28 May 2015

"THE LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS" (Chilling 20 Movies Pack, #6) + LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS (1986) and LITTLE SHOP (1991)

THE LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS

German Titles:
Kleiner Laden voller Schrecken

USA, 1960
Director: Roger Corman
Charles B. Griffith (uncredited), Mel Welles (uncredited)

7/10







"The Little Shop of Horrors" is far from being Roger Corman's best or funniest film (that's probably "A Bucket of Blood"), but it's definitely his most unique, most original film. Shot in 2 days and 1 night(!!) on a budget of only about $30.000, Corman tells the story of klutzy simpleton Seymour Krelboyne who crossbreeds a Venus Flytrap with a Butterwort plant (a.k.a Pinguicula) and creates a carnivorous monster-plant (called "Audrey Jr.") who is able to talk and constantly demands to be fed with human flesh ("Feed me! FEEEED MEEE!").


It's a silly but siperbly amusing and pretty charming flick with lots of quirky and hilariously over-the-top characters, an interesting mix of Jewish and Black humor, and some wonderfully cheesy special effects. When she's small, Audrey Jr. actually looks rather meh. The bigger she grows, the stupider she looks. And when she's fully grown, she looks more like an oversized Hamburger. Nevertheless, her constant begging for food (voice by screenwriter Charles B. Griffiths) and the movements of her mouth made me giggle a lot.

The cast is top-notch. Lots of Corman-regulars, all delivering superb performances. Mel Welles as stingy florist Gravis Mushnick ("Don't work me about money. I've got to get drunk, now!"), the great Dick Miller as passionate flower-eater ("I'm just crazy about Kosher flowers."), Jack Nicholson in one of his very first roles as insane hardcore-masochist ("The man had cancer, tuberculosis, leprosy, and a touch of the grippe. I decided to operate."), the super-sweet Jackie Joseph, the crazy Myrtle Vail and Leola Wendorff.


The only thing I didn't like was main actor Jonathan Haze. His performance was way too annoying for my taste and I hardly couldn't stand his ongoing "Oh, boy!" babbling. Other than that, "Little Shop of Horrors" is great fun!

Wiki ~ Imdb





LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS

German Title:
Der kleine Horrorladen

USA, 1986
Director: Frank Oz

4/10 (theatrical cut)
6/10 (director's cut)







Forgive me. I've never been a musical-fan, that's why I never really liked the 1986 version of "Little Shop Of Horrors", not exactly a remake of Roger Corman's classic, but rather an adaptation of an off-broadway musical based on
the 1960 original.

I don't know why, but I just hate movies where the actors spontaneously break out in song. It's annoying. It takes me out of the movie. "Little Shop of Horrors" could have been a delightful horror-comedy without any musical numbers, but alas, it's a musical and poor me has to deal with that.


Okay, the cast is simply awesome and nearly everyone delivers a top-notch performance (aside from Ellen Greene... no wait... aside from Ellen Greene's VOICE which is so fucking unnerving - though, I loved her in "Léon"!): there's the wonderful Rick Moranis as simpleton Seymour (thousand times better than Jonathan Haze in the original), a hilarious Steve Martin as super sadistic rock'n'roll-dentist, an equally hilarious Bill Murray as root-canal-obsessed masochist, a highly amusing John Candy as silly discjockey and James Belushi (theatrical version) or John Dooley (director's cut) as fun marketing executive.

Extraterrestrial flytrap-monster "Audrey II" looks awesome (stunning creature design by Lyle Conway) - but omg, how I hated its voice which was actually provided by Four-Tops-frontman Levi Stubbs, a great singer but horribly unnerving as Audrey. The songs are mostly cheesy 80s bubblegum-pop, ranging from okay ("Skid Row","Dentist!") to aaaaahh-fucking-ear-cancer ("Feed me!",
"Suddenly Seymour")
.


The ending of the original theatrical cut is lame and underwhelming (electrocution, explosion, happy end), while the original ending a.k.a director's cut ending (rewritten and reshot after receiving a strong negative reception from test audiences, finally restored in 2012 - read about it on Wiki) is far, far better. Greene gets eaten. Moranis gets eaten. Millions of Audrey IIs taking over the world, destroying cities, eating people. No happy end. Yay!

Still, despite all the fun, this was extremely tough for me to sit through. I'm not the right audience for musicals, so I just shut up now.

Wiki ~ Imdb



LITTLE SHOP
(animated series -
1 season, 13 episodes)

German Title:
Der kleine Horrorladen

France / USA, 1991
Created by: Jean Chalopin
Directed by: Karen Peterson

7/10


Anyone remembers this? Damn, even I almost forgot about it, though this was actually a really fun series. Jean Chalopin, the creator of brilliant kids stuff like "Inspector Gadget" or "Heathcliff & The Catillac Cats", turned Corman's and Oz' "Little Shop of Horrors" films into a cute and entertaining animation series aimed at kids and teens, following a teenage boy working in a flower shop, keeping a Venus Flytrap called Junior as his pet.

I think I've seen it in the mid 90s on some German TV channel (I guess it was RTL) every Saturday noon. The horror elements were turned down for children, which totally didn't matter to me. At that time I've already seen and disliked Oz' version, and to my surprise, I enjoyed the series much, much more which, as far as I remember, was pretty well-made and diverting. Not surprising: director Karen Peterson was responsible for other fun series like "Transformers" (1985-1986), "Fraggle Rock" (1987) or "Attack of the Killer Tomatoes" (1990-1991).


Unfortunately, it was never released on VHS or DVD, and so far, I couldn't find the entire season on the internet. Strongly hope that someone will release it all in some kind of way in the near/far future. Fingers crossed!

Wiki ~ Imdb

5 comments:

  1. I absolutely love Roger Corman's version and I quite liked the 80s musical, but mostly because of the brilliant cast. I didn't even know there was an animated series, definitely one to look out for!

    Have a great weekend :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. As amazing as the cast in the 80s version is, it's just no macth for the original. Good luck finding the series ;)

      Have a great weekend too! :)

      Delete
  2. I actually enjoyed the musical more than the Roger Corman version. I guess it's because the musical was more nostalgic for me. (Seen it when I was at grade school over cable TV. That and I love musicals. So long its good)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Good for you! ;) I just can't stand musicals.

      Delete
    2. Now that you mentioned it, what do you think of REPO! The Genetic Opera? That happens to be one of my most faved horror musicals, the other being Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street!

      Delete

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