Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

THE LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS


THE LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS (1960). Director: Roger Corman.

"What do you call that salad?"
"Cesarean."

Seymour Krelboin (Jonathan Haze) finds an unusual plant and brings it to his employer, Gravis Mushnick (Mel Welles), who owns a flower shop in Skid Row. The plant attracts many new customers, but when it begins to wilt Seymour discovers that the only thing that will keep it alive and healthy is human blood. Guess what happens ... Written by Charles B. Griffith of Attack of the Crab Monsters fame, this is inventive, amusing, and grotesque in equal measure. Haze and Welles are wonderful, as are the quirky Jackie Joseph as co-worker Audrey [for whom the plant is named], Myrtle Vail as Seymour's mother, Leola Wendoff as Mrs. Shiva, who loses relatives with alarming frequency, and Dick Miller as a customer who eats flowers for his health. In smaller roles are Jack Nicholson as masochistic dental patient Wilbur Force, John Shaner as the dentist, and Lynn Storey as Mrs. Hortense Feuchtwanger of the flower society, all of whom are marvelous. A great cast, a funny [if tasteless] script, speedy direction, and those human heads inside the flower buds -- what more could you ask for?

Verdict: A classic of bad taste. ***.

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