Let me start off this review with a confession: I love musicals. It is my preferred genre. I always enjoy a good musical. Throughout my life, I have been exposed to films of the genre. But this review will focus on the film that made me become invested in film musicals: Little Shop of Horrors. Released in December of 1986 and directed by Muppet performer Frank Oz, like most musical films, it is an adaptation of the hit stage production of the same name. But will this film be as beloved as when I first watched it, or will it end up on the pile of B-Movie shlock left behind by the 80's? Let's find out.
Being an adaptation of a stage musical, the overall plot remains the same. A nerdy florist, named Seymour Krelborn, is working at a failing florist shop when he discovers a weird plant. Soon, the plant begins to bring in customer to the shop. But that night, Seymour discovers the plant has an insatiable appetite for blood. Will he continue giving his blood for a chance of success or will he become victim of the devil's tricks? What I like about the story is that the plot invokes a sort of Faust relationship as the film progresses. The pacing of the film is just right for this kind of story. In addition, this film, as well as it's stage counterpart, is a love letter to the B-movie sci-fi and horror films of the 50s and 60s, which works well to its advantage. (Score 5/5)
One of the biggest aspects of the film is the characters. In terms of casting, they've did pretty good job in that department. The actors fit perfectly with the characters. We have the timid protagonist, Seymour Krelborn (played by Rick Moranis), the bubbly airhead, Audrey (played by Ellen Greene, reprising her stage role) the greedy store owner Mushnik (played by Vincent Gardinia) and a demented, pain-loving dentist Orin Scrivello (played by Steve Martin). Moranis as Seymour is just a brilliant pick. He's always been known for nerdy characters, and this role just fits like a puzzle piece. Ellen Greene is just amazing as Audrey. Wait until you hear her belt later in the film. If there is one casting choice I didn't get, it's Levi Stubbs as the voice of the plant (halfway through the film). He was never acted before Little Shop. And his performance shows it. Although I have to admit that his blues-like singing voice does fit the plant. The acting is just brilliant. Not perfect mind you, but, it's likable. (Score 4/5)
Of course, you can't have a musical adaptation without some of the songs from the stage production. Composed by Alan Menken and Howard Ashman (later famous for writing songs for Disney's Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, and half of Aladdin), the film's songlist is comprised of returning songs and new compositions. You've got the showstoppers like "Skid Row (Downtown)" and "Suddenly Seymour," as wells as the original song, "Mean Green Mother from Outer Space." The songs are the absolute best part of the film. There are more times when watching this film when I found myself singing along to the characters. They are well-written and well sung. They are so good that I even have the soundtrack downloaded on my iPod. (Score 5/5)
Little Shop of Horrors is one of those cult classics that ends up being one of the finest films ever made. As you can tell, I love this movie with all my heart. It is my all-time favorite film. I fully recommend this movie to those who want to experience a great musical movie. I do hope you enjoy this film as much as I did in my first viewing. (FINAL SCORE: 5 OUT OF 5)