’s like a, a rose festival or something that they’re in charge of all the decorations for. And, All of that is, you know, combined into different aspects in the play. But again, you know, they these girls, you know, As it would happen in real life because this nerdy little guy invented this cool plant, like, they’re fawning all over him and screaming like he’s the Beatles and, They’re, you know, they’re gonna they’re gonna buy all the flowers for this rose festival there. And, again, you know, it’s just It’s setting it up so that, you know, Audrey junior in the musical, they changed it to Audrey excuse me, Audrey 2, but in the play that, Seymour has named it Audrey junior, the plant is going to be responsible for the business thriving. And so there’s a lot at stake, because, after the girls kind of fawn over the plants a little bit, missus Shiva comes back in and, you know, claims that somebody else has died and then she said, yes. I need some flowers, but you ought to give some flowers to that dead plant over there too. And they look over and Audrey junior has wilted and browned and is now dying.

Craig: And so, Seymour figures he’s gonna have to figure out a way, to continue to feed it so that business will continue to thrive because everybody’s counting on him. And here’s one of the things that differed, differs in in the musical. The first time Seymour goes out looking for food, and it’s not really clear, you know, what he’s anticipating finding. Yeah. But he goes to there he goes to the railroad tracks, And, he sees a bottle sitting on, like, a ledge, and he picks up a big rock to throw at the bottle, and it’s such a funny gag. Like, as soon as he throws it, This guy pops up from behind the ledge and reaches for the bottle like he’s gonna drink it. It’s booze or whatever, and the rock hits him in the head instead of hitting, the bottle, and then he gets up and stumbles right in front of the train and is killed. So Seymour now has something that he can give to the plant.

Craig: He didn’t act you know, there was no malicious intent. He didn’t murder somebody. It was an accident, and that’s a little bit different, than the musical and the movie, and and silly and so contrived, you know. Oh, yeah. But But but you don’t care. You know? Like, it’s obviously playing it for the fun. It’s playing it for the joke. And for that reason, it works.

Craig: And so he does, you know, he he feeds body parts to the plant, and the next day, the plant has grown even larger, really large. And that was one of the things that I thought was funny, you know, in our production, in most productions I’ve seen, there’s usually 3 different sizes of plants. There’s a little tiny one, And then there’s kind of a medium sized one, and then there’s the great big one that can eventually eat whole people. And it seemed like in the movie, They kind of had the same constraints as far as props go, but they kept trying to make it as fee as Seymour continued to feed people to it. It’s like they kept trying to make it look bigger and bigger, but it seemed like the same prop to me. Is it to you?

Todd: Yeah. Like, maybe they just put the camera a little Closer to it or is Yeah.

Craig: You’re right.

Todd: Yeah. It really did. It’s not until it’s gigantic that, that it looks any different, you know, as soon as it’s big enough for people to kind of climb into. Right. But it always looks fake. I mean, it’s the fakest looking Oh, yeah. Plant prop. It’s like paper mache.

Craig: And Oh, yeah. It’s really it’s goofy.

Todd: And that’s really the only semi gross part of it is, I think, is when he’s got, like, foot or a hand, and he’s squeezing a piece into, the plant that it it’s it’s kind of a Wait.

Craig: But, again, it’s really not

Todd: No. It’s not your word.

Clip: I mean, I guess

Craig: no. And it’s obvious that, you know, these they’re obviously props. You know? They look like plastic props. And I’m you know, whether that was budget or time constraint or even a deliberate choice, which I almost feel like It may be a very well have been a deliberate choice to not go for realism. You know, what would be the point of going for realism in this goofy thing?

Clip: Oh, yeah.

Craig: So, I I thought it was I thought it was hilarious. I was, you know, chuckling the whole time.

Todd: Yeah. It was, you you’re right. I think that’s and, again, we’re we’re at a time in movie making where People really weren’t going for major gore, at least not yet. Definitely not Roger Corman. He wasn’t doing that until a little later. But it’s funny when it cuts from him Feeding the plant. There are lots of neat little touches in this movie. It cuts straight from him feeding the plant, I believe, to mister Mushnik eating some steak in a restaurant, And he’s eating with Audrey.

Todd: And so am I to understand that their relationship is he’s her grandfather?

