Halloween Review – “The Little Shop of Horrors (1960)”

This is the Roger Corman original. The Frank Oz
version was reviewed some time
, and won’t be part of the Halloween

Cast, Crew, and Other Info

Jonathan Haze as Seymour Krelboin

Jackie Joseph as Audry Fulquard

Mel Welles as Gravis Mushnik

Myrtle Vail as Winifred Krelboin

Dick Miller as Burson Fouch

Jack Nicholson (yes, that one) as Wilbur Force

Written by Charles Griffith

Directed by Roger Corman

Complete information is available from the

Buy from Amazon.com
or Amazon.ca.
(Note that those links are to the edition I have.
There are numerous
editions available, most of which are cheaper, and
just as shoddily

Past movie reviews can be found here.


Seymour Krelboin obtains a carnivorous plant. (He
originally says he
bought it, but later he’s credited with creating it.)

This is just bizarre. It’s not a musical, like the
more popular and
better known remake. It’s got some “before they were
stars” appeal
with Jack Nicholson as Wilbur Force, a character
renamed Arthur Dent
and played by Bill Murray in the remake. It also has
Dick Miller,
whose face I immediately recognized, but whose name I
had to look up,
as a character who eats plants. (I’m not talking
about fruits and
vegetables, either. I think he was placed for
oddball symmetry to
play off the plant that eats people.) Check out Dick
Miller’s IMDB
page here
to see who
I’m talking about, if you didn’t recognize the name.
(He’s probably
best known as Futterman in the Gremlins

High Point

Check out this conversation between the two police

Joe Fink: How’s the wife, Frank?

Frank Stoolie: Not bad, Joe.

Joe Fink: Glad to hear it. The kids?

Frank Stoolie: Lost one yesterday.

Joe Fink: Lost one, huh? How’d that happen?

Frank Stoolie: Playing with matches

Joe Fink: Well, those’re the breaks

Frank Stoolie: I guess so.

Yes, the detectives are named Frank and Joe, and they
play everything
deadpan, including the death of one of their
children. This is the
kind of movie we’ve got here.

Low Point

The final line of dialogue. Yeah, it was a repeated
phrase, but it
was completely meaningless in that instance.

The Scores

This was original. It’s loaded with quirky
characters and
oddball situations. It stands as proof that it takes
more than
originality to be good. I give it 5 out of 6.

The effects were lousy. They didn’t even
have a hole in the
bottom of the tabletop plant to push the food
through! It’s a pretty
lousy clamshell-like puppet. The flower blossoms
looked awful, too.
I give it 1 out of 6.

The story was contrived, awkward, and full
of bizarre moments
that were there for the sake of being there. There
are nonsensical
decisions and conversations throughout. Look at the
first murder; if
he wasn’t planning on feeding the plant, why did he
bring the corpse
back to the flower shop? I give it 2 out of 6.

The acting was pretty lousy. Jack
Nicholson, Mel Welles, and
Dick Miller did decent work, and Myrtle Vail
(grandmother of the
screenwriter) was actually pretty good as the
hypochondriac mother of
Seymour, but Jonathan Haze and Jackie Joseph were
awful from start to
finish. In fact, those two were so bad that I’m not
sure if the
others were actually decent, or if they just seemed
that way in
comparison. I give it 2 out of 6.

The emotional response is odd. I was
laughing the whole
time, but not always when and why the filmmakers
wanted me to. I give
it 5 out of 6 anyway, because nobody should watch a
Roger Corman film
and expect to enjoy the movie as the screenwriter
intended. (Unless,
of course, that screenwriter was Corman.)

The production was obviously Roger Corman.
This is a 77
minute film with four principal locations (in the
shop, in the
Krelboin home, in the dentist office, on the street)
and several
incidental locations (the railway station, the police
station, the
rubber factory that was filled with toilets, and
probably a couple
more I’ve forgotten.) That didn’t stop Corman from
filming the entire
thing in two days. Two days. There was no
time to adjust
lighting, retake scenes, fine tune the set
decorations, or any of the
tasks that are a staple of films. I give it 1 out of

Overall, it’s a bad movie. It’s a movie you
watch because
you know it’ll be bad. This is Mystery Science
Theatre 3000

fare, believe me. Unfortunately, it loses some impact
there because
some of the intentional jokes actually are funny. In
that light, I
give it 3 out of 6.

In total, The Little Shop Of Horrors
recieves 19 out of 42.

Halloween Countdown to date

3 replies on “Halloween Review – “The Little Shop of Horrors (1960)””

  1. alleged origins

    Corman, infamously, made this film on a bet/dare, that he could go from script to final print in some very limited amount of time (accounts vary, but the basic story appears to be authentic). It’s probably the best film made under these circumstances.

  2. A Fav
    A wonderfully quirky film.

    Apparently this was Jack’s first time in front of the camera.

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