Plot: A rash of brutal murders has left the police baffled, with no leads or suspects in the least. The death toll has reached an astronomical number in just three short weeks, but aside from the bodies and banana peels, no evidence is left behind. As such, the police are left in the dark and the public is scared to death, of this beast known as The Banana Killer. But when some goofy teens manage to stumble into a dark cave, they encounter the killer and he lashes out at the interlopers. The two surviving teens scramble back to town and alert the police, who dispatch some men and cars, to seal off the area and capture this ruthless killer, at last. But we all know that life can involve some real twists and before long, the killer, known as Schlockthropus has fallen in love with a local blind girl, who has no idea she is with a prehistoric ape. Can this unusual, but deep romance work out in a world like ours, or is it doomed to fail, simply due to the murderous ape and his antics?
Entertainment Value: Schlock was John Landis’ first feature film and he crafts here a love letter to classic b movies, paying tribute to those pioneers in the most authentic way possible, by making his own b movie. The most memorable part of the movie is the ape suit, which looks fantastic and was created by special effects wizard Rick Baker. The suit is so good it makes you take Schlock a little more seriously, as it adds immense polish to an otherwise low rent production. The narrative here is silly and doesn’t try to do much, just set up some laughs and various escapades for the ape man to revel in, but the pace is a little inconsistent. This is because even at about 80 minutes, the premise is stretched thin and some stretches are slow, drawn out, and not much fun. 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.
The movie features an ape man copping a feel on a blind girl, but no sexual content or nudity, this is wholesome schlock, after all! There is some blood involved, but it is more for comedic value that shock value, looking like ketchup and squirted on people after the ape man’s attacks. So expect to see some bodies sprayed with the red stuff, but there’s no gore or graphic violence here. But it is an absolute blast to watch the ape man go bananas and slap people around, as it done in such a goofy, over the top fashion that never fails to entertain. The dialogue is ridiculous and outlandish, to the point that even if the jokes aren’t funny, they’re so over the top and silly, they still get a laugh at least most of the time. The news reporter segments are a personal favorite, but I think there is consistently fun dialogue throughout this one. If you’re a fan of wacky lines, you can pick up some good quotable moments in Schlock. On the craziness end of things, the movie is pure wackiness from start to finish and rarely makes sense, so it earns some solid points in this department.
Overall Insanity: 5/10
The Disc: Turbine Media Group has given the film a new HD treatment and it looks excellent, much better than the old DVD release. The print looks restored and cleaner than ever, with immense clarity and fine detail, if you’ve suffered through older versions, you will be blown back here. The extras start with an audio commentary from Landis and Rick Baker, who provide all kinds of insight into the shoot, while Landis returns in a forty minute interview featurette to go even more in depth, so a lot of details are uncovered in these pieces. You can also check out an introduction from Landis, radio spots, and a host of theatrical trailers.