Modern Cult Classic is Award-Winning Musical Comedy Thriller
BOONE, N.C. – The recently-announced Cinema Classic Sci-Fi Film Series at the Appalachian Theatre of the High Country will screen its first film at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, October 4 with a modern cult classic that celebrates several beloved film genres.
“Little Shop of Horrors” is a horror musical comedy film directed by Frank Oz, who began his career as a master puppeteer. Oz created, voiced, and played Muppet characters Miss Piggy, Fozzie Bear, Animal, and Sam Eagle in “The Muppet Show,” and Cookie Monster, Bert, and Grover in “Sesame Street.” He also puppeteered and provided the voice for Yoda in the “Star Wars” film series.
Oz’s 1986 film centers on Seymour Krelborn, a hapless floral shop worker (Rick Moranis) who discovers and raises a sentient carnivorous plant that feeds on human flesh and blood. He names the plant Audrey II in honor of a fellow worker (Ellen Greene) with whom he is secretly in love. The film also stars Vincent Gardenia, Steve Martin, and Levi Stubbs, with special appearances by Jim Belushi, John Candy, Christopher Guest, and Bill Murray.
Nominated for two Oscars and over a dozen other major honors, the movie won two Saturn Awards, honoring the best in science fiction, fantasy, and horror film.
“Little Shop of Horrors” is loosely based on the low-budget 1960 black comedy film of the same name. The music, composed by Alan Menken in the style of early 60s rock and roll, doo wop, and early Motown, includes several well-known tunes, including the title song, “Skid Row (Downtown),” “Somewhere That’s Green,” and “Suddenly, Seymour.” The musical premiered Off-Off-Broadway in 1982 before moving to the Orpheum Theatre Off-Broadway, where it had a five-year run.
App Theatre Executive Director Suzanne Livesay has a special affinity for the film. “’Little Shop of Horrors’ became an instant cult classic for high school theatre kids of the ’80s long before Alan Menken and Howard Ashman became familiar names writing Disney soundtracks. In fact, one of the film’s most memorable songs, ‘Somewhere That’s Green,’ became my most requested solo during my college years working at the Farm House in Blowing Rock.”
One of the more famous scenes in the movie stars comedian Steve Martin as Orin Scrivello, DDS, a sadistic, nitrous oxide-addicted dentist, and Audrey’s violent, abusive boyfriend. Bill Murray plays a cameo role as Arthur Denton, a hyperactive masochist, who visits Orin the dentist for “a long, slow root canal.” His character is not part of the stage play, but is based on Wilbur Force, a character from the original 1960 film played by then-young breakout Jack Nicholson.
Their scene includes the song, “Be a Dentist,” which elicits groans and laughs in equal measure.
Drs. Danielle and Chris Gordon are partners in life and work as owners of Gordon Dental Group in Boone, NC. “It’s really amusing how dentists have been portrayed historically on film, like in ‘Little Shop of Horrors.’ I can promise you, we really aren’t trying to inflict pain or relish in it. There’s absolutely no way we could walk into the office in the morning, knock out our dental assistant and run directly in to see a patient without gloves or a mask and proceed to work on them without giving dental anesthesia. That type of scene is certainly a terrifying thought!”
Her husband, Chris, agrees. “We’ve really come a long way in today’s world, making sure we do whatever it takes to make a patient comfortable from administering adequate anesthesia and providing a calm, relaxing atmosphere to make patients feel at ease. We greatly enjoy taking away the pain that someone may be experiencing and solving their dental problems to improve their overall health and quality of life.”
The film has a family-friendly start time of 7 p.m. with a budget-conscious general admission ticket price of just $5 per person. The running time for “Little Shop of Horrors” is one hour and 34 minutes.
The Cinema Classic Sci-Fi Film Series is generously sponsored by Nancy and Neil Schaffel and consists of four movies suggested by audience members and the general public. The other films on the series are “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” on October 11, Stanley Kubrick’s epic “2001: A Space Odyssey” on October 18, and “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” on October 30. While the App Theatre’s online ticketing system is accessible 24/7, customers can avoid the online service fees by visiting the lobby box office between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. from Tuesday through Friday, or one hour prior to showtime for each film. For a complete performance schedule of all upcoming events, or to sign up for the theatre’s e-blast distribution list, visit the organization’s website at www.apptheatre.org
Courtesy of the Appalachian Theatre of the High Country.