Little Shop of Horrors  (1986)

Octoblur 2014 - #15: Little Shop of Horrors (1986)

 
By dorrk, October 13th 2014

Based on Roger Corman's low-budget 1960 black comedy of the same name, this movie version of the off-Broadway musical adaptation may not feel like "horror" to fans of the genre, but it nevertheless elicited several fearful shrieks from my 5-year-old daughter. It's gruesome fun from beginning to end and, as a fan of musicals as well as horror movies, I would, without reservation, place Little Shop of Horrors alongside West Side StorySingin' in the Rain and The Sound of Music as one of the best movies musicals ever produced.

Skid Row florist Seymour (Rick Moranis) discovers a weird, new plant that will make him rich and famous —as long as he can meet its unusual dietary needs.

I actually owned Corman's original black & white movie on VHS prior to the production of the musical, and even with its hissing audio track and clunky creature effects, it still holds a place in my heart as one of the first movies of its kind that made an impact on me. The musical version, however, is a masterpiece, with a terrific musical score by Alan Menken and Howard Ashman, who would later team up for Disney's two best musicals, The Little Mermaid and Beauty and the Beast. I'm neither a fan of overly broad, stagey comedy nor of doo-wop music, but with pitch perfect direction from Frank Oz, it comes together beautifully.

Ellen Greene's performance as Seymour's crush Audrey is simply breathtaking, and a supporting cast full of notable cameos is well-used throughout, but the real star of the movie is the Jim Henson Company's amazing puppetry, which has created here one of the most remarkable of all movie monsters, perfectly voiced by Levi Stubbs from the Four Tops.

I can't say much more than I love this movie, and it seems to get better with every viewing.

We watched the theatrical cut, and then I showed my three kids the "director's cut" ending with the incredible "Don't Feed the Plants" sequence. For pure entertainment, I prefer the theatrical release ending, but it's great to have that alternate ending finally available, and it's a pretty amazing spectacle which I enjoy greatly.

Trailer for Little Shop of Horrors (1986)

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