The Guardian is running a series on the theme of “My Favourite Film”, and this week, Jessica Hopkins pens a love letter to “Little Shop of Horrors”. Not the Roger Corman original, but Frank Oz’s Musical remake.
I agree with her absolutely, it is a wonderful film: visually, musically, and a perfect cast. I’ve watched it more times than I can remember, and will keep coming back to savour it anew.
One thing that the comments on her article have brought to the surface: the original ending of the film is to be seen on YouTube. I’ve known of the original ending for a while, but I’ve never seen it. Apparently, the test audience for the film found it too depressing. While it was available on a DVD release for a short while, it was pulled by David Geffen, the producer.
All that remains is a working copy, in scratchy black and white, of what once was Frank Oz’s apocalyptic vision. The studio got cold feet, pulled it, and substituted a happy ending. Having now seen it, on the one hand, I can understand it – the original is very depressing (everybody dies), while the revised ending is a happy one (with a twist). But, on the other hand, the sight of multiple Audrey IIs rampaging through America causing chaos and destruction à la vegetable Godzillas has a demented majesty that demands to be seen.
It is rumoured that Geffen possesses the only copy of the original final version in colour. Here’s hoping that it will one day see the light of day and thus show the full wizardry of Oz.