Little Shop of Horrors
Feed Me!!! Feed Me More!!!
Written By: Andrew Lowe
Date: 28th June, 2015
Originally a 1960s movie, which was revived for an off-Broadway musical, then remade by director Frank Oz, this is one of the funniest musicals I have ever seen. The Eighties was responsible for some very strange movies, this is definitely one of those.
The story is set in 1960s. Seymour Krelborn (Rick Moranis) and his colleague, Audrey (Ellen Greene), work at Mushnik's Flower Shop, lamenting they cannot escape the slums of New York City.
Struggling from a lack of customers, Mr. Mushnik (Vincent Gardenia) prompts to close the store, only for Audrey to suggest displaying an unusual plant Seymour owns. Immediately attracting a customer, Seymour explains he bought the plant, which he dubbed "Audrey II", from a Chinese flower shop during a solar eclipse. Attracting business to Mushnik's shop, the plant soon starts dying, worrying Seymour. Accidentally pricking his finger, he then discovers Audrey II needs human blood to thrive.
Audrey II continues to grow rapidly and Seymour becomes a local celebrity. Seymour soon attempts to ask Audrey out, but she turns him down because she has a date with her violent, sadistic dentist boyfriend Orin Scrivello (Steve Martin). Despite this, Audrey is interested in Seymour, as well as dreams of marrying him and escaping Skid Row. After Seymour closes up shop, Audrey II (Levi Stubbs) begins to talk to Seymour, demanding more blood than Seymour can give. The plant proposes Seymour murder someone in exchange for fame and fortune: Seymour initially refuses, but agrees upon witnessing Orin slapping Audrey.
Seymour books an appointment with Orin and arms himself with a revolver: however, he cannot bring himself to use it. Orin, who abuses nitrous oxide, puts on a type of venturi mask to receive a constant flow of the gas. Accidentally breaking an intake valve and unable to remove the mask, Orin begs Seymour for help removing it as Seymour just stands there. When Orin asks Seymour what he ever did to him, Seymour replies, "Nothing, it's what you did to her." Orin dies from asphyxiation and Seymour drags his body back to Audrey II. While dismembering the body for the plant, Seymour is unknowingly spotted by Mushnik, who flees in fear.
After feeding Orin's parts to Audrey II, Seymour discovers the police investigating Orin's disappearance. Seymour comforts Audrey, feeling guilty about wishing Orin would disappear, and the two admit their feelings for each other. That night, Mushnik confronts Seymour, believing he murdered Orin. Threatening to turn Seymour in, Mushnik offers to let him escape in exchange for the secret to the plant's care routine. Out of options, Seymour causes Mushnik to back into Audrey II's open mouth, which then devours Mushnik.
Despite widespread success, Seymour worries about Audrey II's growth and insatiable appetite. Offered money and a contract for a botany TV show, Seymour plans to escape Skid Row with Audrey using the money, leaving the plant to starve. After Audrey accepts Seymour's marriage proposal, Audrey II catches Seymour leaving and demands another meal: Seymour agrees, but insists on meat from a butcher. While Seymour is gone, the plant calls Audrey, coaxes her into the shop and then tries to eat her. Seymour, returning in time to save Audrey, escapes the store with her. Explaining that he fed the plant to become successful and win Audrey's heart, Seymour discovers she has always liked him. Approached by an executive from a botanical company named Patrick Martin (James Belushi), Seymour is offered a contract to breed Audrey II and sell the saplings worldwide. Seymour then realizes he must destroy Audrey II and the plant's plans for planetary domination.
Confronting Audrey II, Seymour learns the plant is in reality an alien from outer space. Trapping Seymour, Audrey II collapses the store, attempting to kill him. Seymour, trapped under debris, grabs an exposed electrical cable and electrocutes Audrey II, causing it to explode. Leaving the destroyed shop, Seymour safely reunites with Audrey. The two wed and move to the suburbs: arriving at their new home, a smiling Audrey II bud can be seen among the flowers in their front yard.
The film is beautifully shot and works by not taking itself seriously. I’m not a fan of Rick Moranis and especially not a fan of Steve Martin, but even I find them fun in their respective roles.
Rick Moranis plays the downtrodden Seymour perfectly and believably. He has an innocence that is needed for the role. The only bad thing is this is the same kind of role that Rick Moranis plays in nearly all films he’s in.
Steve Martin is hilariously over the top playing the role of a sadist dentist. I can’t help but laugh when watching him on screen. He plays the role with such comedic timing, and I normally can’t stand Steve Martin. However the one performance and scene that steals the entire film is Bill Murray as the masochist patient. He is just so funny enjoying all of the torturing that Steve Martin is trying to put on him.
All in all the film is very funny, the songs are humorous, and it is very quick on the pace. The only thing that could be a problem is the sense of humour that the film has. The whole thing has a bizarre taste that not everyone will enjoy, but for those that do will love every second of it.