Verbal Diorama
Verbal Diorama
May 28, 2020
Little Shop of Horrors (1986)
Play • 1 hr 4 min

Little Shop of Horrors, based on the off-Broadway musical, in turn based off the 1960 Roger Corman dark comedy The Little Shop of Horrors... is probably my favourite ever screen musical.

It contains within several elements that never fail to delight me:

-Rick Moranis - a true gem of a man, on-and-off screen, who was a regular for all us 80s and 90s kids growing up

-It's a musical - with music and lyrics by the award-winning team of Alan Menken and Howard Ashman

-Practical effects - the puppet work is some of the greatest ever put to screen, with Frank Oz at the helm and a talented team of professional puppeteers (including Brian Henson), Audrey II feels real, tangible and a genuine threat to our heroes Seymour and Audrey

At the time, the most expensive motion picture Warner Bros had ever released, it had a lot riding on its mean, green shoulders. It failed to deliver at the box office but has since become a cult classic on VHS, and it was the first ever DVD to be recalled for content.... and not for the busting of balls, although the song "Mean, Green Mother From Outer Space" was the first song containing naughty words to be nominated for Best Original Song at the Academy Awards. It didn't win, sadly. And nor did it win for Visual Effects, but at least it lost that to Aliens....

The cast is flawless and an 80s/90s kid's dream;

Rick Moranis is the perfect nerdy, unconfident Seymour that we can all immediately root for. Ellen Greene (reprising her role from the stage) has a meek, shrill voice for Audrey, which transforms into a powerful set of pipes once singing, showing Audrey's inner strength. Steve Martin's Orin Scrivello (D.D.S!) is memorable and threatening enough to be fed to a carnivorous plant without us caring all that much for his loss and additional cameos from Bill Murray, Jim Belushi, Christopher Guest and John Candy just add to the brilliance of the production.

And finally, Levi Stubbs just IS Audrey II. His charisma and charm flows through an inanimate puppet, adding to the experience of seeing Audrey II come to life on screen.

Famously filmed with an original ending which was scrapped due to a very negative test screening, a new ending was hastily put together and it was the only ending available until the previously only black-and-white footage was digitally coloured and enhanced for released in 2012. "Don't Feed The Plants" - the final song and footage from the Director's Cut, is available on YouTube. It's all table-top miniatures created by Richard Conway and it's delightful - watch it here!

A remake is in the pipeline, but I guarantee it will never be able to emulate the charm, nostalgia or dream-like quality of this, and while this in itself is a remake, it's hard to not fall completely in love with everything about it. For me, this really is THE Little Shop of Horrors.

Just don't feed the plants!

I would love to hear your thoughts on Little Shop of Horrors! You can get in touch on

Twitter @verbaldiorama

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or you can email me general hellos, feedback or suggestions:

verbaldiorama [at] gmail [dot] com

Thank you to patrons Simon E, Sade, Jardiel, Claudia, Simon B, Laurel, Derek, Jason, Kristin and new Patron Cat for supporting Verbal Diorama.

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Thanks to the following for their contributions to this episode:

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Andy DeSisto

Theme Music: Verbal Diorama Theme Song

Music by Chloe Enticott - Compositions by Chloe Facebook

Lyrics by Chloe Enticott (and me!)

Production by Ellis Powell-Bevan of Ewenique Studios.

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