Little Shop of Horrors (1986, Frank Oz)

There were two goals here. I nervously wanted to revisit one of my favorite movies from the 80’s and see if it still holds up for me personally (it did), and I wanted to show it off to Katy and see if she’d like it half as much as I do (she doesn’t).

Reverse Shot deconstructs:
“Though it’s hard to outright accuse Oz of actively perpetuating racism… his insistence on exaggerating the Motown aspects of the three girls and the svengali qualities of Audrey II seem a light mask for the white fear of a black threat ready to corrupt the safe American dream. When weighing Audrey II and the doo-wop girls against the cartoonishly antiseptic suburbia about which the protagonists fantasize, the fight against the plant takes on epic proportion, and an unpleasant metaphorical cast.”

I still dig the music and the movie, campy and racist though it may be. James Belushi, John Candy and Bill Murray are kind of wedged in there, but Christopher Guest’s wide-eyed easily-impressed rose-buying customer slides in perfectly. One of the doo-wop girls played Chris Rock’s mom (?) on “Everybody Hates Chris” and another was on “Martin” and a recent Damon Wayans show. Mr. Mushnik, who died in 1992, was in the 1978 “Heaven Can Wait”. Ellen Greene was Mathilda’s Mother in “The Professional” and appears these days on Heroes and Pushing Daisies. I don’t get why Rick Moranis didn’t outlast the 80’s – he does voices for Disney cartoons now.

EDIT: Dec 2011
Katy likes it better now, thanks to some soundtrack exposure. Maria enjoyed the songs. I dig the fake skies and long shots (with some subtle off-camera costume changes and transformations), but now that I know the ending was changed after test screenings, I can’t help but see the cheap, last-minute alterations (like Audrey 2’s stock-footage explosion) when the whole movie had been meticulously composed up until then. Gotta look up the deleted ending on youtube some time.

EDIT: Sept 2021
This time we showed it to Katy’s mom, who liked it so much that she wants to watch the Roger Corman version next, against my advice. Went with the theatrical version since it was $4 to rent and the director’s cut was $20, but maybe someday.