Little Shop of Horrors (1986)
little shop of horrors | frank oz | howard ashman | rick moranis | ellen greene | vincent gardenia | remake | alien | comedy | musical | romance | sci-fi | sci fi | united states | steve martin | tisha campbell-martin | jim belushi | john candy | bill murray
Film: Little Shop of Horrors
Director: Frank Oz
Writer: Howard Ashman
Starring: Rick Moranis, Ellen Greene and Vincent Gardenia
This film was one that I used to watch all the time when I was growing up. It always seemed to be on one of the movie channels. Something funny is one of the famous songs from this film was sang at karaoke once while I was there and I was one of the few that knew what it was from. To get into this, the official synopsis is a nerdy florist finds his chance for success and romance with the help of a giant man-eating plant who demands to be fed.
To lead off, this film is actually a remake of the original that was from Roger Corman. His film was made into a musical play and this film is actually more based off of that. I do think that this film is pretty well done and the songs are pretty catchy. What I really like about this film is that Seymour Krelborn (Rick Moranis) is a loser. He has no self-confidence and he is an orphan. He lives in the basement of the place that he works. Mushnik (Vincent Gardenia) owns the flower shop and he is actually the person who saved him from the orphanage.
Seymour has a crush on Audrey (Ellen Greene) who also has low self-esteem. Hers in that she has abandonment issues from childhood and she doesn’t think she deserves any better. This is why she is with her abusive boyfriend, Orin Scrivello D.D.S. (Steve Martin). He is into inflicting pain, which is why he became a dentist. Audrey is called out for staying with him and she feels she deserves it. I find this interesting that he film came out in 1986 and this is something that is very relevant today, domestic violence and victims feeling like they deserve what they get.
Things turn around though when during a solar eclipse, Seymour finds a strange new plant and puts it in the window of the flower shop. I like this origin story for it. It also is at this point in the film that the shop starts to bring in a lot of customers to see the plant and they buy things while they are there. We get a commentary here on commercialism. There are a lot of places that will put interesting things in the window to draw customers in to see what is inside. On top of that, the success happens so fast that Seymour gets wrapped up in it. His low self-esteem doesn’t help and neither does Mushnik still being mean to him constantly. Audrey starts to show interest in Seymour and he thinks it is because of the plant, Audrey II. We know that she doesn’t think she deserves a guy like him though really.
There is something that I felt needs to be pointed out, Seymour is kind of a horrible human being. Orin shouldn’t be beating on Audrey, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that he should murder him. For those that have already seen the film, we know what really happens here, but Audrey II does need meat. When Seymour is threatened with exposure, he has to some more covering up, which results in murder.
This film is pretty fun. I think that it is paced pretty well. The songs come at different internals to keep the pace of the film going. Things do happen pretty rapidly, but I don’t mind it. It fits even more in the fast paced society that we live in today and people getting their five minutes of fame. I do like how the film ends up, even though it definitely is clinched.
The acting of the film is really good in my opinion as well. Levi Stubbs does the voice of Audrey II and he kills it. He brings such energy to this character. When I think of it, I definitely think of Stubbs. Moranis is perfect for the role of Seymour. There is tameness to the role, despite what he ends up doing to keep Audrey II alive. Greene has such an annoying voice, but her singing was amazing. Gardenia and Martin were both good in their roles. I also have to shout-out the cameos made by Tisha Campbell-Martin, Jim Belushi, John Candy and Bill Murray. They were all fun in their own ways.
Effects for this film were done practically. It is a good thing that Frank Oz was the director of this film, since his work with The Muppets brings Audrey II to life. Being a musical you can suspend disbelief a little more than other type films, because you are going to see dream-like things during these numbers and I think that helps this film. I do love the vivid colors used for the plant as well. There really isn’t any blood, but it didn’t need it.
The score of the film is something that also needs to be address. It is one of the best parts. I’m not really into musicals, but the ones I like, I really enjoy. This one falls into this. The main theme, the Suddenly Seymour and the song that Audrey II sings during the climax are my favorites from this film. They are just fun and catchy. I think overall this film has a solid soundtrack to it.
Now with that, this film is definitely fun. I think the idea of a solar eclipse happening and this plant being found is fun. It is interesting how things get out of hand and the social commentary of this film is still relevant today. The film is definitely paced well and even though the ending is clinched, it is fitting for this film. The acting is really good in my opinion along with the effects that were used and the soundtrack itself. Now I don’t think this film is for everyone. It is light on the horror and you have to be ready for a musical. If this film sounds interesting give it a viewing. I personally think that it is good.
My Rating: 8 out of 10