Craig: I don’t know. I never really Figured that out. And and it kinda threw me because, again, this doesn’t happen in the musical. Yeah. They’re out. It almost seems like they’re on a date. Mhmm. I I couldn’t figure out what their relationship was.

Craig: She calls him by his first name. So I don’t know. I I I guess maybe they’re just friends because they work together. Later on, you know, as Seymour becomes more famous, it becomes obvious that Audrey is kind of interested in him and Seymour eventually asks her out on a date, and mister Muschate doesn’t have any problem with that. It doesn’t seem like, you know, they’re in a relationship or anything. So I was I was a little thrown. I wasn’t exactly sure what the relationship was, but in the end, it doesn’t really matter. It was really just more of a way, you know, to kind of have them outside of the shop so that Seymour could be in the shop Feeding body parts to the plant, and then mister Mushnik, who had forgotten his money at the shop, has to go back And he sees Seymour feeding body parts to the plant, and that’s something that’s different in this movie too.

Craig: Mister Mushnik doesn’t figure it out until quite a bit later. And in the in the musical, when mister Mushnik finds out, he does have, you know, his conscious bothers him and and he wants to have Seymour, turn himself in. And in the musical, to avoid that happening, Seymour allows the plant to eat mister Mushnik, and none of that happens here. Instead, Mushnik sees it and he’s got, you know, kind of his conscious is bothering him. But because business is going so well, He kinda lets it slide and Seymour tells him, you know, I cross these 2 different types of plants. One of them is a flytrap. And typically with flytraps, They eat, like, 3 times in their entire lifetime until they’re full grown, and then they don’t eat anymore. So Mushnik thinks, alright.

Craig: Well, if the plant has already eaten all it needs to, then maybe we can just kinda look the other way and not worry about it.

Todd: Yeah. He keeps pulling Seymour aside after some of these bigger events or after he can. He knows that the plant’s gotten bigger, so he must have gotten fed. Saying, like, so this is the last time. Right? So this is it. Right? And Seymour’s like, yeah. Yeah. I just don’t see how it can get any bigger.

Todd: Right. Right. The it it’s great because after that next morning, when, of course, after Mushnik has watched that happen, and, the plant shop is booming because they’re all looking at everybody’s in to see the plant. I guess mister Mushnik hasn’t come to work until much later. That’s what you can do when you’re the owner, I suppose. It’s funny how he walks in, and he’s so stunned. He’s, like, stunned at the people, and he’s stunned at the attention it’s getting. But then, of course, his conscience is nagging him, and so you get that great, A series of lies where the girls are talking with him.

Clip: Mister Mushnik, we talked to the committee, and they said we could use your power on the float. And guess what? I’m going to feature Audrey Junior right on

Clip: top. Boy.

Clip: Can’t you just picture it?

Clip: I can picture it.

Clip: Oh, won’t the people just eat it up?

Clip: Eat up the people.

Clip: And we’re gonna have the big part of it open so she can sit in it. Who? The queen with her crown and set her. She’ll be so You oh, you could just eat her up.

Clip: Eat up the girl.

Clip: Oh, they’re savor.

Clip: Stop. They’re hard.

Craig: It’s just just so funny. It’s such a funny image, and they’re so excited. It is just so stupid that they would be so excited about this big ugly plant, but, god. They are fun.

Todd: It is an ugly plant too. It’s hard to believe every anybody’s getting excited about this thing.

Craig: And and, you know, again, like, you forgive the the choppy writing because You’re just in it for the fun. You know? You’re not expecting a lot of continuity. You’re not expecting amazing storytelling. You know? The the day after he feeds the The railroad guy, to the plant. Seymour comes in and all of a sudden he has a toothache. So he has to go to the dentist. You know, it’s a total non sequitur like. Yeah.

Craig: Okay. I have a toothache now. I have to go to the dentist. And he goes and this is so funny. You know, in the movie, they write in a motive him to kind of have negative feelings towards the dentist anyway, that’s all absent here. He just goes because he has a toothache and, You know, there’s no explanation for why really this dentist is so sadistic. He just is. And, you know, his customers are screaming, and he’s just pulling out teeth for fun.

