There has been a rash of murders in Southern California that are being called the banana murders. The most recent is the annihilation of the Canyon Valley Metaphysical Bowling Society’s annual picnic. The entire park was strewn with dead bodies and banana peels. The person in charge of the case is Detective Sergeant Wino (Saul Kahan). Currently he has no clues, other than the banana peels, and no suspects.
Meanwhile Billy (Gene Fox), Betty (Susan Weiser-Finley), Bobby (Jonathan Flint), and Barbara (Amy Schireson) are walking in the country when they stumble on some banana peels and a cave. Billy decides to investigate the cave. He comes across an ape-man. The ape-man kills Billy. Bobby hears Billy’s screams and goes to see what is wrong. He too is killed. Betty and Barbara go to the police department and report what happened, to Sergeant Wino.
While Betty and Barbara are telling their story the ape-man leaves the cave opening. Sergeant Wino and his officers surround the now empty entrance to the cave. Wino calls in Professor Shlibovitz (Emile Hamaty). Shlibovitz believes the creature is the missing link and had been in hibernation for millions of years. He refers to the creature as a Schlock (John Landis).
Schlock creates more havoc as the police continue to search for it.
“Schlock” was released in 1973 and was written and directed by John Landis. It is a low budget American comedy horror parody film and part of the subgenre gorillasploitation. It is Landis’ first directorial project. The Make-up was done by Rick Baker and is one of his earliest projects as well.
The movie is one of those films that you either love or hate. It contains every horror and gorilla movie trope known as well as tons of movie references. There are many vignettes in the story that are supposed to be comedy skits. I found it unfunny and boring, but the cult faction loved it.
One of the props in the film is a gorilla mask that Sergeant Wino wears to lure Schlock. The mask was one from “The Planet of the Apes” 1968. Landis tried to get a professional gorilla guy to play Schlock but they wanted too much money, so he donned the outfit himself.
Rumor has it Landis wanted to make an adult movie, but he would have had to deal with the mob, so he went for comedy instead. He had trouble finding a distributor for the film until Johnny Carson saw it and loved it. He had Landis come on his program and showed clips of the movie. Jack Harris then agreed to distribute the film. He also let Landis insert some clips from “Dinosaurus!” 1950, and “The Blob” 1958.
Science fiction editor Forrest J. Ackerman and make-up artist Rick Baker have cameo appearances.