John Landis - Rotten Tomatoes

John Landis

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With as much monkeying-around as his movies frequently display, it should come as no surprise to John Landis fans that one of his earliest inspirations as a filmmaker was the original 1933 version of King Kong. The man behind such carefree comedies as Animal House, Landis has also helped to blur the lines between comedy and horror with such efforts as An American Werewolf in London and Innocent Blood, in addition to crafting such fine-tined social satire as Trading Places. Born in Chicago in August of 1950, Landis originally worked in the mailroom at Fox and later as a stuntman before making a name for himself as a director. Landis was in his early twenties when he decided it was time to make a feature, and after a brief flirtation with the idea of crafting an underground porn film, the aspiring director raised the funding needed for his directorial debut from family and friends. The result of his tireless efforts was the relentlessly juvenile but infectiously silly Schlock (aka The Banana Monster [1973]). Featuring the director himself dressed in a cheap monkey costume (designed by frequent collaborator Rick Baker) and terrorizing a California town, the film opened a door for Landis when David Zucker spotted him discussing the film on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. Mentioning to friend Robert Weiss that he was impressed with the young filmmaker's energy, Weiss remarked that he was friends with Landis, and the result was The Kentucky Fried Movie (1977). A dream collaboration in anarchic humor, the wildly irreverent, non sequitur humor of The Kentucky Fried Movie struck a chord with audiences fueled on Saturday Night Live, and natural progression lead to the breakthrough comedy Animal House the following year. Based on the writer's college exploits and shot in a mere 28 days, Animal House proved an unmitigated smash hit at the box office despite nearly unanimous critical denouncement. Though critical evisceration would become a trademark of Landis films, the following decade found the now-established director in his prime. Given free reign over his next film by Universal, rumors still persist that The Blues Brothers was the first film in cinematic history to begin production without a finalized budget. A loud and spectacular collage of driving blues music and eye-popping car crashes, the film not only made the world record for the number of cars crashed in a movie, but proved an even bigger hit than Animal House. For his next film, Landis utilized a script he had penned while in Yugoslavia working as a gofer on Kelly's Heroes in 1969. Though An American Werewolf in London may not have been the first horror film to utilize comedy, its truly terrifying scenes contrasted by an ample dose of dark humor proved the spark that would ignite the horror comedy genre later expanded on by the likes of Sam Raimi and Peter Jackson. Yet another runaway hit at the box office, An American Werewolf in London's shockingly frightful visuals earned makeup artist Baker the first ever Academy Award to be bestowed upon a special effects artist. As successful as Landis' career had been to date, trouble was on the way when filming of Twilight Zone: The Movie was ground to a halt following the accidental on-set death of star Vic Morrow and two juvenile actors. When special effects caused a helicopter to crash, killing all three passengers instantly, the director, as well as three other technicians who were working on the film, were charged with involuntary manslaughter. Though all would eventually be found not guilty in the case, the trial would drag on for a decade. Despite the tragedy that beset the production of Twilight Zone, Landis would score a massive hit that same year by wolfing it up with pop-superstar Michael Jackson as the director of Thriller. The remainder of the 1980s found Landis scoring mild box-office hits with such efforts as Spies Like Us (1985) and Three Amigios! (1986), though it wasn't until Coming to America (1988) that he w