Craig: And, Seymour gets in there and, you know, the dentist pulls out one of his teeth and, then, you know, in such clunky storytelling, the dentist, like, picks up a a scalpel or something, and Seymour grabs the drill, which is, like, hanging on an arm, And he says, ah, a duel. And they start, like, sword fighting. Like, little kids would sword fight with, like, butter knives or something. And the dentist just, Like, stumbles backwards, I guess, hits his head on the wall and is dead. Like, it’s just it’s it’s so goofy. It it really goofy.

Todd: It It’s really dumb.

Craig: It’s almost so goofy. It and it’s so dumb, and that’s why it’s funny. Like, you’re just laughing at how ridiculous it is, and I thought it was cute.

Todd: Well, they’re really going out of their way to find people. Either the people who are going to be fed to the plant have to be people who deserve to die in some way, like the dentist’s, or it’s a total accident, that they were killed and that Seymour is not actually going out and killing them. You know, even in the even in the musical, they kinda do that. I mean, he goes to the dentist with the idea, that he’s going to feed him to the plant. So he’s going to kill him, but he can’t get up the strength to do it. And it turns out the dentist kind of kills himself with the laughing gas.

Craig: Right. So Right. Right.

Todd: Yeah. It it keeps you, sympathetic to the Seymour character instead of turning him into this tragic, well, it keeps him a tragic figure instead of turning him into this, this guy

Craig: A monster.

Todd: Yeah. Exactly. Right.

Craig: These the scenes, you know, some of them are completely they have no relevance to the rest of the movie, you know. This is when Jack Nicholson comes in, And Jack Nicholson, comes in and for no explained reason, he’s like a mortician or something And he gets off on pain. So he wants the dentist to, like, drill him and pull his teeth and whatnot. So because the dentist is dead, Seymour, takes his place, like, pretends to be the dentist and, he pulls out a bunch of Jack Nicholson’s teeth, and it all happens so like Jack Nicholson is in the movie for probably a total of 5 minutes if that. And he’s young. Like you said, this is one of his first movies. I think I looked it up. I think he was about 23.

Craig: I mean, it’s There’s no mistaking him, you know. He has such a unique look and voice. There’s no mistaking him, but, he just and he plays this goofy little role. I I guess, you know, when he had come in, Corman or whomever had told him that they were really going for, you know, slapstick farce, and and so he’s just playing it really, really silly. That that did kinda carry over to the film version, not not the, musical, but the film version of the musical. Bill Murray Plays, that character and hysterically so. Okay. But it was it was it was cool to see, it was cool to see Jack Nicholson in that little cameo.

Todd: Now I can’t remember how it is in the, eighties film version and the and the play, but I was watching this with Jack Nicholson. I I just couldn’t help but think, man, This would be a much more effective scene if he wasn’t playing it up so much at first, because part of the comedy in this is this tension. Okay. Seymour’s got a cover for the fact that the dentist is dead, so he’s playing the dentist. But here’s a patient coming in who’s expecting dental work, and so, You know, it would have been a a a little bit of a better scene if, if he didn’t if if we didn’t know the patient was weird until Seymour was sort of forced into this awkward moment of having to drill, and then we we find out, oh, it’s okay because this guy’s weird, and he gets off on pain anyway. Sure. Don’t know. Is that how it is in the movies or or not really?

Craig: No. In the movie, Bill Murray plays it just as weird, and, it’s it’s it’s funny. But like like you said, they were filming this so quickly. I read somewhere that I think in his biography, Jack Nicholson talked about this movie, And he talked about how they filmed it so quickly that they never even really finished that scene. They shot the the sections in the waiting room, And then they shot the sections in the, dentist office. And during the scene, I think that Seymour, like, kind of climbs up on him or I don’t know. But something happened where the actor who was playing Seymour, knocked over a piece of the equipment, the dental equipment, and it started to fall. And Roger Corman didn’t yell cut.

Craig: Nothing. He just stepped into the scene, grabs the equipment, kept it from falling, and said, cut. That’s it. We’re done. Like like, he He he wasn’t even willing to, like, stop and reshoot it. So they just kinda ended it where it ended. And so we we get very little of of anything in there, and then it cuts back out, and Jack Nicholson has his back to the camera. And when he turns around, a bunch of his teeth are blacked out, but He’s a happy customer.

