They lament that they cannot escape the neighborhood "Skid Row Downtown ". Struggling from a lack of customers, Mr. Mushnik decides to close the store, but Audrey suggests he may have more success by displaying an unusual plant that Seymour owns. Immediately attracting a customer, Seymour explains he bought the plant—which he dubbed "Audrey II"—from a Chinese flower shop during a solar eclipse "Da-Doo".
Attracting business to Mushnik's shop, the plant soon starts to wither. Seymour accidentally pricks his finger, and discovers that Audrey II needs human blood to thrive "Grow for Me". Audrey II begins to grow rapidly and Seymour becomes a local celebrity. Meanwhile Audrey suffers at the hands of her abusive sadistic, boyfriend Orin Scrivello; however, she has feelings for Seymour and secretly dreams of running off with him to the suburbs "Somewhere That's Green".
Seymour soon attempts to ask Audrey out, but she turns him down because she has a date with Orin, who is revealed to be a dentist "Dentist! The plant proposes that Seymour murder someone in exchange for fame and fortune, as well as the ability to woo Audrey; Seymour initially refuses, but eventually agrees after witnessing Orin beating Audrey "Feed Me Git It! After Orin finishes with his masochistic patient, Arthur Denton, who had requested "a long, slow, root canal", Seymour draws a revolver on Orin, but cannot bring himself to use it.
Orin, who abuses nitrous oxide, puts on a type of venturi mask to receive a constant flow of the gas, but breaks the valve, and Seymour watches as he asphyxiates. Seymour dismembers Orin's body and feeds it to Audrey II, which has grown to enormous size, but is unknowingly witnessed by Mushnik, who flees in fear. Audrey, feeling guilty over Orin's disappearance, is comforted by Seymour and the two admit their feelings for each other "Suddenly, Seymour".
That night, Mushnik confronts Seymour about Orin's death and holds Seymour at gunpoint, blackmailing him into turning the plant over and leaving town. With no choice, Seymour begins Mean tell him how to care for Audrey II but before he can reveal the secret, the plant swallows Mushnik whole "Suppertime". Offered money and a contract for a botany TV show, Seymour becomes overwhelmed and decides to escape Skid Row with Audrey using money coming the next day, and leaving Green Mother From Outer Space - Mallory Graham - Just For Fun (Vinyl) plant to starve.
After Audrey accepts Seymour's marriage proposal, Audrey II catches Seymour leaving and demands another meal: Seymour agrees, but insists on meat from a butcher. While Seymour is gone, the plant telephones Audrey, coaxes her into the shop, and then tries to eat her "Suppertime II". Seymour, returning in time to save Audrey, escapes the store with her.
Explaining that he fed the plant to become successful and win Audrey's heart, Seymour discovers she has always loved him "Suddenly, Seymour" reprise.
Approached by an executive named Patrick Martin from a botanical company, Seymour is offered a contract to breed Audrey II and sell the saplings worldwide. Horrified by the idea, Seymour drives Martin away and realizes he must destroy Audrey II for the sake of humanity.
Audrey II traps Seymour and destroys the shop, but he grabs an exposed electrical cable and electrocutes it, resulting in an explosion. Leaving the destroyed shop, Seymour safely reunites with Audrey. The two wed and move to the suburbs.
As they arrive at their new home, which is the one seen in Audrey's dreams, a smiling Audrey II bud can be seen among the flowers in their front yard. During production, director Oz shot a minute ending based on the off-Broadway musical's ending.
However, after audiences at the preview screenings did not react positively to it, the ending had to be rewritten and re-shot for the theatrical release with a happier ending. In the cut ending, the plant attacks Audrey, in the process revealing to her that it also ate Orin and Mr. Seymour comes and pulls her from its jaws but is too late to save her, as she is mortally wounded. As she is dying she tells him what the plant said about Orin and Mushnik, and then Seymour confesses that he fed them to the plant.
Audrey requests that Seymour feed her to the plant too so that Seymour can earn the success he deserves Mean That's Green" reprise. After fulfilling her dying wish, he attempts suicide by jumping off the roof of a building, only to be stopped by Patrick Martin.
Martin offers to reproduce and sell Audrey IIs and has already grown a smaller Audrey II from one of the cuttings that Green Mother From Outer Space - Mallory Graham - Just For Fun (Vinyl) harvested earlier. He also warns Seymour that his consent is not necessary, as plants are considered to be in the public domain. Realizing Audrey II is planning global domination, Seymour climbs down from the roof with the resolution to destroy the plant.
Returning to the shop, he confronts and tries to kill Audrey II, who tears down the shop, fishes him from the rubble and eats him alive. The three chorus girls appear in front of a large American flag and tell how although Audrey II buds became a worldwide consumer craze, the buds grew into an army of monstrous plants who began to take over the Earth.
David Geffen was one of the original producers of the off-Broadway show and he began planning to produce a feature film adaptation. Originally Steven Spielberg was to executive produce the film and Martin Scorsese was to direct, Scorsese wanting to shoot the film in 3D even, but production was stalled when a lawsuit was filed by the original film's screenwriter and actor, Charles B. Oz initially rejected it, but he later had an idea that got him into the cinematic aspect of the project, which he did not figure out before.
