The 1986 version of Little Shop of Horrors concludes with Audrey II’s defeat, but the film’s alternate ending saw the alien plant take over the world. It’s often said that Hollywood doesn’t have any original ideas anymore, which is of course an exaggeration. Plenty of original films still get released, they just don’t get the same theatrical and marketing push that the latest superhero blockbusters receive. Still, for those looking to bash the movie industry for being unoriginal, one need only look at Little Shop of Horrors.
Little Shop of Horrors began life as a 1960 horror/comedy film directed by B-movie legend Roger Corman, and served as one of the first ever big screen appearances for another future legend, actor Jack Nicholson. In 1982, Little Shop of Horrors was adapted into an off-broadway play, still a horror/comedy, but this time also a rock and roll musical. This musical was itself adapted into the 1986 film starring Rick Moranis and Ellen Greene, which now stands as the most widely viewed version of the story.
Currently, Warner Bros. is working on a movie remake of the 1986 Little Shop of Horrors, which for those keeping score, will be a remake of a movie musical that was an adaptation of a stage musical that was an adaptation of a movie. Well, however this remake turns out, one wonders which ending it’ll go with from the 1986 version, its happy theatrical ending or its dour alternate ending.
Where the two endings of Little Shop of Horrors 1986 diverge is the point where Audrey II calls Audrey and lures her into Seymour’s shop, while he’s gone obtaining another meal for the monstrous plant. In the theatrical ending, Seymour returns just in time to save Audrey from Audrey II’s clutches, and ends up electrocuting the creature to death. Audrey and Seynour then get married and seemingly live happily ever after, albeit with the caveat that it looks like Audrey II’s species has survived.
In the alternate ending, which was based on the ending to the original off-Broadway Little Shop of Horrors musical, things get extremely dark. Seymour returns to help Audrey, but he’s too late, as the giant plant has already brought her to the brink of death. As her dying wish, she requests to be fed to Audrey II, so Seymour can finish achieving the success he’s always dreamed of. However, Seymour later attempts to kill Audrey II, only to fail, and be devoured by the hungry monster. A botanical executive begins selling Audrey II plants around the country, which all eventually grow up to be “Mean Green Mothers from Outer Space.” They then take over the world and presumably wipe out mankind. Interestingly, this was the ending director Frank Oz intended on using from the beginning, but test audiences hated it, leading to the happier conclusion that ultimately went to theaters.
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