Clip: Well, doctor Favre, it’s been quite an afternoon. I can truly say I’ve never enjoyed myself so much. I’ll recommend you to all my friends. Thank you. Bye. Bye now.

Craig: And that’s it. It it has no implication on the rest of the movie at Paul, it’s just a goofy little comedy bit.

Todd: That’s right. And I think it’s immediately after this then that, we get to the dragnet style cops. Right? Right. And they’re in there and and they are so dragnet. It’s obviously I I mean, it was still a popular, TV show at this time even, obviously, much more part of the pop culture than it is today. But even today, you recognize that, until Friday. Hey. You know? And they just go back and forth, and they talk very seriously in in these short clip sentences.

Todd: And This

Craig: was this was my favorite bit of dialogue in the whole Movie. It was so funny because they play it so dry.

Clip: How’s the wife, Frank? Not bad, Joe. Glad to hear it. The kids? Lost 1 yesterday. Lost 1, How’d that happen? Playing with matches. Well, those are bricks. Yeah. I guess so.

Craig: Oh my god. I just thought it was one of the funniest things I’d ever heard. They just play it so dry.

Todd: So they go and they visit the store. They visit Mushnik. And, again, this doesn’t make a lot of sense either because I believe what they’re investigating is the death of the bum. Isn’t that right?

Craig: And the dentist and the dentist, both. Yeah.

Todd: Oh, okay. Because Seymour, I thought, cleaned up pretty good after the death of the bum. He put all his body parts in a bag, so how they would have run across or known about the death of the bum when nobody else was around. And anybody who would have been around would have seen Seymour cleaning it up so they’d have a little more to go on, I think.

Craig: Well and well, in the way you know, Unless I missed something, there was nothing that would have led them to the flower shop.

Clip: You know?

Craig: Like Absolutely nothing. There was no connection. You know? Not that they had any kind of lead or whatever. It’s almost like they just stumbled in there because there were a lot of other people there. Walt was Yeah.

Todd: The dentist was in Skid Row too or whatever, so they’re going into all Skid Row shops something. You’re right. It it made no sense. I think it was just there to add another element to the film or to provide some kind of sense that Seymour, they’re closing in on him in some way. But, again, they’ve got nothing to go on.

Craig: After that, I mean, they they when, you know, Seymour they come in and the plant is really big the next morning, you know, this happens in a sequence of days or whatever. There’s a cute little exchange between Audrey and Seymour where Audrey kisses him, and he’s like, oh, you don’t have to kiss me. And she’s like, what do you mean? He’s like, well, I’m sure you don’t like it.

Clip: And No. I do like it.

Craig: And so they kiss again. Yeah. Just on a date. Is so creepy. I know. It’s just super clunky and silly. Then this lady, this fancy pants lady comes in, and she’s from the Society of Silent Flower Observers of Southern California. And and she tells, Seymour that, their society has taken notice of this plant, and they wanna give them a trophy.

Craig: So they’re gonna come back when the big blooms. There’s big blossoms on the plant. When those blossom, they’re gonna come back and they’re gonna give them this, trophy. Audrey and Seymour go on a date at Seymour’s house, which again is just more goofball stuff. Everything that the mom serves for dinner is just some sort of medicine disguised as food, and it all sounds disgusting. And meanwhile, while they’re there, Mushnik has said that he’s gonna stay and babysit the plant because he doesn’t want any more murders to happen. That’s right.

Clip: One

Craig: of the things that we haven’t mentioned yet that I was actually really surprised by, I did not expect in this movie for the plant to talk. I thought that surely that was something that they put in for the musical. I thought it was just way too goofball, but it does. The plant talks in this movie too. And, you know, it’s just it sounds like this disembodied voice, you know, and it’s just all it says is

Clip: feed me food, more food, hungry.

Craig: And Seymour hears it and is not confused or frightened. You know? It’s like, okay. It talks. Mushnik, it you know, it talks in front of Mushnik, and Mushnik, you know, oh, I guess we have a talking plant here. Like Yeah.

Clip: Like, oh, okay.

