Review Date: July 14, 2001
Released by: Anchor Bay Entertainment
Release date: 8/21/2001
Region 1, NTSC
Widescreen 1.85:1 | 16x9: Yes
John Landis, perhaps most famous among horror fans for writing and directing the classic werewolf film An American Werewolf in London, got his start in the film industry by writing and directing a movie called Schlock. The story, summarized by World Magazine, is "a monster comedy about an ape-man who goes bananas until he falls in love with a beautiful blind girl, who thinks he's a dog..." Sounds good, no? Well hey, everyone has to get their start somewhere, right?
Anchor Bay has acquired the rights to Schlock and is now releasing it onto DVD for the first time. Now, lets take a look at Anchor Bay's Schlock DVD.
A rash of unsolved murders, dubbed the "banana murders", have been occurring in a small California community. Joe Putzman (Eric Allison), a local TV news reporter, has been following the murders since they first started. Joe even has a contest going where viewers win a prize if they can guess the exact body count at each murder scene.
The local police, a force of bumbling idiots, have no idea who or what is causing all the murders. At the latest murder scene Joe questions Sergeant Wino (Saul Kahan), the leader of the bumbling idiots, about the rash of murders. Wino tells him straight out that they have no clues, no leads, and that they suspect thousands more may die before the killer is captured. Finally, the police get their first break in the case. A group of teens - two girls and two boys - had a run in with the "banana killer", which turns out to be Schlock (John Landis, also known as the missing link. The two boys are attacked by Schlock, but the two girls managed to escape and alert police to Schlock's location. The police, of course, have no idea what they're doing. As a result, a series of hilarious mishaps take place as they try to capture Schlock.
Mindy (Eliza Roberts) is a blind girl living in the community that Schlock is terrorizing. She just recently had an operation to possibly restore her vision. Bandages must remain on her eyes for a few days as she recovers. After returning from the hospital, Mindy stumbles into the backyard for some relaxation. It's there where she first encounters Schlock, who she mistakes for a dog. Schlock becomes quite flustered by Mindy as she repeatedly tosses a stick for him to fetch. Later, when Mindy's bandages are removed, she sees what Schlock really is and begins screaming hysterically. Schlock becomes angry and chases Mindy into her house. Luckily for Mindy, the police show up just in time, but once again Schlock manages to escape the police. Schlock isn't done with Mindy just yet, though. The mayhem with Schlock and police continue as Schlock makes his way to Mindy's school dance, where he learns one of the many downfalls to love between beauty and a beast.
Schlock is one of those "so stupid it's funny" movies. I have to admit though, I did laugh out loud frequently during the movie. The "plot" is ridiculous, the "make-up effects" are lousy, and the acting is horrible. Still, I found Schlock to be enjoyable. I think what works so well is that Landis knew going in he couldn't try to make a serious movie, so instead he takes the slapstick style humor and runs with it. It works! You've got to love the 2001 bit. Even Schlock himself is in on the joke, often looking at the camera with a "Is this stupid or what?" sort of look. If Landis had tried to make a serious movie, the results would have no doubt been disastrous. As it stands, Schlock is a fun 'stupid' movie. If you do enjoy slapstick style humor, a la Naked Gun, Three Stooges, etc.), I highly recommend Schlock - you'll find yourself laughing quite a bit.
Schlock is presented in an anamorphic widescreen transfer in its original 1.85:1 aspect ratio. Another stunning transfer by Anchor Bay here - very impressive given the age and low budget nature of the film. There are minor blemishes here and there - some fading vertical white lines and a few specks of dirt. It's nothing major however, and besides a few spots with minor grain, that's the only problem noted. Colors are solid and flesh tones are accurate. The image is consistently sharp with no visible soft spots. Easy A- here.
The sound is in Dolby Mono. Standard mono track here with no problems detected - distortion and clear dialogue.
The Schlock DVD does have some nice extras on it. First up is a commentary track with director John Landis and make-up effects artist Rick Baker. The commentary track is both fun and informative. Rick and John goof on the movie and each other at times, but also give interesting facts on their careers and the making of Schlock. You'll hear some brief An American Werewolf in London discussion too. There are some small gaps of silence, which increase slightly towards the end, but overall the two keep a constant conversation going. It's quite obvious the two enjoyed reminiscing on the past.
The remaining extras consist of a trailer, radio spots, talent bios, and a still gallery consisting of about 80 stills of behind-the-scenes photos, cast/crew, ads, posters, and more.
Definitely a fun "bad" movie, which many with a goofy sense of humor can enjoy. The video quality is excellent, as is the audio. Extras are enjoyable too, thanks to a fun and informative commentary from John Landis and Rick Baker. At a price of $24.98, Schlock is definitely a good buy.
Movie - B-
Image Quality - A-
Sound - B+
Supplements - B
- Running time - 1 hour 19 minutes
- Rated PG
- 1 Disc
- Chapter stops
- Dolby Mono
- Audio Commentary with Writer/Director John Landis and Make-Up Artist Rick Baker
- Theatrical Trailer
- Radio Spots
- Talent Bios
- Still Gallery