Schlock (1973)

SCHLOCK (1973)
Article 2291 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 7-3-2007
Posting Date: 11-20-2007
Directed by John Landis
Featuring John Landis, Saul Kahan, Joseph Piantadosi

A missing link is on a homicidal rampage in a small community. The monster falls for a beautiful woman who mistook him for a dog when she was blind.

I quite like this, the first movie by director John Landis. It’s a parody of any number of monster-on-the-loose films, and there are several likable qualities to it. First of all, Landis himself gives a good performance in the title role; he manages to give some priceless reactions despite being buried in a Rick Baker missing link costume, and he shows some good comic timing. I also like the casual, laid-back feel of the movie; instead of putting forth its slapstick with a Three Stooges-like mayhem style, he adopts the quieter, more deliberate slapstick stylings of Laurel and Hardy; a scene in which Schlock takes revenge on a reckless driver by taking his car to pieces feels as if it belongs in one of those Stan-and-Ollie tit-for-tat confrontations. 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. Also, Landis lets some of the sequences drag on too long, which is especially problematic when the gag doesn’t work in the first place; the scene where the blind girl keeps making Schlock play fetch is unfunny and unending. Still, Landis obviously loves the genre, and Forry Ackerman and Donald F. Glut pop up as movie patrons (watching THE BLOB , DINOSAURUS , and DAUGHTER OF HORROR , which is a movie within a movie within a movie). It’s a pity we didn’t get to see any of SEE YOU NEXT WEDNESDAY. Always listen to the background music and pay attention to any posters you see. Though this is hardly a great movie, it’s easy to see how Landis would go on to a successful career as a director of comedies.

 

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