DVD Shopping Bag: Little Shop of Horrors Directors Cut Blu-ray - Mania.com



DVD Shopping Bag: Little Shop of Horrors Directors Cut Blu-ray

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DVD Shopping Bag: Little Shop of Horrors Directors Cut Blu-ray

Based on a movie that was filmed in 2 days

By Robert T. Trate     November 13, 2012
Source: Mania.com

I love musicals. This is not really a thing most guys who love science fiction and horror movies like to proclaim. Hold on, I’m not done. I also love being in musicals. Yes, you read that right. I’ve been in West Side Story, How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, Evita, and Cabaret. Now before you laugh, let’s take stock of what I got to do. I got to be in a knife fight and street a brawl. I even played a Nazi once. Yet, the best thing about being in musicals was meeting all the girls. How did I get so lucky? Well, somewhere in my adolescence I picked up Little Shop of Horrors

It was that time in my life where my parents trusted me to rent whatever I found interesting. I saw the giant killer plant on the box and took home this movie. I was hooked. Here was a Sci-Fi/ Horror story told in song where this dorky guy (completely relatable) finds this strange plant and insanity ensues. He has to win over the big chested blonde and then save the day. What more could a dorky guy ask for? I went back the next day and begged them for the poster hanging on the wall. Next, I ventured to the music store and ordered the soundtrack. The funny thing about the soundtrack is that it has this track, “Don’t Feed the Plants”. This is odd because that song is not performed in the movie. I thought nothing of it and figured it must be some old Broadway song from the stage production that was recorded and placed on the CD, you know, for the fans. 

Let’s jump forward in time shall we...

After a dozen plays and musicals, I am working at video store in college. DVDs are all the rage and, for this film student, “special features” are a cornucopia of lost Hollywood treasures. Suddenly, “behind the scene specials”, “deleted scenes” and “director commentaries” are new necessities for my viewing pleasure. Little Shop of Horrors arrived on DVD for all of about ten seconds and then it was gone. Now why did Little Shop of Horrors disappear so quickly? I searched far and wide for one. My own store took them right off the shelf and sent them immediately back to Warner Brothers. You can imagine my surprise as not only did I want this DVD, but that no one thought of even consulting me on the subject. Not even a “Hey Bob, you want one of these before we send them back?”. They just sent it off; never to be seen again*. The story goes that Warner Brothers released the original ending to the movie with only a work print (black and white). Producer David Geffen recalled all the DVDs and promised a re-release in full color. That was 1998. Now, years later, after searching eBay for a reasonably priced copy or hoping to burn one, Warner Brothers has released the Director’s Cut on Blu-ray. 

After watching it, I can see why that test audience in San Jose went silent. It is not that it is bad, if anything, it has the original ending featuring “Don’t Feed the Plants”. It’s just a downer. Now I have been in enough plays and musicals that ended on down notes, but we always emerged for the curtain call. In Little Shop of Horrors there is no such thing. Our characters die and that’s it. It really takes all the fun out of the show. You can site to me “original ending” and “intention of the director and writer” all you want, but a musical about a giant plant that thrives on human blood has to end on a note of hope. At least for my tastes. 

Thankfully, Warner Brothers included the original theatrical cut of the film as well. Better yet, they have supplied numerous special features and a commentary track that help to shed some light on what went into this production. Little Shop of Horrors was initially a low budget horror comedy that was shot in two days by Roger Corman. Years later, it became an off Broadway sensation and David Geffen turned it into a film. 

What is stunning about the film is that it has only two optical effects. Everything else on screen is real. This film, directed by Yoda himself, Frank Oz, is a visual treat of practical effects and old school movie making. The original ending is nothing short of wondrous and a great homage to B movies of the 50’s. The treat for fans of the film and future generations is that everything has finally been assembled. Now, fans of the Off Broadway hit can enjoy it as well as the movie geeks who discovered it on home video.

Oh... I still have that exact same poster... just FYI. 

 
Top 5 Picks of the Week:
 
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3. Lawrence of Arabia (50th Anniversary Collector's Edition) [Blu-ray]
4. Empire of the Sun [Blu-ray] 

5. Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure [Blu-ray]

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*This would later happen with the Special Edition of Ed Wood on DVD. Thankfully, after a quick phone call my old boss held 3 copies for me. They were pulled for copyright infringement. She sold them to me immediately, without question.  

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