Little Shop of Horrors (1986)

Little Shop of Horrors
Directed by Yoda, Fozzie…Frank Oz
Written by Howard Ashman based on his musical stage show, based on the film by Roger Corman based on the screenplay by Charles B Griffith
(number 457)

I watched this movie with Nick C and Sam B on a day when it was a bit rainy outside and there were viney plants right outside the door. We had meant to maybe go to a beach but it was a bit rainy, so blobbing with movie won out. Afterwards I went to a garden store and bought herbs. It’s totally ine!

Epic musical opening with blasting music and a three piece girl chorus in fantastic blue spotted dresses. We are introduced to Seymour, Audrey and Mr Mushnik. Their plant store isn’t making any money, so Seymour brings up his weirdo plant he purchased from a Chinese man during a solar eclipse… from there, things get weird.

The songs are great, really catchy and the staging, voices and dances are all perfection. It really made me want to watch Hairspray as well, these films seem to be spiritual sisters.

The film hinges on two performances, to my eye, Seymour and Audrey 2. And with the knowledge that Frank Oz was involved leads me to assume the Muppet workshop was involved in the design of Audrey 2 and it’s a fantastic little puppet, cute, endearing and terrifying all at once. Then it gets bigger and bigger and although it’s less cute, more scary, it’s still got a great charisma to it. The end song about how big and bad it was reminded me of the demon Sweet’s song from Buffy: Once More With Feeling.

Does it make me love the people? These are all caricatures so it’s hard to think of this as a film examining the human condition, but yet…

Yeah, you gotta feel for Audrey who is a tragic figure just dreaming of a future she believes she doesn’t deserve.

I totally love Steve Martins sadistic pyschopathic dentist character. I mean, he’s a total caricature and evil, horrible but he’s so damn funny to watch.

I find it a bit harder to love Seymour, because his decision making is based on his hapless personality for the most part and I find it hard to relate to a bit. But I guess we were all cringing when he was feeding Audrey 2 his blood, and getting all faint and tired so I did like him.

Nick pointed out that the last few scenes with the super giant Audrey 2 had to be filmed at half speed, which means everyone who acts with it had to act at half speed so they could then speed the film up to normal speed.

After it ended we went back and watched the original ending. Sam got quite vocal in her hatred for the sadness of the original ending and I have to agree that it isn’t a great way to wrap up the story.

Bechdel test: Early on Crystal, Chiffon and Ronette – the chorus talk to each other about Mr Mushnik yelling at them, and how they dropped out of school. They also talk to a little old woman about Skid Row, although the old woman isn’t really named I guess. All three of them talk to Audrey but it’s about her boyfriend and how she should maybe date Seymour instead, which obviously isn’t a pass but after Audrey goes inside they talk to each other about her.

Best line:
Seymour: the Audrey 2 isn’t a healthy girl
Mushnik: between you and me neither is the first one

State of Mind: Definitely prefer the theatrical ending to the original one. Something about the subject matter makes me a little uncomfortable, a little squicked (it’s probably the consumption of people – a problem I had with Troll 2 a little as well) but it’s a good fun movie with a kick ass soundtrack. I’m sure I’ll watch it again at some point, but maybe not soon.

Watched movie count

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