Within the past couple years I finally saw the original ending of Little Shop of Horrors directed by Frank Oz. This movie made a big impact on the culture when it came out. It wasn't super important to me personally, so it was years after the release of the dvd with the original ending that I heard about it. Actually I think I just saw the dvd with the new/original ending and found out that way.
It's got some fantastic footage of giant plants running amok and destroying the planet - I believe this was the ending for the play or so I've heard, but it was deemed a depressing ending by either test audiences, producers or film execs. So a new ending was filmed which is the only one I ever knew until recently.
It was nice to have the work out there to be appreciated at last, after decades. The puppets and miniatures are pretty spectacular for those of us who enjoy these things. Personally I prefer the original ending. I'm not sure if it's because I saw it that way first, or if it's because it's a less despressing/downer sort of thing.
There are many famous/infamous cases of alternate endings in movies.
A big one, still debated by fans, is the Army of Darkness ending, which was reshot to be more ‘up’. The creators still prefer the bleaker original ending. It's always creators/artists who like these bleaker endings. Either because of theories about what the slobbering masses will prefer, or because actual test screenings TELL them that's what people prefer.
I guess I'm a slobbering mass, because personally I almost always like a more positive ending.
Besides Little Shop and Army of Darkness, here are some interesting ones I know of:
The scifi The Butterfly Effect had 4(!) different endings. The creators like the bleak one from the original script. Then there are three variations on the more optimistic ending. Interesting to see!
The Descent had a bleaker, more likely ending. The reshot theatrical version wasn't exactly positive, but had some relief and cartharsis to it.
Clerks, the indie comedy made one big change when it was picked up for distribution: the original ending where the main character is shot was cut out, allowing Dante to return for multiple future movies.
Friday the 13th Part 3 ends on a shot of the disembodied head of Mrs. Voorhees. In the original ending, the eyes open and she smiles, or winks, or something. I don't think this footage has ever been released; the filmmakers thought it looked silly and cut it.
Agatha Christie's novel And Then There Were None has a diabolical, sinister ending. The various versions of the play change the ending completely, to be more doable in that medium I guess. Similarly, the multiple movie versions use something like the play's ending - except the Russian version, my research tells me. I have that dvd, and it's faithful to the book, and I prefer that darker ending.
Maybe the way people experience movies is just different? The creators of Little Shop believe that the original ending (from the Little Shop play) didn't work in the movie because in a play, the actors come out and bow after the show, which helps audiences not be depressed. Maybe that's it, I don't know. That doesn't really make sense to me.
Anyway, enough of me for now; let's end this!
See you next time
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Banes at 12:00AM, Nov. 3, 2022
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