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Goofy but inventive, silly but made with great cinematic flair: Little Shop of Horrors is a wonderfully enjoyable musical that overcomes pacing issues to have you humming along with a grin.

Despite my love for musicals, horror and Roger Corman Little Shop of Horrors is one of those movies I somehow never got around to seeing. That oversight is luckily now corrected, which allows me to (mostly) wax lyrically about this little gem.

The picture combines 1950s horror and science-fiction neatly with a distinctly eighties soundtrack and a timeless sense of fun into a tale about a down-on-his-luck flower shop assistant who discovers a curious plant that will only grow when it consumes human blood.

Director Frank Oz never hides that Little Shop of Horrors was shot on a soundstage but that is a crucial part of its kitschy, tongue-in-cheek charms, as are the impeccably staged musical numbers, the sly humour and loveable lead Rick Moranis.

To sugercoat the fact that the story is perhaps a bit slight for a 90 minute film, Little Shop of Horrors also relies on a slew of famous faces in supporting roles, but they are the movie's weak link, especially Steve Martin, who relentlessly hams it up in the fully disposable role of a sadistic dentist.

The real star of the show is Audrey II though, the quirky man-eating plant that is exquisitely brought to life through wonderfully old-school, Oscar-nominated practical effects and is voiced with scene-stealing gusto by Levi Stubbs, who is worth the price of admission all by himself.

release: 1986

director: Frank Oz

starring: Rick Moranis, Ellen Greene, Vincent Gardenia, Steve Martin


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