My Take: Definitely one of my favorite musicals of all time.
The last few months of the year 2008 have not been good to me, but it has its ups and downs. The limelights? A reunion with an old favorite: None other than the 80's hit musical LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS. I remember watching LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS as a kid, and I remembered loving it. I've been hunting to see this movie for quite sometime. Thankfully, it caught me in surprise on TV one time, then I went out seeing it again... and again on DVD, still being fresh each time. It's the best movie of its kind, even if I don't know exactly what kind of movie it is.
LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS combines two delightful concepts: A joyous, old-fashioned musical and a send-off of the campy, low-budget B-movies of the B&W era. In fact, which you all might know by now, this brilliant concept all started from one big joke, from Roger Corman no less. Corman produced the original LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS as a mere joke that he can make a film with a reused set from another movie and a limited shooting schedule of two days. The result was a film that was ignored in its initial release, but earned its cult following subsequent years later. One of this avid admirers is David Geffen, who has just come up with a brilliant idea: turn the film into a silly, bent Broadway musical. Strange, maybe if it wasn't so good. The musical was a surprise success, even loved by Mr. Corman himself. So it was inevitable for Geffen to take his brilliant idea one step further: turn it into a big-budget Hollywood production.
Originally attached to the project is Martin Scorcese and Steven Spielberg, doing the movie in a very modest budget. But the reigns eventually went to puppeteer Frank Oz (most remembered as the voice of Yoda), with the budget exceeding $30 million. Plus the film was also legendary for flushing out $2 million worth of special effects after the menacing original ending tested poorly (deemed too dark) on test audiences, with an improved Hollywood happy ending made to replace it. Still, despite the expenses and some of the criticism toward the film, LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS is still one of the best times I had in watching movies. The movie is a funhouse of endless entertainment packed with silly laughs, memorable musical numbers, tuneful songs, fine acting and outrageous special effects (even in this CG era, the Audrey II puppet created by Lyle Conway is still very convincing).
Rick Moranis stars as a down-on-his-luck slob Seymour Krelborn, who works in a bankrupt florist shop in the outcast district of Skid Row, where all the outcasts reside, including his bankrupt boss Mushnick (Vincent Gardenia) and battered beauty Audrey (Ellen Greene, reprising her off-off Broadway role). But when he finds a small, potted plant which he calls Audrey II, his life's about change. He becomes a great success, with the florist shop and boss right along with him. But there's a catch: Little Audrey II's hungry for blood, and he's growing... and growing... and growing. So how does Seymour feed a giant, singing man-eating vegetable? Nothing big, just chopping-up and killing people! LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS is quite like the "Springtime for Hitler" scene from Mel Brook's THE PRODUCERS. It's a little sick and dark on one hand, with a concept that's totally beyond its league, but in the end, it's fun, funny and peppered with inspired moments that never fails to make you smile in every frame. What are you waiting for? Feed yourself with the oddball delight of the irresistible LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS.
Rating: ***** out of 5.
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