Starring: John Belushi; Tim Matheson; Peter Riegert; Verna Bloom;
Director: John Landis
Distributor: Universal Studio
Schoolboy humour doesn’t mature much at college – it only gets R rated. That’s the distinct message you get while watching the 1978 cult comedy Animal House. At the oh-so-refined Omega House, home coming queens are protecting their personal hygiene by giving hand jobs wearing latex gloves while over at Delta it’s an all out orgy with Toga parties being the order of the day. The latter is the fraternity best described by the title of the film and among its members is the inimitable John Belushi as ‘Bluto’ who squashes beer cans onto his forehead and impersonates zits for kicks. There’s also the suave Eric ‘Otter’ Stratton (Tim Matheson) who makes cucumber comparisons in the supermarket with the Deans’ wife and Boon (Peter Riegert) who does his best to hold a relationship together with the help of a giant dildo.
Not surprisingly Delta gets put on ‘double secret probation’ and finally booted off campus for their slack arsed approach to education. In a stirring speech before the student court, ‘Otter’ turns their dismissal into an attack on the entire American nation but the Dean is unrepentant and the decrepit house is evicted. Things look hopeless until ‘Bluto’ rallies the troops back into action; “Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbour?” he cries. He might not have attended his history lectures but ‘Bluto’ kindles a tiny flame and before you can say “mayhem” the animals are unleashed once more.
John Landis directed this crazed, B-grade outing a year after The Kentucky Fried Movie and two years before The Blues Brothers, a film that also famously starred Belushi and it’s his performance, full of wry eyebrow raising and endearing grossness that makes this 25th Anniversary DVD so enjoyable. There’s a bonus ‘Where Are They Now’ mockumentary in which Landis tracks down the likes of Marion Wormer (Verna Bloom) who’s been propping up the bar ever since those halcyon days and Chip Diller (Kevin Bacon) who was inducted into Omega by assuming the position for a good spanking and now sees Jesus in his food.
Rumour has it that the University of Oregon provided the main location because the Principle had previously turned down the makers of The Graduate and he wanted to make amends. After seeing the film he might have wished that he hadn’t because it set the standard for bad behaviour. You might groan at the gags but then again, you might just get a giggle from the silliness too.
National Lampoon’s Animal House was rejected by Warner Brothers and now, having made about thirty five times its original budget, is a proud Universal release.Get NLAH