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The sets are pasteboard, the acting is way over the top, and altogether Little Shop is an unabashed high-camp spoof, not to be taken seriously for a second. Even so, Corman notes that this was the movie "that established me as an underground legend". Charles Griffith, the film's screenwriter, plays the voice of the insatiable plant ("FEED ME!"), and billed way down the cast list is a very young Jack Nicholson in a bizarre, giggling cameo as Wilbur Force, a masochistic dental patient demanding ever more pain. The film's cult status got it turned into an off-Broadway hit musical in the 1980s, with a great pastiche doo-wop score by Alan Menken, which was subsequently filmed in 1986. The musical remake is a lot of fun, but it misses the ramshackle charm of the original.
On the DVD: Little Shop of Horrors on disc does not even boast a trailer, just some minimal onscreen background info about the production. The clean transfer, 4:3 ratio, and digitally remastered mono sound faithfully recapture Corman's bargain-basement production values. --Philip Kemp
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