Little Shop Could Have Been About a Chef?

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Little Shop of Horrors may be a B movie, but in this case, the “B” also stands for beloved. The campy comedy about a man-eating plant continues to entertain.

“This movie had no budget to speak of, yet it has made me more fans and friends than some of my bigger pictures,” director and producer Roger Corman said. “People come up to me on the street who have memorized parts of the dialogue.”

1. It was shot fast.

Roger Corman shot A Bucket of Blood in five days, and he tried to beat that record with Little Shop of Horrors. And he did. The film was shot in approximately two days and one night (not including the rehearsal time). It helped that the movie only required five sets and that they used multiple cameras. The reported budget was $25,000. The pace was so fast that screenwriter Charles B. Griffith remembered, “If people blew their lines, sometimes they stayed in.”

2. Nicholson acts crazy for a reason.

Jack Nicholson plays a pain-loving patient in one of his earliest film appearances. He said, “I went in to the shoot knowing I had to be very quirky because Roger [Corman] originally hadn't wanted me.” Nicholson also remembered the fast shoot because actor Jonathan Haze accidently almost knocked over the rented dental machinery during filiming. He said, “Roger didn't even call cut. He leapt onto the set, grabbed the tilting machine, and said, ‘Next set. That's a wrap.’”

3. The idea changed due to the censors.

Roger Corman and Charles Griffith discussed several ideas for the next picture when the theme of gluttony came up. Griffith suggested a film about a salad chef who would eventually cook his customers, but they worried the production code wouldn’t allow such a grisly topic. Griffith remembered, “So I said, ‘How about a man-eating plant?’, and Roger said, ‘Okay.’” The working title was The Passionate People Eater.