Seymour Krelborn is a nerdy orphan working at Mushnik's, a flower shop in urban Skid Row. He harbors a crush on fellow co-worker Audrey Fulquard, and is berated by Mr. Mushnik daily. One day as Seymour is seeking a new mysterious plant, he finds a very mysterious unidentified plant which he calls Audrey II. The plant seems to have a craving for blood and soon begins to sing for his supper. Soon enough, Seymour feeds Audrey's sadistic dentist boyfriend to the plant and later, Mushnik for witnessing the death of Audrey's ex. Will Audrey II take over the world or will Seymour and Audrey defeat it?
Directed by: Frank Oz
. Starring: Levi Stubbs
, Rick Moranis
, Ellen Greene
, Vincent Gardenia
, Steve Martin
, Tichina Arnold
, Michelle Weeks
, Tisha Campbell-Martin
, Jim Belushi
, John Candy
, Christopher Guest
, Bill Murray
, Stan Jones
. Music by: Miles Goodman
This 1986 version of 'Little Shop Of Horrors' holds a very special place in my heart. It was one of the first films I viewed in the theater. My parents took me to it when I was five years old, and I remember loving every minute of it. Back then, and even still today, I find that director Frank Oz perfectly mixed a musical with retro sci-fi and created this quirky masterpiece, based on Roger Corman's 1960 original of the same name and the stage musical. And with this blu-ray release, it still proves that after 26 years, 'Little Shop of Horrors' is an inspiring and highly entertaining film. Not to mention, that finally we get the rare never-before-released 20 minute original ending.
'Little Shop of Horrors' centers around a shy and nerdy orphan named Seymour Krelborn (Rick Moranis), who was taken in by Mr. Mushnick (Vincent Gardenia), a local florist, when he was a kid. Seymour has spent his life living in the basement of Mr. Mushnik's shop and working for him. The only other employee at Mr Mushnik's plant shop is Audrey (Ellen Greene), a busty, beautiful blonde, whom with Seymour is secretly in love with. Although Audrey does dream about a life with Seymour outside of the plant shop and city, she does not share her feelings with him, for fear of her cruel and insane dentist boyfriend, Orin Scrivello (Steve Martin).
However, Seymour's life is forever changed during a total eclipse of the sun, when a strange and interesting plant appears out of thin air at a rival local plant shop. Seymour purchases the bizarre looking plant in hopes to attract business to Mr. Mushnick's decaying shop. Instantly, people take notice of the plant and start doing business at Mr. Mushnik's shop, but at a life- threatening cost. The plant, which Seymour names Audrey II, only feeds on human blood. So days turn into weeks, and weeks turn into months where Seymour drains his blood on a daily basis to feed Audrey II. Since Seymour is so good about feeding Audrey II, the plant grows to an enormous size, thus needing more blood. Soon, Audrey II is speaking fluently and requesting that Seymour kill people so it can eat. It is soon revealed the true intentions of the plant, which prompts Seymour to take serious action.
I'm so glad that fans of the film will finally get to see the original ending to this film. The ending we all saw in the theaters and on the last DVD release ends on a high note, however the ending originally intended, which was the ending in the stage version is a bit on the more grim side of things. This ending was approved by the studio, but test audiences were upset with it, so they canned the ending and made the new one that we have seen since 1986.
Frank Oz did a perfect casting job on this film. Rick Moranis is amazing as Seymour. He brings his wit and nerdy charm to every second of the film, and who knew that Moranis could sing. Ellen Greene played Audrey in the stage version for a number of years, so it was a no-brainer that her impact on this character could not be matched. And her and Moranis's chemistry is incredible. And of course Steve Martin is the scene stealer as the bad guy dentist. He's funny and sadistic at the same time. Not too mention that Bill Murray, John Candy, James Belushi, Christopher Guest, Tichina Arnold, and Tisha Campbell all have cameos in the film.
Then there is the ultimate star of the film, Audrey II. The plant is a milestone in special effects, puppetry, and animatronics in filmmaking. I still think Audrey II looks just as good if not better than any CG work done in film. That's right. Audrey II was 100% real, meaning there were no CG effects done on the plant. It took at the most 60 people to operate one of the Audrey II's, which made the plant's movement smooth, fluid, and very life-like. In the commentary, Oz says that the scenes with the large plant were filmed at 16 frames per second. Films are usually shot at the normal 24 frames per second, meaning that the human actors had to act in slow motion when doing scenes with the plant. When the 16 frames per second were played back at normal speed, you cannot tell that the slow motion acting was done, which means that every actor and special effects supervisor and technician were doing their job perfectly.
The music in the film is some of my favorite music in a musical film. It's part 50's and part rock n' roll. Every actor's step and cue is done in sync with the music and it is all very catchy and will have you, well at least me singing the tunes for days after watching the film. This 1986 version of 'Little Shop of Horrors' is a perfect example of the remake being better than the original. When you have top notch talent, great music, great dialogue, and the best special effects crew of the time working together, you get the masterpiece that is 'Little Shop of Horrors'.
Review by Bryan Kluger from the Internet Movie Database.