'Schlock: Special Edition' [Blu-ray]
(John Landis, Eliza Garrett, Saul Kahan, et al / Blu-ray / NR / (1973) 2018 / Arrow Films UK)
Overview: Carnage! Terror! Banana skins! The mighty prehistoric ape Schlocktropus has emerged from hiding to embark on a full-scale rampage across a quiet Southern Californian suburb.
The police are baffled. The army is powerless. The body count is rising. But when Schlocktropus encounters a kindly blind woman (Eliza Garrett, National Lampoon's Animal House) who sees beyond his grotesque visage, the homicidal simian is presented with a chance at redemption.
Blu-ray Verdict: For my money, John Landis's first movie may be as good as anything he made! 'Schlock' falls in neatly with other progressive US comedy movies of the early '70s, which kicked around genre conventions and added a new frankness in language and toilet humor to US film comedy vocabulary.
Indeed, others of this ilk were sketch comedy flicks like Landis' 'Kentucky Fried Movie', plus the Mel Brooks and Woody Allen movies of around the same time.
What sets this one apart is its sustained comic atmosphere, which is goofy, laconic and giddy. Set pieces, like the 2001 parody, the bar scene where the monster Schlock observes a Jose Feliciano-like blind musician playing a piano boogie and ends up joining in (!), and a very funny scene where the allegedly fearful Schlock goes into a cinema to see a horror movie ... and is terrified ... all come off perfectly!
Some beautiful bits of background business too, like the hippie in the background of the 2001 scene, just ignoring the portentous foreground action, while quietly eating his frozen custard is worth a look.
In closing, this is just a really, really funny film and out now on a wondrous Special Edition Blu-ray via Arrow Films (UK) and MVD Visual (US), having watched it three times now, I still cannot even just THINK of this movie without laughing out loud! This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.78:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:
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
+ FIRST PRESSING ONLY: Illustrated collector's booklet featuring new writing on the film by Joe Bob Briggs