So, Which Plant Should We Feed?: Little Shop of Horrors Movie vs. Musical

By Ashtyn Britt
abritt@lc.edu

Little Shop of Horrors tells the story of Seymour Krelborn, a broke orphan living on skid row, dying to start a successful life and win over his crush, Audrey. Finally, one magical plant that appeared after a solar eclipse gives him the chance to have his every wish fulfilled, for one small price: human flesh and blood to feed the plant. Soon, the plant starts to grow and need more, driving Seymour to murder people in order to keep his success. While first it starts with Audrey’s physically abusive boyfriend, it soon turns to innocent people like Seymour’s boss.

Now, between the musical and the 1986 film, the endings are wildly different. Even before then, certain pieces of dialogue and songs were removed from the movie that had been present in the musical in order to make Seymour seem a bit more sympathetic.  For the movie, Seymour destroys the evil plant and lives happily ever after marrying Audrey. The musical, however, takes a much darker turn by having the plant trick and eat Audrey and Seymour both before multiplying and taking over the Earth. The movie techncially made both endings, before testing them with test audiences, who responded more positively to Seymour’s happy ending. However, there is one big flaw with giving Seymour a happy ending: it eliminates the whole moral of the story.

In short, the musical is far better because we see Seymour actually gain cumumpence for his actions. While it makes sense why the test audiences in 1986 wanted to root for a hero and see him win, the whole point of the original story was that Seymour was not a good guy. Seymour started out a good guy and then repeatedly chose to murder those around him to gain what he wanted, and even when he thought of destroying the plant, he chose not to. This is not a hero’s journey, it is a cautionary tale about falling into greed. There is no question in my mind that the musical is better, and the soundtrack deserves your attention far more than the movie deserves a four dollar rental on Amazon.

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