Back in the early days of the format, 1998 specifically, studios were just starting to discover that consumers really liked the extra stuff that could be put on to the shiny round discs and began rummaging around their vaults and closets to see what they had that could be used to add some value to, and raise the price a bit of, a DVD.Unfortunately, every now and again that approach would backfire on them.
For their DVD release of director Frank Oz’s 1986 screen adaptation of the musical Little Shop Of Horrors, Warner Brothers decided to include the film’s original ending as a bonus.
Filmed at an expense of around $5 million, the approximately 23 minute, original ending to Little Shop Of Horrors faithfully translates and then expands upon the stage version’s finale. I won’t spoil how things play out, you can see that after the jump below, but after watching it, you can understand how the test audiences may have responded negatively to such a dark finale. Some quick rewrites and reshoots later and the film had the happier ending with which we’re familiar.
Unfortunately, when the film’s producer, David Geffen, saw that Warners had only a grainy-looking, black and white work print of the finale, lacking some finished effects, postproduction sound and other tweaks, he blew his stack. Warners responded by quickly recalling the discs off shelves. Promises were made that a better, more complete and in color version would eventually be added to a new release, but so far it has yet to materialize. A search of studio materials in 2007 revealed that Warner Brothers’ copy of the ending was lost in a fire in 2002. While Geffen claims to have a copy of the finale, it has yet to be released.
In the meantime, we have relief for those of you who want to see the original ending, but don’t have the $150 to pickup a copy of the quickly recalled Little Shop DVD off eBay. The workprint version has been posted on YouTube, and we bring it to you in three parts right after the break. Personally, I like it. It is big, epic and bold. And I can also see how most people would be ticked off by it, which I think is another reason why I like it.