‘A love stranger than King Kong’
Schlock – aka The Banana Monster – is a 1971 American comedy horror feature film, written, directed by and starring John Landis (Burke & Hare; Innocent Blood; Michael Jackson’s Thriller; An American Werewolf in London). It was one of Rick Baker’s first makeup jobs.
The $60,000 movie was belatedly released in March 1973 by Jack H. Harris Enterprises (Equinox; The Blob and Beware! The Blob).
Schlock was released on Blu-ray on October 16, 2018, via Arrow Video. It has been restored in 4K from the original camera negative and features the original lossless mono soundtrack. Read further down for details.
Schlockthropus is a prehistoric apeman who falls in love with a teenage blind beauty and terrorises her Southern California suburb. Schlock is no ordinary simian as he possesses some very unusual skills. Among other things, he plays the piano and gives TV interviews…
“The jokes essentially stop coming about 20 minutes into the 80-minute Banana Monster, giving the last hour or so a palpable we’re-making-this-shit-up-as-we-go-along vibe, but anyone looking for nothing more than a film in which John Landis runs around in a monkey suit for 80 minutes won’t likely be disappointed.” AV Club
“It’s almost amazing how good this thing is. No simple exercise or practice film, Schlock is a hell of a lot of fun. Horror fans will enjoy it for its gentle ribbing of common tropes and cliches, and it’s super violent, so that’s nice.” Dread Central
“There are also some fun ideas (I love the TV newsman who hosts a “guess the body count” contest), and its heart is certainly in the right place. On the down side, the movie is unfocused; it has the bare minimum of a plot, and many of the scenes feel like random events placed in a random order.” Fantastic Movie Musings and Ramblings
“It’s all fairly lowbrow, silly fun […] If you’re a John Landis fan you’ll want to see this. If not, be warned this is probably more of historical interest now than actually funny, especially as the idea of spoofing other movies has been done to death. In 1971 (when the film was actually shot) it must have seemed fresh and new, though.” House of Mortal Cinema
“When the humor lands, this movie can be hilarious, but in those slower sections, Schlock drags on and that grinds the fun to a halt. I think there’s more good than bad here though, with a lot of fun nods to classic b movies and such an offbeat, unpredictable atmosphere, so for me, this one is easily recommended.” Marc Fusion
“the energy and the creativity on display make this work, and credit where it’s due, that monkey suit is really nicely done (it’s no surprise that Baker went on to become one of the best in the effects business). This isn’t Landis’ best movie, nor his funniest, but for a first effort it’s pretty damned entertaining.” Rock! Shock! Pop!
” …this writer found himself staring at the clock on multiple occasions. This film immediately gained a cult following when released in 1973, and seems to bare its fair share of fans to this day. It was far too unfunny, foolish, and uninterestingly to gain much praise from myself.” Severed Cinema
Cast and characters:
- John Landis … Schlock
- Saul Kahan … Detective Sgt. Wino
- Joseph Piantadosi … Ivan
- Richard Gillis … Officer Gillis
- Tom Alvich … Torn Cop
- Walter Levine … Police Thief
- Eric Allison … Joe Putzman
- Ralph Baker … Dying Man
- Gene Fox … Billy
- Susan Weiser-Finley … Betty
- Jonathan A. Flint … Bobby
- Amy Schireson … Barbara
- Belinda Folsey … Goria
- Emile Hamaty … Professor Shlibovitz
- Harriet Medin [credited as Enrica Blankey] … Mrs. Blinerman
Schlock will be released on Blu-ray on October 16, 2018, via Arrow Video. It has been restored in 4K from the original camera negative and features the original lossless mono soundtrack.
Graham Humphreys designed the new cover art, while the original poster will be on the reverse side.
- Audio commentary with writer-director John Landis and makeup artist Rick Baker
- Interview with author and critic Kim Newman
- Birth of a Schlock – 2017 interivew with writer-director John Landis
- Archival video interview with cinematographer Bob Collins
- 1972, 1979 and 1982 theatrical trailers
- Radio spots
- Collector’s booklet featuring new writing on the film by Joe Bob Briggs (first pressing only)