Before An American Werewolf in London; before The Blues Brothers; yes, even before Animal House there was a little film from director John Landis that demonstrated his command of the screen.
I speak from first hand experience on this one. The year was 1973 and I was the head of operations for a mid-size Southern California theatre chain. A one-inch slug (small ad) caught my eye in the Los Angeles Times’ movie section one morning, “Schlock” screening at the Wiltern Theatre tonight. I went and loved it.
It was basically a screening for cast and crew members, but damned if it wasn’t one funny movie. Yes, micro budget and an unknown cast, but I talked our buyer into giving Jack Harris a call and booking the film everywhere we had screens (The Crest in El Centro was one of the venues, complete with Schlock monster). It wasn’t a disaster, paying customers came, we had fun and it was gone.
Word arrived this week from Arrow Video, with domestic sales and distribution expertise provided by MVD Entertainment Group, that a new Blu-ray upgrade of Schlock will be available for fans to enjoy on Oct. 16. If you have a John Landis collection — who doesn’t have at least Blues Brothers and Animal House in any respectable library — then Schlock will be a must!!!
So what is “Schlock?” Why, it is the banana monster and he is on a rampage. That is until he spots “Blind Mindy” (played by none other than Eliza Garrett in her film debut … she would later marry Eric Roberts and appear in many of his films) in the backyard of her Chatsworth home one day and falls in love (think: Beauty and the Beast).
John Landis and Eliza (Garrett) Roberts launched their film careers with this gem … as did eight-time Oscar-winner Rick Baker, who created the Schlocktropus. So even if you’ve never heard of Schlock, just with that trio alone, it is certainly worth a look. You will not be disappointed!
Bonus features include a vintage commentary with writer/director John Landis and makeup artist Rick Baker, a vintage video session with cinematographer Bob Collins and two newly-prepared video sessions, one with author and film critic Kim Newman and the other with John Landis titled “Birth of a Schlock.”