"Little Shop of Horrors". Entertaining and funny. Starring Rick Moranis, Ellen Greene, Vincent Gardenia. With a special appearance by Steve Martin, James Belushi, John Candy, Christopher. Guest Bill Murray. Lyrics by Howard Ashman. Music by Alan Menken. Original Motion Picture Score. Produced by David Geffen. Directed by Frank Oz. Academy Award nominations for Best Original Song ("Mean Green Mother from Outer Space") and Best Visual Effects. Audrey II voice, Four Tops singer Levi Stubbs.
The off-Broadway comedy-horror-musical hit that ran for years makes a successful transfer to film with a bevy of big-name cameos and two perfectly cast leads. Rick Moranis is the nebbish Seymour, who pines for flower-girl Audrey (Ellen Greene) while living in the basement of florist Mr. Mushnik (Vincent Gardenia). Things start turning around for Seymour, though, after he buys a little plant during a solar eclipse, christens it Audrey II, and discovers that it likes to drink blood. Soon enough, though, Seymour finds out that Audrey II, now grown to epic proportions, is in actuality a "mean green mother from outer space" that is hell-bent on world domination. Based on the 1960 Roger Corman cheapie that featured a young Jack Nicholson, Little Shop
boasts a hilarious, amazing score by Howard Ashman and Alan Menken, who would go on to revitalize Disney's animation arm with The Little Mermaid
and Beauty and the Beast
. Greene, the lone holdover from the original cast, is a ravishing, goofy Audrey, whose awkward demeanor belies a voice that could knock Ethel Merman off her feet. She's ably matched by Moranis, whose lack of a singing voice is perfectly in sync with Seymour's nerdiness. And Levi Stubbs Jr. of the Four Tops provides the lowdown, nasty-minded voice of Audrey II; his rendition of the Oscar-nominated "Mean Green Mother from Outer Space" is a showstopper. As for those celebrity cameos, Steve Martin's sadistic dentist is a masterful creation, as is Bill Murray's masochistic patient; John Candy, James Belushi, and Christopher Guest also pop up. And there was never a lovelier and funkier Greek chorus than the three Motown-fueled girls (Tichina Arnold, Michelle Weeks, and Tisha Campbell) who appear throughout the film. --Mark Englehart