Little Shop of Horrors (1986)
Don't feed the plants.
I'm not a big musical person. Most people who know me know that - and it's not just a matter of I auto-tune (ha ha, funny!) out when I go to them or whatever. No, I give them as fair a shot as any movie I would watch - it's just for whatever reason most of them don't end up being my thing. Some people just can't get enough singing in their lives though - I'm sure Glee's success is a testament to that. Will Horrors manage to satisfy their hunger, or turn out to be plant food?
Skid row is a terrible place to live. It's the downtown sinkhole for the poor and seemingly unwanted, as an elaborate song number will tell you. However, this particular tale from downtown has a little something special - a little something where you would least expect it. A local florist shop isn't doing so well with having customers. It's staff is rather optimistic, outside of the boss, but considering the black eye the female staff member comes in with their judgement could be called into question. At any rate, with such a terrible rate of having any customers at all, the boss decides it's time to close shop. In an energetic plea, the staff decides to pitch putting the strange plant the one worker found in the front window, hoping it's utter weirdness will draw some customers in.
No sooner does it go up in the window then does the success start. People keep coming from all over the place, and the crew is incredibly excited. So happy at their success, the boss offers dinner to everyone, only to have the lady bail for a date with her (terrible) boyfriend and our main hero getting stuck behind to care after his suddenly super unhealthy plant. Through another musical number, we are shown that our hero has tried absolutely everything as far as plant food goes besides blood - which of course is exactly what this strange little plant wants. It certainly hits the spot though, as the plant grows larger and larger, and with it the stores success. It's not all fun and giggles however - our hero only has so much blood, and the plant is quite adamant about being fed - but it wants only fresh people entrees. As it happens, through the course of a song, the perfect candidate is found and picked out.
Having an interesting run-in with the most terrifying dentist one has ever seen, our hero has his plant food and removes the worst boyfriend ever from the equation of his coworker love interest. Unfortunately, even this isn't a flawless success as the boss sees our hero doing his chopping work to make the people-flakes small enough for our plant creature to eat. As if to ruin his continual rise to fame, the boss confronts the hero with the intent to take him to the cops, only to end up becoming fertilizer unintentionally. As guilt finally catches up with him, he decides to run away with his coworker after they get married - but the plant makes a preemptive strike and tries to eat the lady coworker! Can our hero get there in time? Does this nefarious plant have an even more evil plan in store for them both? Will anyone ever go to the dentist ever again after watching this?
The plot is there, oddly enough. It might not be winning any awards, but it's there enough that it links everything together in a nice smooth fashion - with the exception of the musical factor where random people on the street will all just burst into song and not see the narrator-style trio chorus singing various songs. It's cheesy, without a doubt, and most the characters are over the top, but really it feels like it's exactly what the flick wanted and needed. You'd also be surprised at just how many non-essential characters you may recognize the actors of.
Effects work is beautiful. I love me practical effects, and this plant is just wonderful. So colorful, much lips, even down to the little mini-chorus buds having details in them as well. Sure, the "talking" action can falter a bit at times, but that's not all that much to count against it in comparison. Likewise, the in-mouth view during the dentist's number is an interesting little bit that's pretty detailed as well. Costumes range the gamut from stereotypical to interestingly period, but for intents and purposes all feel as though they fit the characters in them.
Audio is always important in a musical. If you can't effectively hear the music, then what good is it right? It's a bit of a testament to some of the catchy-ness or creativity of them that so many people out there still know the line "Feed me Seymour!" In honesty though, I can't really say that most of the pieces stick out as much as the actual visual side does. The comedy during the dentist number particularly outweighs the audio fun it could present, but the songs are all at least relevant to happenings on the screen. More important than the content of the songs, however, is that those singing them all do a pretty well job - particularly a pleasant surprise coming from Audrey's rather high-pitched squeaky talking voice that feels like it's meant to grate a little on the nerves.
So I haven't said a lot that's necessarily terrible about it have I? Well, to put this into some perspective, I'm only a fan of around 6 or 7 musicals - almost enough that I could count them all on one hand. The fact this is even on that list should show how amusing it is to me, although it'd be unfair for me to not elaborate that this is also the lowest one on the list. Although it's an amusing flick and I enjoy the visual aspects of it, the songs themselves end up falling flat in the memorability department for me, which is admittedly quite a step above just plain boring me or annoying me. Fans of musicals will probably like it as much as others, and there's some decent romance stuff in it, but I'd watch it much more for the visuals and the few moments that are pretty genuinely funny.