Blu-ray Review: Schlock (1973)

September 4, 2018

Written by DanXIII

Daniel XIII; the result of an arcane ritual involving a King Diamond album, a box of Count Chocula, and a copy of Swank magazine, is a screenwriter, director, producer, actor, artist, and reviewer of fright flicks…Who hates ya baby?

Schlock begins in the aftermath of a mass killing by the Banana Killer, so named because he leaves a banana peel at the scene of every crime. Experts predict that the murders will only increase, and police don’t have a clue as to the killer’s identity. Meanwhile, a group of teens explore a cave and discover just what is committing the crimes; a violence prone missing link, more ape than man! Once discovered, the brute terrorizes the countryside leaving murder and mayhem in it’s wake!
From the description above, you’d be forgiven for thinking that Schlock is a straight up fright flick, but let me assure you it is anything but! Full of sight and running gags, corny jokes, ridiculous characters, and a fantastic creature suit by a young Rick Baker (with writer/director John Landis crammed inside); Schlock may be one of the most ludicrous, and hilarious horror comedies (a genre Landis would return to eight years later with 1981’s An American Werewolf in London…though things swing further to the horror side of things in that picture) of all time. Picture Looney Tunes’ take on King Kong and you have the basic aesthetic of this film in a nutshell boils n’ ghouls! This may also be the only picture in horror biz history where an ape-man steals popcorn from Forrest J. Ackerman (and if you don’t know who that is shame on you)…though knowing Uncle Forry, maybe it isn’t!
Schlock is worth your time n’ dime on it’s own, but as is usually the way with an Arrow Video Blu-ray release, there are some excellent extras present here as well! First up we get an archival audio commentary with Landis and Baker that is full of info and laughs…a real treat to listen to for sure! Next come interviews with author and critic Kim Newman (speaking on the influences of the generation of filmmakers of which Landis is a member and how it led to the themes present in Schlock), Landis (a lengthy chat that repeats some anecdotes from the commentary but covers various points in Landis’ long career), and an archival chat with cinematographer Bob Collins. Finally we get three trailers for the film, and some radio spots.
Hilarious, cheap, and ultimately supremely entertaining, Schlock is a must see for those in search of more laughs than lacerations in their excursion into the horror biz!


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