Great Movie Openings will be an ongoing article which focuses on 1 film that know how to grab you from scene 1
Today’s Scene is from: Little Shop of Horrors
I am not a fan of musicals really. I can appreciate an older one now and then, but not really my genre. However, Little Shop of Horrors is probably not only my favorite musicals but one of my favorite/cherished films of all times. It’s got great songs, great comedy, and knows it’s a B-Movie and manages to elevate the source and make it as fun and entertaining as possible.
The movie opens with the slow crawl of text explaining the new threat that has befallen our fair planet. The narration by Stanley Jones is dead on to that feel of the ‘imminent threat’ tone taken by so many classic sci-fi flicks of the 1950s. Behind the narration is the slowly spinning cloud of what looks like the universe, turns out to be a filthy puddle in which a paper-bag wrapped bottle is tossed into as the opening theme starts coming in. The title appears in all it’s campy glory and we are introduced to Tisha Campbell, Tichina Arnold, and Michelle Weeks as Crystal, Ronette, and Chiffon (a tongue in cheek reference to some great groups) dressed in 50’s garb. Their soulful singing immediately places you in the tone this film shoots for. This retro-fifties vibe permeates the entire film and is captured in a Vaseline slathered nostalgia which brings so much joy to this film.
The film also frames the music in such a way that these ladies singing are almost like a Greek Chorus, unheard by the denizens of this dank city we are introduced to. They slide behind characters singing not only to them but to the audience as well. The song is so catchy and great and instantly captures what makes this movie so great. This is a film that plays into it’s origins and isn’t trying to slight them. Just look at the costumes, the sets, the way the camera stays low to the ground making you look up towards the singers making you a part of this street in this world.
This is a fun movie. It’s probably not going to change your life, but it is a classic film that knows what it is and plays to it’s strengths.
Little Shop of Horrors is a must see for any genre fan or anyone who is looking for a movie to make you smile. It features probably the best animatronics ever made. And I would be remiss to not mention Levi Stubbs of the Four Tops who voices Audrey II. His voice is perfect for the character and really brings so much life to the character and to the songs. I find myself singing these songs out of the blue sometimes and they really do stand alone as just good songs. Again, I feel like I must state, I am not a fan of musicals, but if you want to watch one, this is the one to see.
Check out the Opening and my favorite song from the film below: