Little Shop's Secret Ending
If you've seen Little Shop of Horrors before, then you know how it ends, or do you? There are two versions of this film, both released by accident, and both remain in circulation today. Do you remember Audrey Two eating the world, or did Seymour defeat the man-eating plant?
When Audrey Two conquered the world, test audiences reacted poorly. They even argued with the director, Frank Oz, that going to the movies is supposed to be a happy experience. Frank was rather annoyed by this, but he couldn’t afford to lose money on the project. The large special effects budget is used heavily in the ending. Cutting it out destroys hundreds of hours of design, puppeteering, and musical numbers. It should be noted that these cut effects made Little Shop of Horrors the most expensive movie Warner Brothers Studios had produced at the time. This change also destroyed the themes of guilt and its plot references to Macbeth. While it made the test audience happy, it did not preserve the plot or special effects that the movie is now known for. Begrudgingly, he changed the film to a happy ending, known as the theatrical release.
When the film made it to the box office, Oz noticed that the reviews seemed to clash with how the film ended, but both received positive reviews. Unsure how to fix the issue and happy his cut, the director's cut, made it to some theaters, he decided to stay quiet.
For years, both circulated, and when arguments broke out about the ending, fans simply watched whatever film they had access to, unaware there were two versions, and both fan groups were right. Most people remain unaware of there being two endings, especially if they've been watching it since its release. The unhappy ending was intentionally for sale on DVD in 1998 before being recalled for a formal theatrical re-release that never happened. When the film made it to Blu-ray in 2012, the Director’s cut was finally intentionally and officially included for good. Today the unhappy ending is more prevalent in circulation, but you never know who has seen what!
This phenomenon isn’t technically a Mandela effect, as there is a good chance audience members stumbled upon both endings! This isn’t a movie you misremembered the ending; it's a movie you re-experienced the ending!
When you head out to watch Little Shop of Horrors at the Student Life Center’s midnight showing on March 24th, take a second to ask your neighbor what ending they remember. This rewatch may be a whole new experience for you! The Student Life Center will be playing the film's intended end, the director's cut.
Writer: Alyssa Giaccone
Artist: Alyssa Giaccone