All horror movies employ music to set the mood, create suspense, or even trick the audience into thinking someone is about to get killed. The hybridization of horror and musical, however, is very rare. Two horror-musical films that have achieved great success are Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (2007) and Little Shop of Horrors (1986). The success of each of these films is less a result of their obvious differences, and is more a result of their many similarities. Most notable is the transformation each film made from early, non-musical films to long-running stage musicals to very profitable film horror musicals. "[T]he tale of Sweeney Todd has changed in remarkable ways from its original stage appearance in George Dibdin-Pitt's 1847 drama. [Producer George] King and [actor Tod] Slaughter continued their film making partnership [after making The Murder in the Red Barn in 1935] with a cinematic version of Sweeney Todd in 1936" (Curry 10). And Little Shop of Horrors was .
[b]ased on the 1960 cult film by B movie king Roger Corman [and] was workshopped at the tiny, ninety-eight-seat WPA Theater Off-Off-Broadway in the spring of 1982. While there, it caught the attention of Bernie Jacobs, then the president of the Shubert Organization, and his producing partner, David Geffen, then the president of Geffen Records. Little Shop was quickly moved to Off Broadway's Orpheum Theater, where it reopened on July 27, 1982; the film version, also produced by Geffen, would be released four years later (Wollman 132).
Neither film was successful in its original form. BoxOffice® says about Little Shop of Horrors: "When it originally came out in 1960, 'Little Shop of Horrors' could have been voted Least Likely Candidate to Endure. In a time when New Wavish dramas and bloated spectacles were commanding public and critical attention, the ultra-cheap horror comedy, shot in a breathtaking two days by veteran schlockmeister Roger Corman, seemed destined for oblivion" (BOXOFFICE Staff).