The mean green mother from outer space (Audrey II as named by Seymour Krelborn) comes our way. This time (and no spoilers intended) the plant gets the goods on us humans as in the original play ending, which was shot but scrapped, gets its release.
As a fan of the original play and the cult classic 1986 version of the movie, I was so excited to finally see the director’s ending in all its green glory. Commentary from director Frank Oz gives insight into why the decision to let the humans win and give a happy ending is very insightful.
Theatrically released in December of 1986, the movie stars a stellar cast with Rick Moranis in the lead as Seymour Krelborn and Ellen Greene as his love interest, Audrey. Both work at a Skid Row flower shop owned by Mr. Mushnik (Vincent Gardenia).
Smaller roles really that make the movie quirky include Steve Martin as the sadist Orin Scrivello, D.D.S., Bill Murray as the masochist dental patient Arthur Denton; James Belushi as the double-talking salesman Patrick Martin; the late John Candy as the radio personality Wink Wilkinson; and the Greek-inspired chorus line, Tichina Arnold, Tisha Campbell-Martin, and Michelle Weeks.
The premise is wrapped in many nods to the 1950s, the idea of the American dream, throw backs to the movies of the 1950s, and making a human-eating space alien campy and funny.
Seymour Krelborn leads a sad life in Mushnik’s Flower Shop and it looks like his life will never improve. He spends much of his time in a love-haze for Audrey, but is too shy and nerdy to act upon his desires. Audrey is involved in a volatile relationship with Orin, D.D.S.
Seymour buys a strange and unusual plant and his luck seems to turn around. The flower shop starts to do better and better as the plant grows. The only problem is the plant eats human blood.
Seymour manages to feed the plant with drops from his fingers but it is draining him. Then the plant, named Audrey II after the first Audrey, starts to talk. And demand food. Fresh food. Human food. Seymour does the unthinkable: he kills someone (granted that someone probably deserved it) and chops him up and feeds him to Audrey II.
Filled with quirky songs and a chorus line that enhance every moment, the action moves in one direction: the plants are planning world domination and humans are just food.
For those out there that don’t know, this movie has a lot of history. Its start was a 1960 low-budget horror movie that starred a very young Jack Nicholson and was directed by Roger Corman, and then it became an off-Broadway musical. In 1986, a campy but dark version gained an extensive cult following with its twisted but hilarious songs and people-eating green plant.
When the original ending was tested on audiences, they hated it its dark message: as the army of Audrey IIs attack America, two climb the Statue of Liberty and started to wrap our scared symbol in vines. This is after Seymour’s Audrey II eats his beloved, Audrey, and eats our anti-hero, Seymour.
The ending I grew up with is more benign: Audrey and Seymour manage to escape, Seymour electrocuting Audrey II as the flower shop collapses around them. And then the audience plays into the idea that Audrey and Seymour will find that 1950s paradise with the AstroTurf lawn and the white picket fence (i.e. the American dream).
I hate to say that I kind of liked the plants taking over the world in Godzilla-like fury. It was funny to me that they ate Cleveland first. Am I just sick and twisted? I loved the director’s cut ending.
I don’t know if I would have liked it when I first saw the movie way back when, and I have seen perhaps seen this film two dozen times since my first viewing, but the director’s ending arrived fresh and unusual to my now cynical self.
On Blu-ray, the color pops and Skid Row looks even more dismissal than before. The plant, done with still spectacular special effects, looks better than ever - 1080p format never looked better. Highly recommended. Its supper time and it must be fresh…
Visit the DVD database for more information.