The amazing imagery of Little Shop of Horrors is enough to make an indelible impression in our brains. Though it never becomes complacent in knowing this.
Rick Moranis plays a nerdy florist who discovers an evil giant talking plant who helps him get the fame he’s always wanted and may lead to his ticket out of the sleazy part of town. He’s also in love with a woman named Audrey (Ellen Greene), who he thinks is out of his league.
The depth of the film runs much deeper than you’d think. The themes are thought-provoking. Mainly, the one regarding Audrey being physically abused by her boyfriend. Greene is able to showcase the severity of her issue while still bringing humor and sincere levity to the production. In fact, Audrey is perhaps the real main character of the film. She’s the one who’s mind we see inside of the most.
Her lament song, “Somewhere That’s Green,” is one of the highlights. A lot of times in musicals, the lament is boring and becomes drawn out, but here, it’s accompanied by some of the best imagery in the film.
Although we really go deep inside Audrey’s psyche, Moranis’ character doesn’t quite get the same treatment. He’s also a victim being taken advantage of, but most of this depth comes from parallels drawn from Audrey’s situation. He’s the main character, but we’re left merely assuming his dreams and wishes, which leave his motivation to keep the plant seem a little too bland.
On top of it all, the plant is slowly and obviously ruining his life and becoming a danger to the world, so are his reasons even all that justifiable at all?
In 1986, the movie freshly satirizes the utopian ’60s lifestyle. And if you’re watching it nowadays, you don’t have to be an old soul to get the humor–it’s not that hard.
Unlike Grease, which never really lets us know whether it’s taking itself too seriously or not, Little Shop of Horrors is obviously meant to be goofy. And even when it’s not, the humor never feels out of place. It’s all able to fit together cohesively–much due to the talent of the comedy veterans in the cast.
Amongst all the chaos, there are some brief, but noteworthy guest appearances by John Candy, Bill Murray, and Steve Martin. The cameos don’t feel self-indulgent. Even if they may be, no one minds.
Little Shop of Horrors is a cool premise for an invasion movie, but the credit truly goes to the the writers of the original 1960 film of the same name–though that one isn’t a musical.
The music adds so much to it. Alan Menken, known for a bunch of ’90s Disney songs, provides the tunes for this musical.
The dialogue in the film is so unique, filled with some great lines that were really ahead of their time, helping to prevent the film from becoming dated. Watching it now, I imagine it being just as fun back then.
In theaters, I also viewed the original “intended” ending, which is interesting, though made me like the movie a lot less. It’s much more macabre and a lot more jarring to the established tone of the film. If you’ve never seen Little Shop of Horrors before, I suggest watching the theatrical version–NOT the intended ending. But it all depends on what you want to get out of the experience.