Although the original ending to Frank Oz's 1986 musical comedy Little Shop of Horrors
has been on YouTube for years, Entertainment Weekly has brought us
part of the catastrophic closer in color. We'll be treated with a Blu-ray director's cut of the film tomorrow. EW
recently sat down with composer Alan Menken, who cocreated the musical production based on Roger Corman's 1960 black comedy that started it all.
Menken shared a story about the 23-minute finale surrounding a nerdy florist, Seymour, who raises an exotic and strange Venus Flytrap-like plant that becomes sentient and desires human blood. During a test screening, Menken said, "I remember running over to David, saying, 'It’s fantastic!' and David just kind of looking at me. And then apparently the cards showed up and it was like, 'Oh my God.'" The original ending featured Seymour and his ladylove Audrey being devoured by the ravenous plant, nicknamed Audrey II, who goes on a rampage attacking New York City.
Menken believes audiences today would have responded more favorably to the mayhem, but after the negative reception the ending was rewritten so that Audrey II was destroyed and everyone lived happily ever after. In the DVD commentary for the film, Frank Oz related his frustration with the shift. "We had to do it in such a manner that the audience would enjoy the movie. It was very dissatisfying for both of us that we couldn't do what we wanted. So creatively, no, it didn't satisfy us and being true to the story. But we also understood the realities that they couldn't release the movie if we had that ending."
Take a look at the vivid, restored clip that reveals the original ending, created by a special effects team that modeled the carnage with old-school tabletop miniatures and animation. Pick up a copy of Little Shop of Horrors on Blu-ray, featuring deleted scenes and other making-of footage.
Bonus: Here's the New York Film Festival conversation with Frank Oz, actress Ellen Greene, composer Alan Menken and film restorer Kurt Galvao, including a musical performance from Menken at the end of part three.