Todd: K. He just starts responding to it. I’m not gonna feed you’re not getting fed tonight. And this is

Craig: Right. I and And then so while Go ahead.

Todd: I was gonna say the voice of the plant, apparently, it’s uncredited, but it apparently is the voice of the writer. Yeah.

Craig: I I guess that the writer actually played several different roles, smaller roles. While Mushnik is babysitting the plant, a robber comes in because I guess he’s seen how successful the the business has been over the last few days. And Mushnik hides from him, but the robber sees him. And, apparently, that was the writer as well, the robber. And, Mushnik kinda tricks him into thinking that the money is in the plant, and he tells him just to knock on the plant, and the plant opens up, and then the robber gets eaten. That’s How Mushnik meets his demise, in the play is Seymour tells him that the money’s in the plant, and that’s how Mushnik gets it. But it’s a little different here.

Todd: Yeah. In this in this movie, Mushnik survives through the whole thing.

Craig: Yep. And does well, everybody well, no. That’s not fair. Not everybody but, yeah, the the the play actually ends, on a really dark note. Every pretty much everybody dies. Mushnik gets eaten. Audrey, gets killed by the plant and and Seymour ends up, you know, because she’s died. He he feeds her to the plant, and then Seymour gets eaten by the plant too.

Craig: That doesn’t happen. If you’re only familiar with the movie, that doesn’t happen because they filmed it that way And, test audiences hated it, so they went back and and refilmed, a happy ending where the plant was defeated. If you’re curious, if you like the movie and you didn’t know that, the the deleted, ending scenes are available on YouTube too. But I didn’t know that, you know, for the longest time until I was an adult. But, yeah, it it it ends on a pretty dark note.

Todd: Oh, and while we’re talking about it, If you are you gotta go and see the ending to the, to the 19 eighties version that’s up on YouTube that was deleted. It is a massive production That original

Craig: thing. It’s really cool.

Todd: It’s hard to believe that they just cut all of that out because there’s so many special effects, and it goes on for, like, 20 minutes. It’s crazy.

Craig: So much production. Yeah.

Todd: Yeah. Where the plant takes over the world. In this case Right. It’s cute because, seem so after the thief is dead, the plant burps up his gun. Right. Right. And then we’re back to Seymour and Audrey, and and I think they’re having another date, or they’re getting excited. Yeah.

Todd: They come back. And It’s interesting because Seymour says what I think is my one of my favorite lines in this thing when he’s talking about his future. Of course, this is something in the play that they build real up is that part of the whole thing is just to get out of Skid Row, get out of this terrible existence they have. And he says,

Clip: tomorrow, they’re gonna give me

Clip: a trophy, and I’ll be famous. I’ll be a

Clip: big botanist. And then we can go to the South Seas just like we planned and all.

Todd: Yeah. You know? Just like all those other notorious famous rich botanist out there. I love that line.

Craig: There is a sequence in this movie that’s neither in the play or in the remake, and I thought that it was really kind of strange and I understand why they left it out. But, Seymour Well, the plant talks in front of Audrey, but Seymour plays it off that he’s, like, doing ventriloquism or something stupid like that. And Audrey takes off and Seymour comes back in and says, I’m not feeding you anymore. And the plant says, close your eyes. And so Seymour closes his eyes, and the plant goes, you’re asleep. And then he goes, open your eyes. And all of a sudden, Seymour is hypnotized by the player, and and is is saying things like, Must get food for master, and he’s walking around like a zombie outside. And there’s this whole sequence where this hooker is trying to get his attention, And it’s just so funny.

Craig: Like, over like, he just keeps walking by her, and then he’ll be walking along, and she’ll appear somewhere else. And she keeps trying to get his attention. And eventually she does. And he thinks that she’s trying to volunteer herself as Food when really she’s trying to volunteer herself for something very different. But she says he says something like my place or yours. And, she says, I don’t care. And he says, well, we’ll flip for it, but he says, I don’t have a coin. She says, we’ll flip something else.

Craig: And so he picks up a rock off the ground and, like, Spits on one side of it.

Clip: Wet or dry? Wet.

