Little Shop of Horrors

How Blade Runner led to Little Shop of Horror's re-release with Frank Oz’s original dark ending

Contributed by
Oct 26, 2017

WARNING: Spoilers for Little Shop of Horrors below!

This Halloween, Little Shop of Horror fans will have an opportunity to see Frank Oz’s classic comedy-horror-musical in theaters with the film’s original horrific ending. And apparently, we partially have Blade Runner to thank for it.

Oz and screenwriter Howard Ashman’s original ending found the mean-green plant from outer space, Audrey II (voiced by Four Tops' lead vocalist, Levi Stubbs), eating Seymour (Rick Moranis) and Audrey (Ellen Green), and mass marketing his clones, turning them into carnivorous kaiju that take over the world.

After screentests, which Oz described as a “complete disaster,” the decidedly darker ending was ditched, Seymour and Audrey were saved, and a hit was made, albeit one that was very different from the previous play and 1960 Roger Corman film upon which it’s based. And one that doesn’t exactly fulfill “the Faustian bargain” that Ashman wrote it for, as Oz told Collider.

Little Shop of Horrors

(Image: Fathom Events)

Now we’ll have a chance to see the 1986 must-see movie as Oz and Ashman intended (well, technically the original can already be seen on Blu-ray features), thanks to Fathom Events releasing Oz’s director’s cut in theaters across the country on Oct. 29 and 31. But according to Oz, such a celebratory event caught him completely by surprise, and might never have happened at all if the folks at Warner Bros. hadn’t been poking around the archives:

“It was a surprise to me. Quite a wonderful surprise. Kurt Galvao is a wonderful guy who’s the head of the Post area in Warner Brothers. He and his team looked through all the vaults for old pieces of film to put together for old Blade Runner and all the old, great stuff. All of a sudden I got a call from somebody when I’m next in LA to take a look at what he did. And I came and I was just amazed. I really had absolutely nothing to do with this. It was like a Christmas present for me...”

And now it’s a Halloween present for us.

What do you think, does Seymour deserve to get eaten?