Friday, June 15, 2007

The Little Shop of Horrors

The Little Shop of Horrors; Horror comedy, USA, 1960; D: Roger Corman, S: Jonathan Haze, Jackie Joseph, Mel Welles, Dick Miller, Jack Nicholson

Sgt. Joe is narrating how he will never forget the following gruesome case: clumsy Seymour was working in a small flower shop where his boss Mr Mushnick didn't sympathize him, but on the other hand he was adored by his co-worker Audrey. When Mr Mushnick threatened to fire him, Seymour went to some mysterious Japanese to buy an unusual plant. Thanks to the plant, their business started attracting a load of customers, but Seymour realized it's actually a Venus Flytrap that feeds only on human blood. When he accidentally killed a man, he gave his body to the plant, and Mr Mushnick noticed that. Soon other victims followed, like the evil dentist Farb and a criminal. Seymour introduced Audrey to his mother but the police found him because the plant had leafs with the faces of the victims on them. Seymour himself was eaten and ended up as a flower.

Filmed apparently in only two days, black and white low budget black comedy "Little Shop of Horrors" is by today's standards a rather dated achievement, despite the fact that it was directed by Roger Corman and that Jack Nicholson once in the 2000s declared how it's one of the most spontaneous masterworks he ever saw. Nicholson himself only plays a very small role of a sadistic patient who likes reading magazines about gangrene and enjoys when Seymour, who was pretending to be a dentist, is pulling his teeth out, but his role was still slightly overshadowed by Bill Murray's in the elaborated remake with the same title from the 80s that is today by some considered better despite it's tame musical scenes. As absurd as it seems, the man eating Venus Flytrap, here realized as a stiff puppet without special effects consisting out of a jaw that vertically stares in the sky, is a symbol for Memphisto, but also for greed and criminal behavior. In one of the more amusing scenes, Seymour is forced to give his blood to the plant through his fingers, constantly inventing new excuses for his wounds ("Why do you have a bandage on your finger?" - "A bee stung me." - "So you were stung by 5 bees?" - "No, ten!"), while he accidentally kills a man for the first time when he throws a stone in the distance, but some guy just then stands up from behind the wall and gets the direct hit, but the ending is truly bizarre and weak.


No comments: