Monday, September 8, 2014

Rifftrax: Little Shop of Horrors

Movie:  (1960) Classic Roger Corman film about a nebbishy flower-shop employee who accidently breeds a carnivorous plant to impress his lovely coworker.  As the plant blooms his good fortune grows, so when he discovers it feeds on blood he makes the best of a bad situation.

First released: 1/28/2009 (mp3 and VOD) 3/4/2009 (on DVD)

Availability: A little complicated!  Download mp3 from Rifftrax; DVD from Rifftrax, Amazon or Netflix. Not on Hulu; no VOD from Rifftrax.  Amazon instant version appears to be Mike solo riff.  (DVD watched for review.)

Reminds me of:  

Stray observations:
It sounds like it’s going to be worse than it is.  In fact it’s a pretty entertaining little movie on its own, with Jonathan Haze doing a Jerry Lewis-type routine.  It also includes a Dragnet running joke with a Joe Friday-like narrator.  Overall it really pushes into comedy over horror, and ends up feeling like an episode of the old Dobie Gillis show. “So far this thing is very light on ‘horror’ and very heavy on ‘little shop’.”   It is also famous for being filmed in only two days, which is pretty impressive from any angle.  (If you enjoyed this, I would recommend the similar Bucket of Blood.)
The riffing is just okay, but I really noticed the riffers talking over the dialogue at times. 
This is the second (Rifftrax) movie in a row that ended up being later turned into a stage musical!
Cast and crew roundup:  Haze was a presence in all the MST Corman films, before retiring fairly early (this was his last major role) and going behind the scenes.   Dick Miller (Fouch) is perhaps the most familiar, being a character actor working consistently for the last fifty years.  Jackie Joseph (Audrey) worked a lot over the years, including a number of voice-over credits such as one of the original Josie and the Pussycats!  Most interestingly, the Riffers point out the stick-up man was played by Charles B. Griffith, the screenwriter of this and most other Corman films.  He certainly didn’t try to give himself the glamour role. 
Credits watch: Since I watched the DVD there were some credits; in addition to Mike, Bill and Kevin was additional writing by Conor Lastowka, as well as production and other services by five others.  I don’t know the size of Rifftrax but this gives some idea of how much more streamlined an operation this was than Film Crew or MST.
Callback: The classic “I’m a Grimault warrior!”
Fave riff:  “Does everyone in this film have a ‘who’s on first’ routine?”  Honorable mention:  “Should I call you ‘Mr. Butts’?” 

Next week:   Cinematic Titanic finds the “Blood of the Vampires”!

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