Re-imagining the low budget Roger Corman film, The Little Shop of Horrors, as a musical number that features the likes of Rick Moranis, Bill Murray and Steve Martin is quite the unique idea. It shouldn’t work as well as it does, nor should it be as inventive or creative as it is, but the Frank Oz directed 80s feature is a great rendition of a poor original film. Topping both the quality and quantity of the original picture, The Little Shop of Horrors has a lot of fun moments and great songs littered throughout.
Convincing me further that 1986 was an incredible year for film, The Little Shop of Horrors stars Rick Moranis as Seymour Krelborn, a loser shop assistant that begins to tend to a small, unsual plant. As it begins to grow, Krelborn must feed the plant the only food he knows it likes, blood. Garnering public attention and financial profits, The Little Shop of Horrors soon becomes a reality as we see Krelborn get in over his head further and further.
This film contains, by far, the best Moranis performance I’ve ever seen. Beating out Ghostbusters and Spaceballs with relative ease is no small feat, but he manages to combine a bumbling buffoon with some great singing chops to create a greatly varied performance that showcases the best of his abilities. He does this very well, providing an engaging leading man role, blending the fear of losing his job with the opportunity of growing an unusually ominous plant.
Moranis and Ellen Greene have some great chemistry with one another. They build each other up surprisingly well and have a certainly unexpected bond that lasts the entire movie. Greene doesn’t seem to have had many other leading roles, and her high pitched, whiny voice here may prove the reason for this. It’s a solid performance though, replicating the relationship between Seymour and Audrey from the original film rather well.
What surprises me the most is how great the musical numbers are. There’s a great number of songs throughout the film and many of them chug the story along relatively well. I couldn’t pick a favourite though, and don’t fancy listening to them outside of the bounds of the film. Good songs, but not songs I would want to listen to with the rest of my music. Most musicals have one or two songs that you could listen to outside the boundaries of the film, but that’s because they’re so focused on the characters and plot devices of the film.
Whether it’s Steve Martin singing about his job as a dentist while he commits vigorous acts of violence on his patients or Rick Moranis trying to reason with himself as he feeds the villainous plant more and more, The Little Shop of Horrors is a thoroughly enjoyable time. Frank Oz provides another great comedy piece that relies heavily on the absolutely phenomenal performances of its stacked cast and their surprisingly strong singing voices.