MOVIE REVIEW | Little Shop of Horrors (1986)


I still don’t know why it’s taken me so long to finally watch all of this movie.  When I was a little kid, the names Rick Moranis, John Candy, Steve Martin and Bill Murray were all individually enough to make me excited about a movie.  So the idea of them all together is a mind blower.  After discovering This is Spinal Tap as a teenager, I gave Little Shop of Horrors another go because I heard Christopher Guest had a cameo in it.  I watched his 30 seconds and turned it off.  Now that I have finally finished what I started more than quarter of a century ago, I’ll be buggered if I can figure out why I never made it all the way through before.

Rick Moranis is Seymour, he lives in Skid Row and works for a man named Mushnik in a flower shop, and with the girl of his dreams, Audrey, played by Ellen Green.  Mushnik’s flower shop is about to go bust, so Moranis suggests putting an exotic plant in the front window to draw interest.  It works and soon business is booming.  The plant, named Aurdey II by Moranis, soon begins to wilt, until Moranis discovers it has a taste for blood.  As the plant grows, so does its appetite, until a few drops of blood from Moranis’ finger will no longer do the trick.  The plant needs to feed on something big.  Luckily, Audrey’s abusive boyfriend, a masochistic dentist played by Steve Martin, is just the kind of character an audience wouldn’t mind seeing bite the big one.  Eventually, Moranis realises the plant’s appetite will never be satiated and he has to find a more permanent plan.

Little Shop of Horrors is one of the breeziest, easiest to watch movies I’ve seen in a long time.  Clocking in at 90 minutes is rare for any movie these days.  A musical clocking in at 90 minutes is unheard of.  I think maybe it was the songs that always got in the way when I was younger.  I probably didn’t have the patience for them.  And Little Shop of Horrors has a lot of songs.  I think the song per minute ratio is only just short of this officially being classed as an opera.  But that’s OK, because most of the songs are really fun.  And watching them performed by non-musical professionals makes them even more so. What Rick Moranis and Steve Martin lack in singing talent, they more than make up for in enthusiasm.

As a director, Fran Oz knows how to do big, broad, colourful comedy.  So he really was the best choice for a movie musical about a giant, talking, man eating plant.  Between his direction, the sets, songs and performances from its amazing cast of 80s comedy all stars, Little Shop of Horrors is super infectious.  And I’m almost glad I never got through it until now, because it was really great, finally watching it for the first time after almost 25 years of trying.

Little Shop of Horrors
Directed By – Frank Oz
Written By – Howard Ashman

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