Little Shop of Horrors [1960]

Hilarious, cheapie black comedy from 1960 that may be the best film by B-picture master Roger Corman, other than Bucket of Blood, made about the same time with the same writer, Charles Griffith. Seymour (Jonathan Haze) is an assistant in a skid-row flower shop who's on the point of losing his job when the unusual plant he's developed turns the store into a major attraction. The only problem is that the plant needs human blood to live, all the while crying, "Feed me! FEED ME!" Luckily, Seymour causes a series of inadvertent deaths that more than make up for the food shortage. Jack Nicholson provides a comic sidebar as a nutjob masochist visiting a dentist's office. Giggling and wild-eyed from the same impulse that might lead others to read scandal sheets, he can be seen in the dentist's waiting room reading aloud from Pain magazine. Famous for having the shortest shooting schedule on record (two days and a night), The Little Shop of Horrors spawned an off-Broadway musical that was in turn made into a successful film in 1986, starring Rick Moranis and Steve Martin. It was in just this quick-shoot atmosphere that Corman nurtured the careers of many of America's most celebrated film directors; this little shop of honors included Francis Ford Coppola, Peter Bogdanovich, Martin Scorsese, and Jonathan Demme. The DVD has optional Japanese subtitles, very generous bios of the stars and filmmakers, and a clean, crisp transfer. --Jim Gay

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