Soundtrack (Film)
Little Shop of Horrors


4.5
superb

Review

by Scott M. Baldwin USER (95 Reviews)
July 27th, 2014 | 4 replies


Release Date: 1986 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A classic due to its genesis

On the 23rd Day of the Month of September, in an early year of a decade not too long before our own, the human race suddenly encountered a deadly threat to its very existence. And this terrifying enemy surfaced, as such enemies often do: in the seemingly most innocent and unlikely of places...

Ask any broadway freak, cult movie lover, or horror fan which cult classic they must see before they die, and there's a good chance that one in five of them will respond with Little Shop of Horrors. The story that can largely be credited for starting the whole trend of plant-central horror stories such as Godzilla Vs. Biollante and that Goosebumps called "Stay Out of the Basement", the story took on a life as an ultra-low budget film made as a result of a bet by Roger Corman, the king of schlock. The film was shot in two days and featured Jack Nicholson in his first ever film role, and in the 1980s, it was adapted into a tongue-in-cheek, darkly comedic musical that debuted off Broadway. From the opening drumroll over a pitch black stage to the finale that culminated in plants killing the audience, it was the talk of the town, and even made it into cinemas with Al all-star cast including Rick Moranis, Steve Martin, John Candy, Christopher Guest, and many, many more. Much like the movie, the soundtrack represents the 1980s SCTV/comedy generation so well that it can accurately be described as the essential capturing of a period that doesn't exist anymore. The soundtrack is easily the most memorable thing about the movie- how can you not remember the first time you saw Seymour Krelborn and Audrey 2 share their first duet? Or the first time you saw Steve Martin gleefully singing about using his dentistry expertise as an excuse to abuse his customers whole stomping through the dental clinic causing harm to little kids and adults alike? Or any time Crystal, Chiffon and Ronette appeared to advance the story through song? The music itself is catchy, rockin', and it is enough to get you humming the tunes a a soon as the credits begin rolling.

What truly makes this music stand out is that it stands well enough in its own. You can listen to it anywhere, any time, however you want. Ultimately, though, it is best listened to on a stereo with massive sound. The cast of actors deliver heir lines so believably well too- in fact,nether real standout here is Ellen a Green. Though her voice is so overly affected, sugary and nasal (on purpose to suit the character, of course), it's what makes the emotion in songs such as "Somewhere That's Green" and "Suddenly, Seymour" so believable. Rick Moranis isn't exactly frontman material, but his voice suits the dorkiness of Seymour so well- it makes you owner why he wasn't the original Seymour in the first place. Levi Stubbs takes the voice of Audrey 2, the plant that devours the human filth of the world. His hammy deliveries and forceful dialogue are what make him the best Audrey 2. It's always chilling to hear his first few "Feed me" mumbles, before he wakes right up and tells Seymour straight up, "FEED ME KREYLBORN, FEED ME NOW!!!." His chemistry with Seymour on "Feed Me" is so believable, you can almost picture Stubbs and Moranis in the studio having a blast singing their parts together. And then, there's the added song that was never originally in the stage version, "Mean Green Mother From Outer Space", which was added to make the ending less depressing. The song is extremely catchy and fast-paced, with Audrey II flat-out sticking it to Seymour in the best way possible: "Now I don't come from no black lagoon/I'm from beyond the stars, and beyond the moon/You can keep your "Thing", keep your "It"/Keep your "Creature", they don't mean shit!!!". Equally, the cultural references thrown through the song ("The lion don't sleep tonight/And if you pull his tail, he roars!") give it that schlocky, 1950s B-movie feel that transcends the song well enough.

In addition, this may have be best arrangements of the songs here. The best way to arrange the songs is with a rock band and not an orchestra, and while this is a bit "bigger" than the original broadway cast, the hard rock/doo-wop/pop feel isn't lost. "Grow For Me" is given a 1950s doo-wop arrangement, which works to the song's advantage. "Feed Me" gives the first half its funk feel it takes on in the stage version but with some hard-rock after the disturbing Orin/Audrey domestic violence dialogue, which makes the final "You need blood, and he's got more than enough!" more believable. In addition, "Don't Feed The Plants" is given the same hard rock sound in the rock portion. And the funny thing about said song is that the original version of the movie featured the stage show's downer ending where Audrey dies, Seymour almost kills himself, then finds out Audrey 2 is an alien, tries and faiils to kill Audrey II, and the plants are given to home owners then suddenly take over and destroy the world- but since test audiences hated it, the ending was changed to a happily-ever-after ending. Nonetheless, this soundtrack features "Don't Feed the Plants", despite not being in the theatrical version. This version of the song adds some organ where necessary, and boy, does it work. But arrangement-wise, the best song here is "Suppertime". With the creepy descending piano riff, Stubbs' bombastic vocals, and the ultra-creepy bass-riff in the fade out, this is guaranteed a "don't listen to it oast midnight" tune.

If this album suffers at all, it's that some unnecessary changes are made to some of the songs. "Meek Shall Inherit" feels rushed here and loses some of the dark humour in the stage version; "Some Fun Now" is fun but the original version, "You Never Know", is much better. Thankfully, these changes don't majorly harm the show, and even two songs are cut from this version ("Mushnik and Son, which I never really liked and "Now (It's Just The Gas)" is a fun sing but wouldn't have really made a difference if it were in the movie), but don't majorly affect it. Nonetheless, this is ultimately one if the best soundtracks for any movie musical, a must-have for fans, and an important artifact for 1980s culture, a film that has made such an impact on the modern movie-musical world that will never happen on a similar caliber ever again.

"Get this straight! I'm just a mean green mother from outer space and I'm bad. I'm just a mean green mother from outer space, and it looks like you been had. I'm just a mean green mother from outer space, so get off my back, 'n get out my face, 'cause I'm mean and green, and I am bad!"



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user ratings (3)
Chart.
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Comments:Add a Comment 
TheMoonchild
July 26th 2014


507 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I'll also state here that I was in a production of the show once too

SomeGuyDude
July 27th 2014


92 Comments


What a peculiar album to see a review for.

Broadway (or film adaptation of Broadway) soundtracks are always tricky to review because half of it is the writing itself and half is the performance of it. I'm of two minds about this because on one hand I despite Mean Green Mother with a passion not to mention Now (It's Just the Gas) being one of my favorite songs, but on the other a lot of the other recordings are gorgeous, almost definitive.

Pos'd for excellent writeup, though I'm not even sure what rating I could give it.

Judio!
Contributing Reviewer
July 27th 2014


6584 Comments


One of my favorite musicals, nice to see a review for this.

Digging: Radiohead - In Rainbows

Muisc4Life26
July 31st 2014


2950 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Awesome album. Skid Row is a classic.



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