Thursday, September 6, 2007
Little Shop of Horrors
Little Shop of Horrors; horror musical comedy, USA, 1986; D: Frank Oz, S: Rick Moranis, Ellen Greene, Vincent Gardenia, Steve Martin, Bill Murray, John Candy, James Belushi, Christopher Guest, Tichina Arnold
Seymour Krelborn, in love with the blond Audrey, is a clumsy employee in some flower-shop run by Mr. Mushnik, whose business is getting worse every day. One day, Seymour buys a beautiful but bizarre flower from some Chinese merchant, called Audrey II, which starts mysteriously attracting customers to the shop. But as the plant starts growing, it suddenly starts talking and showing it's desire for human flesh to Seymour. At first, he gives her small drops of his blood, but when he kills the sadistic dentist Orin, Audrey's abusive lover, he gives his body to the flesh-eating plant. Audrey II eventually grows as big as 10 feet and even attacks Audrey, planing to spread all over the world. Seymour fights and eliminates it with by an electric shock, marrying Audrey.
The always competent director Frank Oz was praised by critics who called his "Little Shop of Horrors" the "best movie about a man-eating plant" in cinema, one rare example of a Hollywood remake that was actually as good, if not even better than the original from the '60s. Especially satisfying is the variegated selection of many famous comedians in small supporting roles or cameos: the underrated John Candy makes an amusing appearance as the radio host "Weird" Wink Wilkinson interviewing the main hero, James Belushi is solid as the greedy agent but the best roles were delivered by Steve Martin as the sadistic dentist Orin and ultra-masterful Bill Murray as his customer Arthur who ironically enjoys feeling pain and thus becomes his match - these two comedians gave probably the best roles of their careers. An amusing black humored film with a sly "Faust-ian" theme and commentary at consumerism, enriched by unusual camera angles and extravagant set-designs, with a little bit overstretched musical scenes - even though the three singing girls act nicely as a Greek Chorus - and to whom it would have better fitted the original, alternate ending where the evil Venus flytrap eats the heroes and goes on to spectacularly attack and destroy the town, even climbing up at the Statue of Liberty - even though it's pessimistic, that finale was created with such an effort and such amazing special effects that it's sad that it was replaced for the optimistic happy ending. The movie was nominated for 2 Oscars (best special effects, song), 2 Golden Globes (best motion picture - musical or comedy, song) and one BAFTA (best song).