The Curator of Schlock #384 by Jeff Shuster


Now that’s a movie title!

I was stumbling around the town of Mooseville in the Canadian Province of Saskatchewan searching for my lost kangaroo, Edwige. I made my way to the festival in the town square, some kind Canadian Thanksgiving celebration. The whole scene reminded me of something out of The Wicker Man, everyone wearing moose masks and moose leggings over their jeans. The revelry stopped when a horn blew in the distance. — To be continued.

Tonight’s Arrow Home Video release is 1973’s Schlock from director John Landis. What! What? A movie called Schlock! How can this be? Well, it just is. This movie is a bit of comedy gem as it features an ape named Schlock running rampant in a suburban neighborhood. What more can you ask for in a movie?

What’s the plot? Police are dumbfounded when piles of dead bodies turn up. A Detective Sgt. Wino (Saul Kahan) has no idea what he’s doing and admits so freely to a reporter named Joe Putzman (Eric Allison). The bodies are gathered up in Hefty trash bags and, naturally, a contest is held. Viewers are asked to guess the number of dead bodies in those plastic bags. The closest to the actual number will receive a free chicken dinner from the Colonel!

Some teenagers investigate an underground cave and get attacked by Schlock, an ape-like creature which is just John Landis in an ape suit, but who cares? The gorilla suit is one of the greatest Hollywood inventions. Why do you need an actual gorilla when you can have an actor in a gorilla suit? I should buy a gorilla suit. I could go around town wreaking as much havoc as I want and no one would blame me.

Putzman interviews Professor Shlibovitz (Emile Hamaty), a prehistoricologist. He rambles on about a prehistoric ape creature that existed eons ago. This interview is happening while Schlock emerges right into frame. Shlibovitz goes to explore the cave while Putzman interviews Schlock. Somehow Putzman doesn’t see Schlock as a killer ape. That assessment changes when Schlock rips his arm off.

Schlock busts into a trailer and eats an entire chocolate cake while washing it all down with a carton of milk. He breaks into a convenience store when he sees they sell bananas. Schlock accosts a local hippies soon after. I think my favorite scene in the movie is when Schlock sits down next to a blind piano player and starts bopping his head to the rock ’n’ roll tune. There’s another funny scene where Schlock is in a movie theater and tall people keep sitting down in front of him, blocking his view.

Did I mention there’s a love story in this movie? Schlock falls hard for a young blind woman named Mindy (Eliza Roberts) who mistakes him for a dog before she gets her eyesight back. Long story short, the situation evolves into a King Kong scenario with Schlock holding her captive above a department store. The movie promises a sequel, Son of Schlock, before the end credits roll, but sadly, such a movie never materialized. Anyway, check out Schlock if you need some joyous humor in your life. Happy New Year!

Photo by Leslie Salas

Jeff Shuster (episode 47episode 102episode 124episode 131episode 284episode 441episode 442episode 443, episode 444episode 450, episode 477, episode 491, episode 492, episode 493, episode 495, and episode 496) is an MFA graduate from the University of Central Florida.