Craig: I thought it was kind of I thought it was kind of a risque joke for the 19 sixties. And so he tosses the rock up in the air, and it comes down. Of course, it lands right on her head. And so then She’s dead, and he feeds her to the plant too. And that leads up to the scene. It’s it’s the morning where the people, the Society of the Silent Flower Observers have come, to give the trophy.

Todd: Yeah. And for some reason, they’ve decided that they’re it’s impossible for them to give him the trophy until until the plant blooms.

Craig: Right.

Todd: So they’ve all gotta be there to witness the plant bloom, which apparently happens on a very precise time scale because they’re all there, and the buds open, And you see the faces of the dead people on the plant, and the cops are there too for some reason. And so They, see this, and I guess sort of put 2 and 2 together. Hey. These are the victims. We at least need to, to catch the crowborn kid. And so Seymour takes off running, and there’s this extended excruciating dumb chase sequence through Skid Row, through all of the the weird parts of the city. Suddenly, it’s nighttime, I guess. Right.

Craig: I actually thought that part was really funny because I have no idea where they ran, and I have no idea where they shot it. But at one point, They’re running through this huge, like, tire yard, and it’s, like, all these enormous tires. And they’re, like, running over the top of them and through them and stuff. They don’t need to It made no sense. Yeah. I had no idea where it was, but it was kind of a cool visual. And then they ended up like, I guess maybe it was a yard or something. They ended up in this place where there were a bunch of toilets, and, it was like you said, it was kind of excruciatingly long.

Craig: I don’t know if they were stretching for time. It’s a short movie. It’s under an hour 20. But yeah. And it it’s it’s pointless because Seymour, you know, they chase him around, And then he just ends up coming back to the shop anyway.

Todd: Well, I remembered you know? And I don’t know if it’s just the thought everything mixing together in my head, But I distinctly remembered a different ending to this movie. I know it doesn’t have a different ending, but it’s just interesting how your mind, Remembers things as a kid. I remembered a better ending to this movie. I remember Yeah. That, Because after the big chase scene, Seymour’s back at the shop with the plant, and he basically says, I’m gonna take care of you once and for all. And he grabs a knife, and he climbs into the plant with the knife. Right? And so the idea is, I guess, he thinks he’s gonna kill the plant from the, you know, The inside. I mean, forget about hacking it away at it from the outside where it’s safer.

Craig: Right.

Todd: But anyway, my recollection of the ending was that the Society For the Flower Givers had not had not seen none of that budding had happened yet, But he had gone into the plant to kill it, and then the next morning, everybody had gathered to see the plant open up, and that’s when they saw the buds of the different people, who had been killed. And then the last bud that opened was Seymour had Seymour’s face on it, then saying, I’m really sorry, everybody, and then drooping down. Yeah. Oh, what? Yeah.

Craig: And arguably arguably, I think that would have been a better ending. It it’s almost like they needed a way to get that chase scene in there. Yeah. And so they had so they had to See it before. But, yeah, then, of course, Mushnik and Audrey and Seymour’s mom, and maybe if you maybe the cops, I don’t know who else are in there. And, Yeah. As the the butt opens and it’s Seymour’s face.

Clip: Casey’s, I didn’t mean it.

Craig: And the plant wilts. Now I I read after, after having watched the movie, I I just, you know, I looked up everything I could on Wikipedia and the plot synopsis. It says that, I guess, that the intention was supposed to be that the plant dies. Like, having eaten Seymour, it dies. I didn’t get that from it. But, but that’s that’s it. That’s where it ends. They all kinda stand there in shock, and then the end flashes up on screen, and that’s it.

Craig: Movie’s over.

Todd: Yeah. It’s, it’s kind of abrupt, but it’s also silly and very contrived how it gets there. So you’re kind of ready for the movie to be over at this point, I think. There’s not

Craig: Yeah. Yeah.

Todd: Much else there’s nowhere else it’s really going to go, but at least they, you know, kept it a little tragic. I guess it made sense that Seymour died. It it didn’t make a lot of sense in real life that Seymour wouldn’t have just No. Killed the plant, cut it from its stem, or you know? There are any number of ways besides climbing into it that could have killed the plant. But

Craig: Right. Now in the play, they kinda try to rectify that a little bit. You know? He he tries to shoot the plant, nothing happens. He tries to Poison it. Nothing happens. And so he says, you may be tough on the outside, but I’ll hack you apart from the inside. So they And I have to, you know, I I still love that movie, the musical movie, and I think that the writing there is really clever and they really cleaned up some of the sloppier things, from the original. But yeah.

