Little Shop of Horrors (1986)


Seymour is a lovable loser who works in a plant store, dreaming of winning over his co-worker Audrey.  Audrey, though is going out with the leather jacket-wearing dentist Orin (Steve Martin).  Though Audrey gets hurt in the crossfire, she stays with her man.  He seems like the classic manic tool.

Seymour happens to purchase a mysterious plant that appeared in a Chinese flower vendor during a total eclipse of the sun, and displaying the plant in the window of the flower shop brings in numerous business.  However, it starts to die, and Seymour figures out the plant feeds on blood.  Audry II, the plant, grows quickly and to the point that it’s as big as Seymour, and ends up needing to eat humans whole to get his blood fix.

From the first note of the theme song, it’s very clear that this film is quintessentially 80s, but with a nice 50s touch.

The opening number is distinctly characteristic of 80s pop music, which works for me.  Set in the 1950s, it also gives a good balance of 50s Du-Wop music, mainly through the three singers Crystal, Ronette, and Chiffon.  They do a good job moving the story along, and their interactions with Audrey and Mushnik help them fit seamlessly into the story.

This was probably about the time Rick Moranis was in his prime, or at least his most notable performances (less the Honey I Shrunk the… movies).  He demonstrates his diversity both with the classic humorous acting as the lovable geek, but also more than shines in his singing abilities.  Finding a good balance in multiple areas is something I always see as a plus and sign of a talented actor.

This movie is filled with quite a few cameos, from John Candy, Christopher Guest, Bill Murray, and Jim Belushi.  Murray probably takes the cake, which makes sense since this is probably in one of the better parts of his career.  His character is just so over the top that only a person like Bill could pull it off.

I know this movie is primarily a musical, but I found it more humorous, and more modern slap-stick, which made me think it would’ve been a lot of fun to perform in, work for, or just observe this movie being made.

The love arch between Seymour and Audrey seems predictable and cheesy, but I’m willing to overlook this for the simple fact that this was just a fun movie to watch.

As Audrey II grows, it’s just fun to see his (presumably because of the singing voice provided by Levi Stubbs of The Four Tops) character blossom throughout the film, no pun intended.  One of the big reasons I think the music appeals to me is that fact that it’s well-written and soulful.

In something that seems uncharacteristic as part of this project, I could definitely see myself watching this movie again.  It was fun, light-hearted, well-rounded, and had good music (at least in my opinion).  It’s a movie that for those that’ve watched it, it’s memorable, and it’s one of those that you just have to experience to understand.
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars


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