Friday, March 31, 2017

Schlock (1973)

Starring John Landis, Saul Kahan, Joseph Piantadosi, Eliza Roberts, Tom Alvich
Directed by John Landis
(actor & director credits courtesy

A detective investigating the shocking murders of people throughout a small town by the infamous "banana killer" learns the culprit is an intelligent gorilla, the "missing link" between apes and man.

John Landis' first feature film uses a familiar science fiction premise to launch a satirical comedy, and he plays the gorilla creature himself, who's far more intelligent than the policemen trying to stop it.  With a cast largely full of unknowns, with the exception of cameos from Forrest Ackerman and acclaimed makeup artist John Chambers, the emphasis is on the comedy, and I found the film very funny.  Aimlessly swerving police cars and a movie theater (showing The Blob and Dinosaurus!) where the creature has to put up with a number of distractions are among the best running gags.  Impressively assembled by a very young Landis (who was in his early 20's at the time), although his screenplay doesn't offer a logical story as much as a series of jokes and comic situations one after the other, but that approach had to have inspired the Zucker brothers' comedies like Airplane! and The Naked Gun.

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