Oz spent a month and a half to restructure the script which he felt was stage-bound. Geffen and Ashman liked what he had written and decided to go with what he did. Oz was also studying the Off-Broadway show and how it was thematically constructed, all in order to reconstruct it for a feature film.
The film differs only slightly from the stage play. The title song is expanded to include an additional verse to allow for more opening credits. Greene was not the first choice for the role of Audrey. The studio wanted Cyndi Lauperwho turned it down. Barbra Streisand was also rumored to have been offered the part. Since Greene was the original off-Broadway Audrey, the role was given to her.
She nailed that part for years off-Broadway. It supposedly took Steve Martin six weeks to film all his scenes as Orin. He contributed ideas such as socking the nurse in the face originally he was to knock her out using his motorbike helmet and ripping off the doll head. All the scenes were filmed at Pinewood Studios in England, making use of every sound stage there, including the Stage.
Oz and his crew did not want to shoot on location as it would tamper with the fantastical mood of the film. Part of the giant stage was used to film the 'Suddenly Seymour' number.
But because of its size, the stage was impractical to heat properly and thus caused breath condensation to appear from the actor's lips. This was countered by having Ellen Greene and Rick Moranis put ice cubes in their mouths. This would be the first time Moranis and Martin starred in a film together, and they would later appear together in three more films: ParenthoodMy Blue Heaven and L. As mentioned, additional sequences and songs from the original off-Broadway show were dropped or re-written in order for the feature version to be paced well.
The notable change was for the "Meek Shall Inherit" sequence. As originally filmed, it detailed through a dream sequence Seymour's rising success and the need to keep the plant fed and impress Audrey. In the final cut, the dream sequence and much of the song is cut out. Oz said, Green Mother From Outer Space - Mallory Graham - Just For Fun (Vinyl), "I cut that because I felt it just didn't work and that was before the first preview in San Jose. It was the right choice, it didn't really add value to the entire cut.
The sequence was deemed to be lost until in when it was rediscovered on a VHS workprint that contained alternate and extended takes and sequences. While developing the mouth of the plant for the dialogue scenes and musical numbers, Oz, Conway and his crew struggled to figure out how to make the plant move convincingly. When the film ran backwards or forward at a faster than normal speed, the footage looked more convincing and lifelike. They realized they could film the puppet at a slower speed, making it appear to move faster when played back at normal speed.
We then went 'holy cow, look at that. We can do it. Levi Stubbs' recordings were filtered through a harmonizer when slowed down so that they were coherent for Moranis or Ellen Greene. There are Mean blue screens or opticals involved in any of Audrey II's scenes, with the exception of the reshot ending where the plant is electrocuted, designed by Visual Effects supervisor Bran Ferren, and in some shots during the rampage in the original ending.
The plant was made in six different stages of growth and there were three different versions of Mushnik's shop, making it possible for two units to work with different sized plants at the same time.
Each of the talking plants had to be cleaned, re-painted and patched up at the end of each shooting day, which would take up to three hours depending on the size. The "Suppertime" number uses two different sizes of Audrey II.
When the plant is singing all alone in the shop, it is actually a smaller size: the same size as when it sang "Feed Me", but now standing on a scaled down set to make it look larger.
The full size one that is seen to interact with Seymour and Mushnik was not provided with lip movement, but was built to swallow Mushnik's mechanical legs. During Audrey II's final stage of growth, around 60 puppeteers were necessary to operate the one-ton puppet.
Oz and Ashman wanted to retain the ending of the musical where Seymour and Audrey die and the plant succeeds and takes over the city of New York, but Geffen was actually against it.
The model department was supervised by Richard Conway, known for his model work on Flash Gordon and Brazil. He created the bridge, the buildings, several Audrey IIs and created all of it, all on tabletop. It's all old-fashioned, tabletop animation"  [although no stop motion animation was used in the film or in the ending].
Oz said, "For every musical number, there was applause, they loved it, it was just fantastic You wanna save your hide? You wanna see tomorrow? You better step aside Better take a tip, boy Want some good advice? You better take it easy, 'Cause you're walkin' on thin ice Ya don't know what you're dealin' with No, you never did Ya don't know what you're lookin' at, But that's tough titty, kid!
The lion don't sleep tonight, And if you pull his tail, he roars Ya say, "That ain't fair? I'm just a mean green mother from outer space and I'm bad. I'm just a mean green mother, a real disgrace, And you've got me fightin' mad I'm just a mean green mother from outer space, Gonna trash your ass, Gonna rock this place, 'Cause I'm mean and green and I am bad Don't you talk to me about old King Kong You think he's the worst, well, you're thinkin' wrong Don't talk to me about Frankenstein He got a temper, ha!
He ain't got mine You know I don't come from no black lagoon I'm from past the stars and beyond the moon You can keep The Thing, keep The It, keep The Creature, they don't mean shit I got one style, major moves I got the stuff and I think that proves You better move it out Nature calls You got the point?
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