Craig: I mean, it’s I I don’t hold it against this version because it is what it is. Yeah. And that’s the thing, you know, Going going into this movie, you have to be ready for goofball silliness. You know, it’s not taking itself seriously. It’s just for fun. If you’re looking for, you know, really well crafted storytelling, if you’re looking for, you know, something sophisticated, you are gonna be way disappointed. But if you just want something cheesy, you know, from this era of, you know, b monster movies, I think it’s cute. I thought it was a cute little movie.

Todd: Oh, I’m with you. And, you know, aside from the things that we have definitely outlined where it’s it’s it’s contrived, and it’s cornball, and it’s silly, I think it actually holds up pretty well In that Mhmm. Aside from some outdated references and some silliness, I mean, the jokes are good. They’re funny. Yeah. And, they they come at you rapid fast. The movie really moves quickly, and it again, it is a short film, so you’re not sitting through it for very long either. It it except for that chase scene, it really doesn’t seem to unnecessarily stretch things out too far.

Todd: Right. It’s just a tight, economical, funny little film, and I’m so glad that it’s gotten a life beyond this this older version of the 19 sixties because I think it kinda deserves it. A credit to the writer Yeah. I think, and the ensemble cast.

Craig: Yeah. And it’s the kind of thing would I watch it again for my own benefit? Probably not. But might I watch it again to introduce somebody else to it? Maybe. I think so. Especially if it was somebody who is a fan of the play or the, you know, the move the musical movie, and and they hadn’t, experienced it before, I would definitely sit down and watch it with them to kinda see what their reaction was because I I think it’s it’s fun.

Todd: Well, you know, and poor Roger Corman. I mean, it has gone into such a life of its own after this. Him letting it slip into the public domain, who would have thought? I hope that at least they’re giving him Some kind of royalties or something anyway. You know? Yeah.

Craig: I don’t know.

Todd: But, oh, the man’s got money. It’s not that big of a problem.

Clip: Sure. Sure.

Craig: I you know, you picked this kind of, you know, as a courtesy to me and I appreciated that. But I’m I’m glad we did it. It’s not I don’t watch these really old movies very often. And I think that I tell myself that I wouldn’t be interested, you know, that they wouldn’t hold my attention, that they’re too out of date. And so I’m glad that you suggested it and that we watched it because it really is kind of a a look back at a time that, is is long gone. Long gone. You just don’t see these kind of movies anymore, and it was it was a fun it was a fun way to spend an hour and 20 minutes my afternoon today.

Todd: Know, it’s so funny to hear you say that, Craig, knowing that you’re a teacher of literature. Like, you know how many people approach, like, Moby Dick and well, Mobodix is a bad example. But like a

Craig: lot of Yeah. I was gonna say, you know, I right. I don’t look at that stuff. However, However, the rest of my afternoon today was spent reading A Tale of Two Cities to prep for school coming up. So it’s not that I don’t appreciate, antiquity. It’s just, maybe this isn’t something I’ve given enough a chance.

Todd: Well, that’s what I’m saying. It’s like, you know, you come to these old classic books, and you think, oh, it’s gonna be boring. I’m not gonna like it. It’s so out of date and blah blah blah. And then you read them, and you realize there’s a reason they’re classics. Right?

Craig: That’s exactly right.

Todd: So maybe we’ll get to them right. That maybe you’re discovering that all over again with these movies.

Craig: Yeah. Well,

Todd: thank you so much for joining us for another episode of, 2 guys in a Chainsaw. If you liked what you heard today, please share this podcast with a friend. We’re on iTunes, we’re on Stitcher, and we also have a Facebook page

Clip: and a Google Plus account

Todd: that seems to be sometimes more active than our Facebook page. So if you’re if you’re active in any of those arenas, please, jump on there. Let us know what you thought of this article, and, let us know what you want to see coming up in the future. We’d love to hear your suggestions and watch those films. Until then, I’m Todd

Craig: And I’m Craig

Todd: with Two Guys and a Chainsaw.

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