Every Halloween, the trees are filled with underwear. Every spring, the toilets explode.”
So begins Dean Wormer’s weary lamentation of the gleeful, booze-drenched last-daysof- Rome debauchery at the heart of Animal House.
John Landis’ film is the wellspring from which all subsequent anti-establishment gross-out flicks – Police Academy, Bachelor Party, American Pie et al – drank deeply from.
As scriptwriter Chris Miller, upon whose semi-autobiographical campus stories from National Lampoon magazine this was largely based, explains in the extras, the Lampoon team had never written a movie before. And Animal House can come across as more an assemblage of skits than an actual narrative at times.
But there’s a deadpan sensibility beneath the drunken mayhem. The passage of time also lends it a glow of nostalgia for an era of toga parties, dope-smoking lecturers and pranks involving dead animals.
If this brushed-up Blu-ray represents anything, it's a tribute not so much to director John Landis but its star, John Belushi. In House, he plays gormless, slapstick pig John ‘Bluto’ Blutarsky, a mashed-potato-spraying, Viking-helmeted force of nature. Belushi owns the screen throughout.