- Apr 16, 2008
- Hawthorne, NV
- Real Name
- Todd Erwin
Before the Broadway musical and big-budget movie musical with Rick Moranis and Steve Martin, Roger Corman directed Little Shop of Horrors. Supposedly shot in two days on a budget of $25,000 in 1960, this charmingly dark comedy, which fell into the public domain, gets new life in this restored Blu-ray edition from Legend Films.
Studio: Legend Films
US BD Release Date: March 6, 2012
Original Theatrical Release Year: 1960
Rated: Not Rated
Running Time: 71 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1 (pillar-boxed)
Audio: DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 Mono (English)
Movie: 3 out of 5
Poor Seymour Krelboyne (Jonathan Haze) lives with his alcoholic and hypochondriac mother (Myrtle Vail), works at a Skid Row flower shop for the abusive owner Gravis Mushnick (Mel Welles), and has a crush on the store’s dim-witted floral decorator Audrey (Jackie Joseph). But Seymour is working on a new plant he found at a Japanese gardener, which he names “Audrey Jr.” Audrey Jr. won’t respond to any of the various plant foods and fertilizers Seymour feeds it. That is, until Seymour pricks his finger on a potted palm and a few drops of blood fall on Audrey Jr. Overnight, the plant triples in size and becomes a major draw for the struggling flower shop. As the flower shop becomes more successful, Seymour’s popularity also increases, with Mushnick practically adopting him as a son and Audrey taking notice of him. But this all will come at a price, the price of human blood.
Fans of the musical will notice some major differences in the story. Seymour is not an orphan, Audrey is not romantically involved with the sadistic dentist (John Shaner), and it is Seymour, not the dentist, that operates on the masochistic patient (a very young Jack Nicholson). Most of the performances in the film are very good (with the possible exception of the over-the-top Mel Welles). Jonathan Haze is sympathetic in the tragic role of Seymour, Jackie Joseph displays her knack for comedy as Audrey, and Dick Miller is just wonderful as the flower-eating customer, Burson Fouch (Joe Dante would later cast Dick Miller and Jackie Joseph as the Fudderman’s in Gremlins and Gremlins 2). Roger Corman shows he is actually a pretty darn good director, making the best of his cast and limited effects and budget.
Video: 4 out of 5 (B/W version only)
Legend Films got their start colorizing public domain films as well as classic films for other studios (Shirley Temple films for Fox, Three Stooges shorts for Sony). They are now one of the main companies converting films for 3D. As much as I dislike colorization, Legend does start their process by first digitally restoring, in black and white, the best 35mm film print they can find, and have always included that restored black and white version on their DVDs. Unfortunately, on this release, the black and white version is listed as a “bonus feature.” That complaint aside, the black and white version is presented in a pillar-boxed 1.33:1 aspect ratio in 1080p/24 high definition, using the AVC codec. Contrast is very good, with deep blacks and whites that are just short of blooming. Detail is very good, allowing you to see the pinstripes in Mushnick’s suit as well as the textures in Seymour’s sweater. The print has been mostly cleaned up, with little to on scratches or dirt visible.
Audio: 3 out of 5
The film’s original mono soundtrack has been cleaned up, with little to no hiss or noise and decent dynamic range in this DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 mono track. Dialogue is clear and understandable.
Special Features: 2.5 out of 5
Apart from the original black and white version, an audio commentary track by Mystery Science Theater 3000 head writer Mike Nelson has been ported over from the previous DVD release. Nelson is at times funny, but can be annoying, too, especially when his jokes fall flat (which, unfortunately, happen more often on this release than on previous Legend Films releases, such as Reefer Madness and Plan 9 From Outer Space).
Overall: 3 out of 5
Roger Corman’s classic cult film that spawned a Broadway musical, big budget Hollywood-style musical, and a Saturday morning cartoon series finally gets the treatment it deserves in this Blu-ray release (colorized version excepted). I just wish Legend could have licensed Joe Dante’s excellent trailer commentary from his Trailers From Hell website. That would have made this disc complete.