People love musicals. Whether it’s an uplifting story where love conquers all or a tale of how an alien plant charmed a down trodden populace so that its evil scheme of world domination went un-noticed; sometimes you just have to burst out into song. Yes, you read that right. In the late great 80’s where everything was still fun, Frank Oz of Muppet fame and David Geffen brought Little Shop of Horrors from the stage to the big screen. I owe this movie a lot. I watched it countless times growing up and firmly believe it was one of many stories that shaped my love for science fiction.
If you are not familiar with story of Little Shop of Horrors, stop reading and go watch it. Oh alright, I’ll provide a brief description. In the slums of an undisclosed city, an employee of a failing florist comes across a strange new type of plant. After trying and failing miserably to find out what this new flora needs to survive, he finally unearths its dark secret. Going down a path of damnation, this man must come to terms with his soaring ill-gotten fame and the effects it has on the rest of his life.
The Blu-Ray release of Little Shop of Horrors has been a long time coming. I was a little disappointed with the DVD-like quality. For a Blu-Ray, I couldn’t help but expect a crisper, smoother picture. I then had to tell myself it was a 26 year old movie and they did the best they could. To be honest, if you are a fan of film grain, you’ll be right at home; me, not so much. If you’ve ever seen “The Thing” on Blu-Ray, you probably noticed colors on the creature you didn’t even know were there. Such is the case with the plant in Little Shop of Horrors. Not only is the green vibrant and almost living, but shades of blue and purple will now pop out at the viewer. This got me thinking; I don’t know if the creators wanted it this way or not but I noticed it none the less. We all know poisonous plants and animals are usually brightly colored and finally, in the Blu-Ray, we can see this brightly colored, almost rainbow-like plant which we know is quite deadly!
In 1998, this movie was released on DVD as a special edition which contained an un-polished version of the film’s intended ending which was closer to the original Broadway play that this film is based on. It was unfortunately recalled due to legal disputes and thus the only glimpse the public received vanished into obscurity. This Blu-Ray release not only contains this original ending but a finished version that has been polished and re-mastered. It’s clear that this is where a lot of the time and effort went for this release. Not only is it dark, disturbing, and fun but it’s almost 25 minutes long and runs seamlessly into the first part of the film we are all used to. There are a few spots here and there that seem out of place or not of the same quality as the rest of the film but seeing as how this is being done so long after it’s partial shooting and that some of the essential cast are no longer with us, overall, it’s damn good! Frank Oz has stated many times that this is the version of the film that was intended and I can only imagine how good he must feel knowing that the movie he wanted to make has finally been completed.
Other features, of course, include commentaries and even the original version of the film that was released to theaters. If you are a fan of this movie, of musicals, or of science fiction stories, this release needs to be a part of your library. Seeing as how this includes the intended ending, this is a piece of cinema history that no one should miss!