Little Shop of Horrors



Comic book creepiness, jazzy tunes, and fab cast.
Popular with kidsParents recommend
  • Review Date: June 1, 2004
  • Rated: PG-13
  • Genre: Musical
  • Release Year: 1986
  • Running Time: 94 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Seymour wants to save Audrey from her abusive boyfriend -- an honorable idea, though the means to the end are not.

Positive role models

Audrey is in a abusive relationship, Seymour is timid and easily pushed around and Audrey II (the hungry plant) is aggresive and pushy. Not much good here.


The man-eating plant demands to be fed. It gets gory from there on. Also, the sadistic dentist is pretty scary.


Audrey wears very provocative clothes and refers to kinky antics.


Man-eating plant has dirty vocabulary.

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

The dentist abuses laughing gas in a very creepy way.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this musical has dark themes and is not for children or very sensitive viewers. It's campy noir not meant to be taken seriously, but the dark comedic plot involves a sinister dentist who tortures his patients, and a flesh-eating plant that devours human parts in a graphic feeding scene. Some of the serious issues, like abusive relationships and ultimately murder, twitch under the plot's campy mechanics.

What's the story?

LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS is a little twisted, through and through, which makes for a creepy, and very entertaining, musical. It is set on "Skid Row," a dreary and depressed section of "Downtown," where on a grubby corner sits a little flower shop owned by Mr. Mushnik. He is assisted by a buxom blonde named Audrey and his tenant, Seymour, who seems to do everything wrong. One day, an unexpected solar eclipse catches the residents of the city unaware. Shortly thereafter, Seymour finds a fascinating plant on his shopping route that he adopts. Business is bad for Mr. Mushnik's flower stand -- he is about to close shop when Seymour suggests that his strange plant be placed in the window to attract customers. Sure enough, customers begin to pour in, and Seymour is left with a conundrum: just how will he feed his new plant when it begins to demand more than meager drops of his blood? Enter the demented dentist (played to the hilt by Steve Martin) and throw in the fact that the dentist treats Audrey like trash, and the stage is set for "foul play."

Is it any good?


No it's not for the faint of heart, but LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS is a classic. With Frank Oz of SESAME STREET and THE MUPPET MOVIES at the helm, the premise of a man-eating plant charming its way to stardom isn't too hard to imagine. The plot is campy sci-fi at its best, which works well with the do-wop soundtrack. The music is very good -- with Levi Stubbs of The Four Tops doing the plant's voice -- and the solos by Rick Moranis and Ellen Greene hit unexpected emotional notes. Cameos from Bill Murray, John Candy, Jim Belushi and Christopher Guest increase the star power of this talented ensemble.

Though it's thoroughly entertaining, there are some scary scenes in THE LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS that may not be appropriate for some viewers. All those misgivings about going to the dentist are played upon like a raw nerve. Some viewers might want to fast forward through the dentist scenes altogether -- which is why discerning parents should preview this DVD for themselves. Other viewers may not be fazed at all, but be warned nonetheless.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about abuse and bullying in relationships. Why is Audrey dating such a creep? Is Seymour right to want to off the dentist?

  • What could have happened to Audre if she had not been "saved" by Seymour? How does her treatment in the movie make you feel?

  • Music and the role it plays in the movie. What do you think this would have been like on Broadway, as it originally was?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:December 19, 1986
DVD release date:December 19, 2000
Cast:Ellen Greene, Rick Moranis, Steve Martin
Director:Frank Oz
Studio:Warner Bros.
Run time:94 minutes
MPAA rating:PG-13
MPAA explanation:language, mature themes and violence

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Learning ratings

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  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
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  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Teen, 15 years old Written byTacoWiz July 11, 2011

The play is better for kids, adults, and all audiences.

The original play was a brilliant tragicomedy (tragedy mixed with comedy). The movie follows the play rather closely, except with two major differences. 1. The movie tries to make the protagonist, Seymour Krelborne, look more sympathetic than in the play. 2. The movie has a standard Hollywood happy ending, while the play ended with Seymour getting his just desserts. The play, while creepy, was also brilliant. I'm a HUGE fan of the play. It made me laugh, cry, and shake in my seat, all in just 80 minutes plus intermission. The movie does not do the play justice. It takes the play, which was basically Faust set in an old B-movie, and warps it to the point where the entire message has been diluted into nothing. Thanks, Hollywood. A more depressing ending was filmed and shown to test audiences. The test audiences cried during it, so it was removed. Well, OF COURSE! That's the charm of the play! Not only do you laugh, but you ALSO cry! That's why it's so brilliant!
What other families should know
Too much violence
Adult Written byhomealonefan123 August 2, 2014

Brilliantly acted, great music, lots of laughs, a 5 star musical!

Parents need to know that this is one of the best movies ever made, but it is not for young children or people who are scared easily. Although the movie has many funny comedic moments, there are also scenes that may frighten them, including the dentist scenes and the final scenes with Audrey II. The violence is very mild and comical, but a few people are eaten by the plant, which no blood is ever shown, and the first feeding scene may be a bit disturbing, but it is comical. There is a bit of swearing in the movie, (a couple uses of sh-t, and a few uses of damn and hell here and there). There is a tiny bit of sexual innuendo, and the dentist uses laughing gas in a somewhat creepy way. But not much of the creepiness is meant to be taken seriously because it is pretty much a comedy, the movie is very funny, it has fantastic acting, it has a great story, and the music is spectacular! It is best to wait until your kids are maybe 10 if they can handle some of the content.
Teen, 16 years old Written byhamstergurl09 November 26, 2010

Words Can't Describe My Love For This Movie

I am in love with this movie. I love the play, too. A friend of mine and I are directing our own version of the play in which I am the voice of Audrey II, which is the evil plant. I can't wait! Anyway, This movie is creepy, but totally hilarious. Creepy humor is my sort of thing. It might be too scary for little kids, particularly the plant, but I know when I was watching it for the first time at age 8 I just thought the plant was funny. All the people I know love it. I say give it a try, you'll probably love it.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much swearing


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