The Cry Baby Killer (and The Little Shop of Horrors) Jus Addiss/Roger Corman

It’s two for the price of one in this "Back-to-Back Jack Edition,” though the finer of the flicks has only a passing interest in the top billed Jack Nicholson. The disc is officially a release for Jack’s first starring role, The Cry Baby Killer; he plays a jilted teenager taking on the local juvenile delinquent who swiped his girlfriend and winds up holed up with a couple of hostages. The obligatory media circus develops and family members predictably freak out but it’s all very perfunctory — the script creaks every time it tries to be au courant and mangles every topical point in an orgy of awkwardness. And while Nicholson is fine, he acts the supporting cast into the ground, most of whom seem to have been drunks collected at some street corner. No matter: the main event is the "extra,” The Little Shop of Horrors, famously shot in two days and the basis for the oft-mounted off-Broadway musical. It details the trials of Seymour Krelboin (Jonathan Haze), a put upon skid row florist employee who breeds an exotic plant that feeds on human flesh; he’d like to stop feeding it but it’s making the florist too much money. You’d never know it was a rush job from Charles B. Griffith’s script, which is full of pungent wit and populated with sadists, masochists, hypochondriacs and a customer who likes to eat flowers. Nicholson has a small role as a pain-freak dental patient but he’s only one member of a sparkling cast. It’s an astonishingly assured film for the money that, thanks to the monsters at Buena Vista, has nearly been ruined by the colourised version offered here. Thankfully, the film’s interest isn’t exactly visual and the script shines through. Intros by B king (and Horrors director) Roger Corman are offered for both films. (Buena Vista)