Movie Rob( https://movierob.wordpress.com/) hosts a blogathon over on his site called Genre Grandeur where he asks a different writer to pick a film genre and then other bloggers write a post based on the chosen topic. This Month Audrey Fox of http://1001moviesandbeyond.com/ has chosen the genre of Movie Musicals. This is the perfect opportunity to write about a personal favorite. Little Shop of Horrors.
Frank Oz the same cat who gave a voice to Miss Piggy and Yoda directs the filmed adaptation of the off Broadway stage show. Which was also adapted from a Roger Corman movie that featured Jack Nicholson in a small role. The 1986 film version stars Rick Moranis as Seymour. A nice guy living in the slums , while also working at a flower shop that has no customers. His only friend Audrey(Ellen Greene, reprising her role from the stage) would be the girl of his dreams. If she wasn’t dating an abusive dentist(Steve Martin). One day Seymour brings home a very strange looking plant that beings attracting customers. There is just one catch. In order for it to grow, this piece of foliage wants blood and lots of it.
The songs that were both on stage and on screen were written by Alan Menken and Howard Ashmen. These are the same cats who also wrote the jams for a lot very well known Disney features including The Little Mermaid, Beauty and The Beast, and Aladdin. Of which they won Oscars twice. Unfortunately, Ashmen passed away after completing lyrics for these features and never got to enjoy the success. I still think that Little Shop of Horrors was the best work that they have ever done. Each track is enhanced by great vocals from the cast. Especially Ellen Greene whose squeak like voice is suddenly transformed into this bravado like presence that is hard to describe. But I promise is just jaw dropping. For this article, The Vern looks back at some favorite songs from the soundtrack.
Little Shop of Horrors
This song introduces us to Chiffon(Tisha Cambell), Ronette(Michelle Weeks), and Crystal(Tichina Arnold). Three girls who serve as the film’s greek chorus and are featured in every song from here on out. I love that it sounds like a demented girl group song from the 60’s. It’s like Bobby Picket(The Monster Mash) wrote a song for The Ronettes(Be My Baby).
This is the song that comes after the credit sequence and sets up where the characters all live. I wish I knew the name of the woman singing the vocals at the start of the song because she is tremendous. My favorite moment is when Seymour sings about always being poor. Plus you get a great sample of Ellen Greene’s vocal ranges.
Sung by Steve Martin, explaining what he does for a living. I love the absurd dark lyrics about a guy getting so much joy from causing so much pain. Mr. Martin performs this track like Elvis and the results are a lot of fun.
This is the song near the end where Audrey and Seymour express their love for eachother. I always thought Rick Moranis and Ellen Greene had great chemistry and was surprised that this track didn’t get an Oscar nomination. It’s seems to be just what Academy voters are looking for.
This is the song where Seymour explains how he found Audrey II(aka the hungry plant). I found Moranis’ narration to work quite well with the singing from Weeks, Cambell and Arnold. It’s a simple exposition song, but it works well.
Feed Me(Get it)
In this scene, Audrey II is now able to talk, and is in need for more fresh blood. Seymour is reluctant at first, but when he sees Audrey being roughed up by a certain individual with a doctorate. He has a change of heart.
Growing up, this was one of the movies I used to watch a lot with my friends when we were 10 and 11. Between Die Hard Robocop, and Aliens, this musical was watched many times. I never watched ones like Sound of Music and My Fair Lady until I was a bit older. I have learnarsed to appreciate those movies and others from the genre. Little Shop of Horrors still holds up great after all these years. The cameos from Bill Murray, John Candy, and many others were fun. The songs are still great and I hope I get to see this live at some point. I know about the director’s cut and have seen the alternate ending. I just preferred the way the theatrical one ends. It’s a classic movie that never gets old.