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Originally published at BENWHOSKI.COM. You can comment here or there.

Don't Feed the Plants

The 1986 Frank Oz film based on the “Little Shop of Horrors” musical was always one of my favorite movies. I’m not sure what it says about me that when I was seven years old, my favorite movie was a dark comedy muscial. It probably says something. Probably that I was just an awesome little kid.

Although I generally have not been including things that could be considered “fan art” in this gallery, I am making an exception for this one. A few years ago, I finally watched the lost, original ending to the film via YouTube. It’s essentially the “everyone dies, plants take over the world” ending from the musical, but with an extremely impressive (even by current standards, in my opinion) 4 million dollar finale in which giant plants rampage through New York City. It was cut from the film because it made test audiences sad, and the corny Hollywood happy-ever-after ending was added in. The black and white, unfinished original ending was added as bonus material on the first DVD release of the movie, but was quickly recalled due to copyright issues. There were rumors that a full-color and polished version, but that seems unlikely as the color reel was destroyed in a fire. There are still rumors that David Geffen still has a copy and wants to re-release it in theaters with the original ending, but they remain just rumors.

When I first saw the original ending, I really wanted to do a drawing of Audrey II on top of the Statue of Liberty as my own little tribute to the original ending. That idea got pushed to the back burner for a few reasons, not the least of which was not feeling confident that I had the skills to pull off the effect I wanted. I was recently poking through my “favorites” over at YouTube and ran across the epic-even-though-unfinished finale sequence, and was re-inspired. I wrestled a bit with whether to leave it black and white/greyscale or go with full color. In the end, I decided to stick with greyscale, as I tend to do with my ink drawings. I tried to make Audrey II stand out from both the background and the statue, but am still a little torn about whether I think the different shading styles worked or not. Only time will tell. The important thing is that it was fun and helped me through a little bit of the art funk I’ve been experiencing.

If you’ve not seen the original ending, I highly recommend checking it out. Even if you don’t want to see the scenes where Audrey and Seymore get eaten, you should check out the epilogue/finale sequence. Here is the original, black and white version as it was released on the recalled special edition DVD. I also ran across an enhanced “reconstructed” version someone put together, which makes some of the scenes easier to see, added sound effects, used the studio CD recording of the song “Don’t Feed the Plants”, and added some colorized effects and such. It was pretty neat to watch too.

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benwhoski

September 2010

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