If you’ve always been upset that Frank Oz and Warner Bros. changed the original 23-minute ending to Little Shop of Horrors back in 1986, then all will be redeemed next month, 31 years later, when Fathom Events includes the film’s original ending in a Director’s Cut theatrical release.
WARNING: Spoilers for Little Shop of Horrors below!
The original ending had the man-eating alien plant, Aurdrey II (voiced by the Four Tops' lead vocalist, Levi Stubbs), killing off the ever-loveable main characters, Seymour (Rick Moranis) and Audrey (Ellen Green), before breeding a bunch of other Audrey IIs, who get plucked up like Garbage Pail Kids and Beanie Babies by the consumerist masses, and grow up to become city-stomping kaiju.
Albeit far more expensive to produce (reportedly $5 million of the gargantuan $30 mill budget), conceptually it was the same ending utilized by the theater production upon which Oz’s film is based, and also by Roger Corman’s 1960 precursor.
And it tested horribly.
According to Oz (via /Film), who gives an exclusive introduction to the Director’s Cut:
“For every musical number, there was applause, they loved it, it was just fantastic… until Rick and Ellen died, and then the theatre became a refrigerator, an ice box. It was awful, and the cards were just awful. You have to have a 55 percent ‘recommend’ to really be released, and we got a 13. It was a complete disaster.”
If you’re a fan of the 1986 movie first, when Seymour saves the day, and then you go back and watch the original ending (below), it’s hard to argue with Oz’s reasoning. Who didn’t love Seymour? So it’s not easy to see him suddenly sucked down Audrey II’s blood-thirsty gullet, with just the sight of his broken nerdy glasses remaining. It’s awful, in fact.
But who knows, perhaps times have darkened sufficiently since the frigid throes of the Cold War, so maybe the ending will play better Oct. 29 and 31, when the Fathom Events’ Director’s Cut hits theaters.