“How do you feel?
I feel more like I do now
than I did when I got here.”
Schlock is the first full length film from director John Landis, An American Werewolf in London (1981) which pays homage to classic monster movies of the 50’s and 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) but with the typical Landis’ unconventional comedy style as seen in An American Werewolf.
Hundreds of people are being killed in a small California town with the only clue being banana peels left at these murders.
On the case is Detective Sgt. Wino, a no-nonsense talking copper and his completely inept police force.
Schlock it turns out is the missing link and is played rather well by John Landis in a not-so-bad for the budget monkey suit made by make-up artist legend Rick Baker who did the make-up effects for An American Werewolf in one of his very first films.
The film basically follows Schlock as he wonders this new, and barmy, world he has awoken to. Killing people, watching films in the cinema and finding an object for his affection in clumsy Mindy.
Considering John Landis was around 20 when he made this and the budget he had, this, like The Evil Dead (1981), goes a long way to show how a directors talent will show through on the final product.
So something for directors making horror films these days to consider.
The comedy might not be to everyone’s taste. Best I can describe it is as if Abrahams and the Zuckers were back in film school trying to perfect their style but it did make me laugh at the nonsense of the people on display far more than most modern comedy films have.
None of it played for laughs, more than enough puns and just the right amount of absurdity, with landis’ missing link breaking the fourth wall enough to convey his disbelief at what his species evolved into.
Some would argue that’s simply California.
Very hit and miss, just like the acting but with more than enough knowledge of the subject he is parodying down to the choices of films in the cinema and scenes chosen, enough of it works to be entertaining for those who are fans of 70’s American off-beat comedy.
The Arrow transfer is up to the usual high standards.
No complains with the picture quality which has had the usual 4k restoration from the original negative and shows why all films studios should be hard at work restoring their back catalogues.
Celluloid doesn’t last forever.
The Audio is the original mono so there isn’t much to work with there however it is clear enough with only a slight hiss in the background that doesn’t get in the way.
Included is a 40 minute Q&A with the director where he shares a lot on why he became a filmmaker and what films he grew up watching that inspired him.
Kim Newman gives us a 17 minute talk on why he likes this film in his usual style. I always think he’s going off at a tangent and trying to show how many films and filmmakers he can name to show off but then everytime he brings it back to the film at hand an I’m impressed.
One for Landis fans really but worth having if you are.
SPECIAL EDITION CONTENTS:
• 4K restoration of the film from the original camera negative
• High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentation
• Original lossless mono soundtrack
• Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
• 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
• Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Graham Humphreys