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Schlock Review on Blu-ray from Turbine Media Group Print E-mail
User Rating: / 3
Written by Chris Mayo   
Monday, 25 June 2018
Severed Cinema Review of Schlock on Blu-ray from Turbine Media Group

AKA: The Banana Monster, El monstruo de las bananas, Schlock - banaanihirviö, Schlock, le tueur à la banane...!, Slok, Schlock jätteapan, Schlock - Das Bananenmonster.
Directed by: John Landis
Written by: John Landis
Produced by: James C. O'Rourke, Jack H. Harris
Cinematography by: Robert E. Collins
Editing by: George Folsey Jr.
Music by: David Gibson
Special Effects by: Rick Baker, Ivan Lepper
Cast: John Landis, Saul Kahan, Joseph Piantadosi, Richard Gillis, Tom Alvich, Walter Levine, Eric Allison, Emile Hamaty, Susan Weiser-Finley.
Year: 1973
Country: USA
Color: Color
Language: English
Runtime: 1h 19min
Studio: Gazotskie Productions
Distributor: Turbine Media Group

This feature début movie from filmmaker John Landis, was directed by him at the mere age of 21. Himself and producer Jim O’Rourke raised the meager $60,000 dollar budget on their own from personal savings, friends, etcetera, which is a huge achievement considering Landis went on to direct such fan favorites as Animal House, American Werewolf in London, Blues Brothers, and Coming to America.

This release begins with a recent intro from Landis himself, where he apologizes for what viewers are about to watch. Then this Schlock begins with an assortment of dead bodies strewn around the ground. Overlooked by Detective Sgt. Wino (Saul Kahan) and another younger buffoon cop called Ivan (Joseph Piantadosi), Detective Wino aloofly proclaims, “When I discover who or what is responsible for this, they’re gonna be in big trouble.” A crew then amasses to offload the bodies.

Meanwhile, a reporter, Joe Putzman (Eric Allison), accounts these current events – “the banana murders.” These rash of murders are dubbed so “because of the banana peels usually found at the scene of the crime.” reports Putzman. He nonchalantly continues that the body count, so far, is a whopping “239.” Apparently the bodies were so badly torn apart that it’s hard to discern what pieces which body they belong to. He announces that the body parts have been sorted into plastic bags and that the first viewer to guess how many bodies the bags contain, wins a free Kentucky Chicken dinner. This seems to be a heralded scene in Schlock, for many viewers/reviewers announce its comedic value. Plodding along, a man shrieks “Bananas, bananas.” before expiring.

The film continues on with sequence after sequence of John Landis adorned in a Rick Baker-designed ape-man suit, as he terrorizes the town, killing people by predominantly chucking their bodies in the air. There is no real storyline other than these repetitive, supposedly humorous sequences. He is an ape, or missing link, or The Schlockthropus, as termed by a character by the name of Professor Shlibovitz (Emile Hamaty).

Landis shows his prominent influences herein; his love for Ray Harryhausen, 2001: A Space Odyssey is referenced, there is a scene akin to Frankenstein and the little lake girl, The Schlockthropus attends a screening of The Blob, etcetera. Aside from Landis’s influences, Schlock plays piano in another fruitless scene, and falls for a blind girl who thinks he’s a dog.

The runtime of Schlock is a slim 79-minutes. However, 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. Mind you, I’m a fan of old monster flicks with men in monster suits, so my main praise can really go to the neat looking 1970s-style ape-suit from make-up FX master Rick Baker. Other than that, the film is shot competently for a first-timer…

Fans of foolish, humor will absolutely get a kick out of this one, and as aforementioned it has its own laudation. Landis’s sophomore endeavor, The Kentucky Fried Movie comes to mind, minus any of the sleazy humor and nudity that worked for that one. This film after all was rated PG.

Fans of Schlock are in for a treat with this stellar 2-disc Mediabook release by Turbine Media Group in Germany (limited to 2000). This is a brand new 4K restoration of Schlock and it shows. Presented on a 50GB region free blu-ray at a 1.78:1 widescreen aspect ratio in AVC 1080p, and 23.976fps, the film looks awesome. The source material or restoration process must have been primo because there was little to no print blemishes to be found. For collectors, this Turbine Media Group release is the one to get. The audio is presented in both German and English DTS-HD Master 2.0 mono with optional English and German subtitles. The audio is fine for a film such as this with excellent clarity, it just plays a little flat being mono, which isn’t at all a problem though.

The supplemental features include the previously mentioned ‘apology’ from John Landis. There is a newly shot interview with Landis running 41-minutes. There is an audio commentary from Landis and Rick baker ported from the 2001 Anchor Bay DVD release. There is a “Trailers from Hell” clip featuring John Landis on Schlock, and original theatrical trailers for the The Banana Monster title of the film and original radio spots. Rounding out this release is a great little 21-page bilingual (German, then English) booklet on the film.



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 Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 16:9 1080p HD AVC
  Region: Free
  Audio: English, German, DTS-HD Master 2.0 Mono

  - Exclusive new introduction by creator John Landis
  - Exclusive newly shot interview with John Landis (approx. 41 min.)
  - Vintage audio commentary by John Landis & Monster Maker Rick Baker (from the 2001 Anchor Bay DVD)
  - Trailers from Hell clip: John Landis on Schlock
  - Original trailers (theatrical release, re-release, The Banana Monster title, the original German 35mm trailer, and a new transfer of the German version)
  - Original 1970s radio spots
  - Bilingual edition: menus and booklet in English and German


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