A tagline stating “Due to the horrifying nature of this film, no one will be admitted to the theater” can start all kinds of conversation, and even raise some interest strictly based hyperbolic curiosity. Little did folks in 73’ know that tagline was going to lead them to the magical schlockiness that was John Landis’s, Schlock.
Schlock painted an early picture of what John Landis would later apply to his bigger budget films like American Werewolf in London, The Blues Brothers and Animal House. I say “bigger budget,” but in truth Schlock was practically a no-budget outing and definitely screams proudly and wildly to that point.
A tribute to the b-movie, Trog, this film found Landis in a fully absurdist sandbox that mainly touted to the old as time struggle of the archaic versus the youthful. Damn the man, damn the man hard indeed.
Schlock is a love it or hate it polarizing film. But, for those of us that have a special place in our hearts for it, Schlock is a one of a kind, joyful experience. It not only introduced us to one of my personal favorite directors, but also introduced the world to a very young Rick Baker – Monster Maker, who designed and crafted the killer gorilla suit.
The story, follows the hi jinks of the missing link who has recently been thawed out in an underground cave. Dubbed “The Banana Killer” by the inept police, The Schlockthropus (played by John Landis) runs amok murdering all over the suburbs of Southern California, while finding love amongst all the misadventure and biting satire.
Schlock parodies a lot of greats along the way of the Schlockthropus’ terrorization of Southern Cali. 2001: A Space Odyssey, King Kong, and Keystone Cops are all placed in the cross hairs of Landis’s playful micro-budget first outing. The result is a charming and inspiring outing, that proves Landis’ words of “All you need to do to be a filmmaker is to get out there and make a movie” absolutely true.
Arrow’s 4k restoration from the original negative looks great and comes with a book featuring a piece written by Joe Bob Briggs, new cover art by Graham Humphreys and a whole lot more.
Best of all it comes with feature length audio commentary by John Landis and Rick Baker. This is easily one of my favorite features on a disc this year. Landis and Baker are insightful, hilarious and inspiring. Absolute commentary gold.
Full features include:
- Audio commentary by writer/director John Landis and makeup artist Rick Baker
- New video interview with author and critic Kim Newman
- Birth of a Schlock, a 2017 video interview with John Landis
- Archival video interview with cinematographer Bob Collins
- 1972, 1979 and 1982 US theatrical trailers
- US radio spots
- FIRST PRESSING ONLY: Illustrated collector’s booklet featuring new writing on the film by Joe Bob Briggs
- Original lossless mono soundtrack
- Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
- High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentation
- 4K restoration of the film from the original camera negative
- Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Graham Humphreys
Schlock is out now on Blu-Ray!