Genre: Comedy, Musical
Many fans will be taken by surprise to learn that two early Roger Corman films, Cry Baby Killer and Little Shop of Horrors, feature Jack Nicholson in his first roles. Cry Baby Killer is a schlocky West Side Story-ish tale with a jazzy soundtrack, in which Jimmy Wallace tries to steal his girl, Carol, back from gangster Manny Cole. Jimmy's clumsily naïve gunfire complicates his situation, involving innocent bystanders. The film succeeds because of its '50s charm, but mainly because of Nicholson's good acting, which he manages despite a lame script. Little Shop of Horrors is a more entertaining, original story about Mushnick's Florist, a flower shop where employee, Seymour, breeds a blood-sucking carnivorous plant that encourages Seymour's increasing murderous dementia. This hilariously bizarre story clearly inspired early John Waters films with its absurd characters, such as a perverted dentist and young Nicholson, who plays the dentist's masochistic patient who craves to get his teeth drilled sans painkillers. Little Shop of Horrors is colorized on this DVD, lending it added campy charm. This Back-To-Back Jack may brag Cry Baby Killer, though the real attractions are the bonus feature and film introductions by The Man himself, Roger Corman. --Trinie Dalton

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