Tag Archives: Jonathan Haze

30 Days of Madness, Day 22 — The Little Shop of Horrors (1960)

by Tom Kapr

Wherein I attempt to watch one new-to-me horror film every day of October till Halloween and write a quick review. I will end my review with a letter grade like we do on our podcast (A, B, C, D, or F–pluses and minuses are for the non-committal!) and with the movie’s rank on my Flickchart.

littleshop2

 

Written by Charles B. Griffith. Produced & directed by Roger Corman.

Roger Corman’s The Little Shop of Horrors is probably the least “real horror” film I’ve done yet this month. I mean, sure, there are scenes of bloody body parts being fed to carnivorous plant, but the entire production is just so ridiculous, nothing can be taken seriously.

In fact, the only real horror in this movie is Jonathan Haze as the accident-prone protagonist Seymour Krelboyne. In my opinion, bad filmmaking is rarely worse than when it’s bad comedy, and Haze’s pratfalls are awful. Still, watching the pratfalls is not nearly as painful as listening to him speak. In fact, most of the characters in this film have grating voices.

This film was rough in the beginning. After a little while, I kind of understood the vibe a little better, and things evened out to the point I was actually enjoying it. I was certainly enjoying Audrey, and Audrey’s malapropisms, and Audrey’s outfits. A hearty thank you to the wardrobe department.

The detective characters in this film (Sgt. Fink and Officer Stoolie–the names of the characters are a lot of fun, too) are hilarious with their deadpan, world-weary, quickfire film noir-ish banter. Even a lot of the stuff involving Mel Welles’ exasperated outbursts of Yiddish and Dick Miller’s weird flower fixation turned out to be a lot funnier than I had anticipated in early scenes.

Basically, anything not involving Seymour turned into a source of enjoyment for me. But as most of this film focuses on him, a lot of this was a slog to get through. And the third act was a parade of increasingly WTF moments, and not in the good way.

Oh right, Jack Nicholson is in this too, for one scene, where he plays a masochistic dental patient. If I had seen this in 1960, I probably would have been surprised a decade later to see that guy’s career taking off. What a weirdo. (Still, I suppose.)

Final grade: C

My Flickchart ranking: #2553 (out of 3266, a relative 22/100) - This is probably the biggest disparity so far this month between my letter grade and Flickchart ranking. It probably doesn’t deserve to be quite that low.