LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS
1986, Warner Bros., 94 min, USA, Dir: Frank Oz

Director Frank Oz’s delightful adaptation of the Off-Broadway musical spawned by Roger Corman’s legendary low-budget horror comedy stars Rick Moranis as Seymour Krelborn, a lowly assistant working in a New York flower shop. Following an eclipse, he finds a particularly unusual plant and discovers that it feeds on human flesh - in fact, its hunger for it is insatiable. The flower shop booms as its carnivorous star attraction grows, and Seymour is willing to look the other way when it gobbles up a couple of not-so-nice people. But when “Audrey II” sets its sights on the co-worker he’s in love with (Ellen Greene), it’s time for Seymour to weed out this mean green mother from outer space. With Steve Martin as a sadistic dentist and Bill Murray as his masochistic patient.


THE THING
1982, Universal, 109 min, USA, Dir: John Carpenter

Director John Carpenter took the 1951 sci-fi classic THE THING FROM ANOTHER WORLD, produced by Howard Hawks, and turned it into something darker, fiercer and altogether more disturbing, pitting sombrero-wearing helicopter pilot Kurt Russell and a crew of Arctic scientists (Wilford Brimley, Donald Moffat, Richard Dysart) against a ravenous, shape-shifting alien being. From the haunting opening shots of a sled dog fleeing across the snow to the apocalyptic, fire-and-ice ending, this ranks with Ridley Scott’s ALIEN as one of the finest (and most beautifully crafted) sci-fi films of the past 30 years. The film was terribly underrated by critics on its initial release but its stock has constantly risen in the ensuing decades as one of the most intelligent, scary and uncompromising horror films of the 1980s. Also starring Keith David and David Clennon.


THE FLY
1986, 20th Century Fox, 100 min, USA, Dir: David Cronenberg

This new version of the 1958 sci-fi hit isn’t just a remake but a complete reimagining, with director David Cronenberg mixing in his own sensibilities about organic life and its startling mutability. Teletransporter inventor Seth Brundle (Jeff Goldblum) inadvertently mixes his genes with a house fly’s when he decides to use himself as test subject. His future as a human being, including his romance with science writer Veronica (Geena Davis), changes forever as he begins a slow slide into a gooey half-man/half-insect, complete with superpowers and messianic delusions of grandeur. Chris Walas and Stephen Dupuis won Oscars in 1987 for Best Make-Up.


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