And the plants proceeded to grow and grow- and grow. And begin what they came here to do. Which was essentially to eat Cleveland and Des Moines and Peoria and New York and where you live! – Crystal Ronette & Chiffon
Back in the glorious time known as the 1980’s Frank Oz aka Miss Piggy teamed up with Allen Menken and Howard Ashman (of The Little Mermaid fame) to bring a musical about an evil intergalactic plant with a thirst for blood to the big screen. The result was in a word epic. Giant plant puppets, Ellen Greene and some of the best songs ever. I mean Suddenly Seymour?! How can you not just die listening to it!
But even in the perfect glorious 1980s there was an evil us film geeks know all too well. The studio executive! Upon screening of the original cut of the film, the ending was deemed much to grim by test audiences. SPOILER ALERT: In the original stage version, the blood thirsty Audrey II eats Audrey and then Seymour and proceeds to take over the world. Test screenings made it clear that the audience did not like the idea that the films leads would both not survive and that the film would end in total world domination. They scrapped the original ending, wrote new music and reshot scenes in order to provide a happy ending for Seymour and Audrey. Of course since this was the 1980s long before the era of bonus features the original ending would end up locked away from the light of day for years. Upon the initial release of the DVD in the late 90s had a terrible half assed black and white undubbed version of the ending. It was promptly recalled and for years fans had hoped for a full release.
This full release finally came to fruition and the world has been given Little Shop Of Horrors: The Director’s Cut! The last 25 minutes of the movie are completely different from what we all have seen. When Audrey II lures Audrey across the street to the shop, he reprises Suppertime and promptly proceeds to try and swallow her whole. Like in the theatrical version, Seymour arrives in time to pull Audrey from the mouth of the plant. But instead of a reprise of Suddenly Seymour we watch as Audrey pleads to Seymour to feed her to the plant once she has died. In a mournful reprise of Somewhere That’s Green she laments that if she is part of the plant then she can always be with him. Seymour tearfully feeds Audrey’s corpse to the plant and then flees to the roof about to kill himself. When a business man approaches to discuss plans to sell little Audrey IIs across America. Seymour tries to kill the plant as he realizes it’s true intentions. He seeks to destroy the plant and after the Mean Green Mother number is promptly eaten. Cue what is an epic number sung by Crystal, Chiffon and Ronette along with the ensemble. Finale Ultimo [Don’t Feed The Plants] starts with the girls singing in front of a giant American flag and then proceeds to show us how Audrey II’s children take over the world. With some truly epic miniature shots as they eat Cleveland Des Moine, Peoria, New York and the world! They may offer you the world but don’t feed the plants!
Is this ending a bit depressing? Yes it is! But it is also SO much more grand in scale and just plain amazing. Yes everyone we grew to love is dead except the girls. But it gives us an amazing homage to giant monster movies and some amazing effects the likes of which will never again be seen in the modern era of CGI everything. Go get the DVD, download it do what you need to do but you really have to see the movie with the original ending!