The Little Shop of Horrors is a 1960 American black comedy film directed by Roger Corman. Written by Charles B. Griffith, the film is a farce about an inadequate florist’s assistant who cultivates a plant that feeds on human flesh and blood. The film’s concept is thought to be based on a 1932 story called “Green Thoughts”, by John Collier, about a man-eating plant. However, Dennis McDougal suggests that Griffith may have been influenced by Arthur C. Clarke‘s sci-fi short story from 1956, “The Reluctant Orchid“ (which was in turn inspired by the 1905 H. G. Wells story “The Flowering of the Strange Orchid”). Mythology about man-eating plants dates back to at least the 1800s, and probably much earlier.
The film stars Jonathan Haze, Jackie Joseph, Mel Welles, and Dick Miller, all of whom had worked for Corman on previous films. Produced under the title The Passionate People Eater, the film employs an original style of humor, combining black comedy with farce and incorporating Jewish humor and elements of spoof. The Little Shop of Horrors was shot on a budget of $28,000, with interiors being shot in two days utilizing sets that had been left standing from A Bucket of Blood.
The film slowly gained a cult following through word of mouth when it was distributed as the B movie in a double feature with Mario Bava‘s Black Sunday and later with Last Woman on Earth. The film’s popularity increased with local television broadcasts, in addition to the presence of a young Jack Nicholson, whose small role in the film has been prominently promoted on home video releases of the film. The film was the basis for an Off Broadway musical, Little Shop of Horrors, which was notably made into a 1986 feature film and enjoyed a 2003 Broadway revival, all of which have attracted attention to the 1960 film.
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I shot Little Shop of Horrors in two days and a night for about $30,000, and the picture has lasted all these years.
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