Category Archives: Monstrous Specials

Special: The Plant Conquered the World


In the theatrical cut of Frank Oz’s Little Shop of Horrors, Audrey II is electrocuted; the electricity triggers a reaction that makes the plant explode. At the very end of the film, with Seymour and Audrey married, the camera zooms on their garden — revealing a little smiling plant. The original ending of the film reflects that of the musical — and ends the story in a considerably bleak note. Conway said: “this ending was to be the cinematic equivalent of the stage ending; a total catastrophe in which the plant basically takes over the world. Mike Ploog did great storyboards for the sequence that were reminiscent of early-sixties horror movies, which I love.” After Seymour saves Audrey from the plant’s jaws, she reveals her love for him — but in a death wish she tells her lover to feed her to Audrey II, fulfilling her wish to be “somewhere that’s green.” Wishing Seymour the success he deserves, she dies in his arms. Seymour then brings her corpse to the plant — in a scene that Oz compared to “a ritual sacrifice” — and does what he was told. He even tries to touch Audrey’s hand as she descends in the plant’s maw but fails to do so; the scene is too much to stand for him, and he quickly evades the shop. He climbs a ladder to reach the top of a nearby building — attempting to suicide. As he is about to jump, he is stopped by Patrick Martin, who shows him a newborn Audrey II, obtained from harvested clippings of the original plant.

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Special: Why was the Pilot fired from ‘The Thing’?

The Pilot animatronic on set.

As Kate Lloyd enters the ancient spaceship — in the climax of Matthijs van Heijningen’s The Thing — she discovers a luminous, shapeshifting tower. Hologram pieces continuously assemble and disassemble, moving geometrically. It is here that she is attacked by the assimilated Sander, who has taken the form of a distorted creature. The final cut of the film indeed was a distortion of the director’s original idea surrounding what was hidden in the ancient spacecraft.

Amalgamated Dynamics was tasked with designing and constructing all of the Thing’s gruesome transformations, as well as additional alien creatures. Several full-sized models were built, ranging from rod puppets to suits. Due to a studio interference, it was decided late in production to replace most of the practical work with digitally-rendered effects, as the film “felt too 80s.” An exception is represented by a creature, labeled by the filmmakers as ‘the Pilot’.


In the final film, said Pilot was replaced by the hologram tower (labeled as “the Tetris version” by the film’s own director). As a result, the Thing manifests itself in the form of a mutated Sander; the Sander-Thing was designed in a fairly quick time period, brought on the screen directly as a digital effect. “We created the Sander-Thing the last minute,” the director said, “and it shows, unfortunately.” The replacement was established after test screenings, and as such the Pilot-Thing can be still briefly seen in the film — hidden by the shadows and camouflaged among the machinery. This is in all probability unintentional, and the question comes up:

Why was the Pilot Creature fired from The Thing?

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