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Little Shop of Horrors

Roger Corman's cult phenonmenon "The Little Shop of Horrors" (1960) launched a craze for Junior, the exotic plant with a taste for humans, and its bumbly keeper, Seymour Krelboyne (Jonathan Haze). Seymour is an apprentice florist whose boss threatens to fire him until the mysterious plant he's been taking care of in his spare time starts to draw business to the struggling shop. Categorized as a black comedy, the film strikes a disconcerting chord between broad humor and a morbid undertow. Take, for instance, the scene of the ridiculous milquetoast Seymour singing "Deck The Halls" in a panicky, off-key voice while he feeds Junior the foot of an accident victim, or a masochistic undertaker (played by a young Jack Nicholson) who mistakes Seymour for a dentist. Juxtaposing comic and morbid elements is one way satire addresses serious issues, such as the lines we'll cross to protect our livelihood. Costing $30k and using sets repurposed from another production, "Little Shop" took all of two days and one night to produce. Corman was a master of the low-budget production—his film credits include "Last Woman On Earth" (1960), another tiny dollar wonder featured on UEN SciFi Friday. The director has also appeared in front of the camera, including a small part in "The Silence of the Lambs" (1991) with Jodie Foster and Anthony Hopkins. Charles B. Griffith wrote the script for "Little Shop" and, incidentally provided the voice for the voracious Junior.

The Science

Lynn Bohs

Lynn BohsBiologist Lynn Bohs of the University of Utah discusses the Venus Fly Trap in the film “Little Shop Of Horrors.”

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