Bringing Horror back to Little Shop
VFXW: Where was it hiding?
KG: Oh, it was in the trims and it was mislabeled and we just kept opening all the boxes again. I was telling the gang “look – it’s not where it’s supposed to be, but supposedly they didn’t throw anything out, so we have to just look everywhere.” So we went methodically, frame by frame, in every roll, in every box, in every can and we did find it. The idea to for me anyway was to present it to Frank and David (Geffen, Producer) and see if they liked it and were happy with it, and could we then say it’s final.
VFXW: At what point in the process did you show the ending to Frank?
KG: We’d scanned all the original negatives and all the opticals and then we started working on the visual effects that weren’t finished. There was a guy running up his fire escape with a shot of the two monsters in the background going by laughing while he panics. Well, that whole fire escape was kind-of transparent so we had to finish that off and things like that. We did all that and then presented it to Frank in a way that was complete, but everything was in data form so at that point if he wanted to make changes, we still could.
VFXW: These places where pieces of the film turned up in the UK and Kansas – they were all WB facilities?
KG: Yes, here in our vaults. Then in Kansas, there’s a vault that many studios store in, so we have our own vault in the facility there and we have vaults in another facility in the UK, so we searched through all three locations and picked up what we could from each place. And it wasn’t just the picture: it was also sound. We had to find the original recordings. It wasn’t too bad but we had some damage in the tracks that we were able to repair.
VFXW: I heard you had some issues with one of Ellen Greene’s recordings…
KG: It’s the one where she’s dying…
VFXW: In the alley?
KG: Yes. Her track had this distortion in it, and I don’t know if you know what sideband radio used to be – I’m dating myself – but her voice sounded like it had this additional distortion in it, like a radio that was changing frequency. It was like “what the heck is that?” Our sound department did a great job with filtering that out and bringing her voice back in, nice and clean.
VFXW: People have noticed that the rampaging Audrey IIs don’t sound like the late Levi Stubbs. Was it ever an option to use old audio that was recorded during the course of the film so they could all sound like him?
KG: Well, actually, we did! We had that whole ending, the people screaming in the streets, the old couple in bed, the people in the disco, but we had none of those audio tracks, so we created them all. But when it comes to Stubbs and his voice, I made sure when we had multiple monsters running through the streets that they didn’t all sound alike. They’re all separate monsters. So in some shots we used his laughter from other parts of the film, and then we added additional ones because again, there were multiple monsters.