Highest Rated Movies

Filmography

MOVIES

RATING TITLE CREDIT BOX OFFICE YEAR
80% Out of Print
  • Actor
2016
No Score Yet Blast Vegas
  • Actor
2013
No Score Yet Trespassing Bergman
  • Actor
2013
No Score Yet Action Pack: Clue Quote-along
  • Screenwriter
2013
No Score Yet King Of Clip
  • Director
2012
No Score Yet Attack of the 50ft Cheerleader
  • Actor
2012
91% Ray Harryhausen: Special Effects Titan
  • Actor
2011
32% Burke and Hare
  • Director
$947 2011
90% Some Guy Who Kills People
  • Executive Producer
2011
86% American Grindhouse
  • Actor
2010
88% Machete Maidens Unleashed!
  • Actor
2010
No Score Yet Beware the Moon: Remembering 'An American Werewolf in London'
  • Actor
2009
No Score Yet Starz Inside
  • Actor
2009
No Score Yet Ladies or Gentlemen
  • Executive Producer
2009
80% Mr. Warmth: The Don Rickles Project
  • Producer
  • Director
2008
No Score Yet Fantastic Flesh
  • Actor
2008
60% Look
  • Himself
2007
100% Spine Tingler: The William Castle Story
  • Actor
2007
No Score Yet Starz Inside: Bloodsucking Cinema
  • Actor
2007
No Score Yet The Sci-Fi Boys
  • Participants
2006
No Score Yet Masters of Horror
  • Director
2006
67% Edgar G. Ulmer: The Man Off-Screen
  • Actor
2005
No Score Yet Masters of Horror
  • Director
  • Screenwriter
2005
15% Surviving Eden
  • Dr. Levine
2004
94% Spider-Man 2
  • Doctor
$373.4M 2004
80% Slasher
  • Director
2004
No Score Yet Where Are They Now?: A Delta Alumni Update
  • Actor
2003
No Score Yet Masters of Horror
  • Actor
2002
67% The American Nightmare
  • Actor
2001
No Score Yet Susan's Plan
  • Director
  • Producer
2000
No Score Yet Monster by Moonlight! The Immortal Saga of 'The Wolf Man'
  • Actor
1999
26% Diamonds
  • Gambler
1999
30% Freeway 2: Confessions of a Trickbaby (Freeway II: Confessions of a Trickbaby)
  • Judge
1999
No Score Yet The Yearbook: An 'Animal House' Reunion
  • Actor
1998
No Score Yet Laws of Deception
  • The Judge
1998
37% Mad City
  • Doctor
1997
47% Blues Brothers 2000
  • Director
  • Screenwriter
  • Producer
1997
No Score Yet Quicksilver Highway
  • Surgical Assistant
1997
No Score Yet The Munsters' Scary Little Christmas
  • Executive Producer
1996
21% The Stupids
  • Director
1996
No Score Yet Vampirella
  • Astronaut
1996
No Score Yet Here Come the Munsters
  • Producer
1995
86% Who Is Henry Jaglom?
  • Actor
1995
0% The Silence of the Hams
  • FBI Agent
1994
10% Beverly Hills Cop III
  • Director
1994
No Score Yet Venice/Venice
  • Himself
1992
41% Innocent Blood
  • Director
1992
15% Stephen King's 'Sleepwalkers'
  • Lab Technician
1992
No Score Yet Body Chemistry II: Voice of a Stranger
  • Dr. Edwards
1991
No Score Yet Psycho IV: The Beginning
  • Actor
1991
13% Oscar
  • Director
1991
No Score Yet Spontaneous Combustion
  • Radio Technician
1990
83% Darkman
  • Physician
1990
69% Coming to America
  • Director
1988
63% Amazon Women on the Moon
  • Screenwriter
  • Executive Producer
  • Director
$0.6M 1987
44% Three Amigos!
  • Screenwriter
  • Director
1986
No Score Yet Stephen King's World of Horror
  • Actor
1986
62% Clue
  • Executive Producer
  • Producer
  • Screenwriter
1985
35% Spies Like Us
  • Director
  • Screenwriter
1985
41% Into the Night
  • Savak Agent
  • Screenwriter
  • Director
1985
81% The Muppets Take Manhattan
  • Actor
1984
No Score Yet Thriller
  • Director
1983
65% Twilight Zone: The Movie
  • Director
  • Screenwriter
  • Producer
1983
86% Trading Places
  • Director
1983
No Score Yet Coming Soon
  • Director
1983
89% An American Werewolf in London
  • Screenwriter
  • Director
1981
85% The Blues Brothers
  • Screenwriter
  • Director
1980
33% 1941
  • Mizerany
1979
91% National Lampoon's Animal House
  • Actor
1978
80% The Kentucky Fried Movie
  • Actor
  • Director
1977
60% Schlock
  • Director
  • The SchlockthropusSchlock
  • Screenwriter
1973
36% Battle For The Planet Of The Apes
  • Jake's friend
1973

TV

RATING TITLE CREDIT YEAR
No Score Yet Face Off
2011
  • Judge
  • 2017
No Score Yet Franklin & Bash
2011-2014
  • Director
  • 2012
No Score Yet The Boondocks
2005-2014
  • Voice
  • 2010
No Score Yet Psych
2006-2014
  • Director
  • 2008
  • 2007

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