Little Shop Of Horrors

Year: 1986
Director: Frank Oz
Starring: Rick Moranis, Ellen Greene, Vincent Gardenia, Steve Martin
Written by Dalton Brown

Life is hard, especially if you happen to live down on Skid Row where your life is one big joke. Jokes aside, ‘Little Shop Of Horrors’ – directed by Frank Oz – is a timeless classic that people of all ages can enjoy. It is, quite possibly, the greatest musical of all-time, up there with ‘Willy Wonka And The Chocolate Factory’. But what makes ‘Little Shop Of Horrors’ so great and so loveable? That’s the question I’m here to answer.

The most best thing about ‘Little Shop Of Horrors’ is the music. In fact, most people who have seen the film will tell you that they only cared about the music. You may be thinking: “but surely there is so much more than just the music”, and I would agree. Aside from the music, you have to give credit to how the whole film was shot. The dentist scene, in particular, is very interesting and I, personally, would like to know how they did it.

The plot, for a movie of this nature, is surprisingly very complex. Our protagonist, Seymour Krelborn (Rick Moranis), is a nerdy twenty-something living in his employer’s basement. His boss, Mr. Mushnik (Vincent Gardenia), gives him hell. Not only that, but business isn’t doing so good. So Seymour tells Mushnik that he found a mysterious plant one day whilst shopping. Seymour’s plant – named “Audrey 2” – is a Venus flytrap-like plant that talks and has a thirst for blood; sounds pretty normal so far, right? Audrey 2 (Levi Stubbs) starts out small, but quickly grows into a monstrous, murderous nightmare.

Also, there’s a pretty important subplot involving another Audrey (Ellen Greene). You see, Seymour is infatuated with her. In fact, he likes her so much he named the plant after her. Audrey (the human one) loves Seymour just as much as he loves her, but she is in a relationship with the dentist (Steve Martin). The dentist, however, is abusive and Audrey, too scared to leave, stays with him. That is, until one night when he mysteriously disappears. Seymour and the newly single Audrey then start dating and get married shortly afterwards.

Like I said, complex. Not only is it complex, but absurd as well. That said, I think there’s something endearing about the absurdity and that’s what draws me to it. I also really like the underlying message – the one that teaches us to never give up and to always have hope, regardless of the bad things that may happen to us. Because, even though they live down on Skid Row and their lives kinda suck, the characters in ‘Little Shop Of Horrors’ never give up hope.

I haven’t even begun to praise Audrey 2 yet! To this day, this mega-plant still looks menacing. The effects they used to create Audrey 2 are absolutely fantastic; a real visual masterclass. Sadly though, the character itself is greatly underdeveloped and I would have loved to see them characterize Audrey 2 a lot more than they did. Oddly enough, the dentist actually has more substance than the plant, and whilst both aforementioned characters are underdeveloped, the plant is slightly more neglected. Every character in ‘Little Shop Of Horrors’ is somewhat underdeveloped, now that I think about it. And yet, despite this, there’s something very likeable about them. Maybe it’s the fact that the actors themselves have a good screen presence? Maybe? I’m digressing.

Overall, even with their flaws, the characters are brilliant and lots of fun. The music and storyline are even better. To be honest, everything about ‘Little Shop Of Horrors’ is just great. I highly recommend watching this near-masterpiece if you haven’t seen it already. If you have seen it, I recommend watching it again, like… right now. Or, as soon as possible. Your call.