The Kentucky Fried Movie (1977)

the kentucky fried movie

“This is Buttkiss, Klahn’s bodyguard — he is tough and ruthless. This is Kwong, Klahn’s chauffeur — he is rough and toothless. ”

The Scoop: 1997 R, directed by John Landis and starring Marilyn Joi, Colin Male, David Zucker, and Ed Griffith

Tagline: This movie is totally out of control!

Summary Capsule: SNL skits go R-rated (and sometimes, X-rated)

Justin’s rating: Every Saga Has A Dirty Little Secret

Justin’s review: Before Airplane!, before The Naked Gun, before Hot Shots!, and even before the climactic event of the last two thousand years (BASEketball), there came a movie that launched the entire genre of spoofball parodies. (Although, much can be argued for the influence of the Monty Python shows and films as well.) While The Kentucky Fried Movie isn’t so much a movie than, say, a scrapbook of moderately funny ideas and jokes, it’s a landmark more for what it started than what it was.

The Kentucky Fried Movie was written by the soon-to-be-famous Zucker-Abrahams-Zucker trio (David, Jim, and Jerry, if you need to know their first names; Methuselah, Gorbie, and Lilac, if you need to know their middle names). Like Monty Python’s Meaning of Life, Kentucky Friend Movie is a loosely-affiliated series of comedy sketches, ranging from the sitcomesque to the grossly strange. It’s a bit shocking exactly how raunchy and outrageous this film can get considering that it was released at the end of an era where polyester, earth tones, and driftwood furniture had all but pummeled the world into a mindless stupor.

The sketches range from fake newscasts to wacky-tacky commercials a martial arts flick parody (the longest and most tedious section of the movie). There’s no one theme or connecting bridge between them all, which makes it a perfect candidate for those with a limited ability to pay attention, such as if you’re a small child gobbling lots of sugar, or a responsible adult fighting a spreading home fire.

Gawk! at the outrageous seventies hairstyles. Tremble! as wits sharper than yours stab from beyond the screen. Guffaw! when Big Jim visits. Run! when you assassinate the President in the exciting board game. Watch! as Justin can’t think of anything else to say.

The Warning Signs Of Death
The Warning Signs Of Death

Intermission!

  • Both Tony Dow and Jerry Mathers were approached about reprising their roles as Wally and the Beaver (from “Leave It to Beaver”) for the courtroom sketch. Jerry Mathers declined.
  • Because of the low budget and poor funding, the movie was shot with a variety of different cameras at any locations that were available, and using actors willing to work for near-nothing paychecks. Likewise, in order to offset the potential of the few investors pulling out due to objectionable material, the less-offensive portions were filmed first, saving the raunchy stuff for last, or just plain keeping it hidden until the last minute. The end credits (proclaiming “in order of appearance” and then beginning with cast members introduced 2/3 of the way into the movie) are actually the order in which the skits were supposed to appear; the makers ran out of money and couldn’t afford to create new ones.
  • The Coca-Cola product placement
  • The news reporter picking his nose
  • The animal shirt the lady on the newscast is wearing
  • That poor shower door
  • Feel-around films… that’s cool!
  • The Deep Throat references
  • Okay, if you need an audio guide for sex, you really have problems
  • Armageddon never looked so fun!
  • Cats are good when fried
  • The evening news gets girls hot
  • In the “Feel-a-rama” movie theatre, there is a poster advertising Schlock, also directed by John Landis.

Groovy Quotes

[Master Klahn decapitates a prisoner.]
Klahn: Now take him to be tortured!

Pennington: This is Buttkiss, Klahn’s bodyguard – he is tough and ruthless. This is Kwong, Klahn’s chauffeur – he is rough and toothless.

Newscaster: Moscow in flames, missiles headed for New York. More at eleven.

Narrator: Never before has the beauty of the sexual act been so crassly exploited!

Claude LaMont: I live ze unknown, I love ze unknown, I am ze unknown
Paul Burmaster: Where do you live?
Claude LaMont: Zat… is unknown. I do not know.

Pennington: These are the Hartz Mountains of Asia. A terrain so rugged, so treacherous, no country will claim it.
Asquith: Worse then Detroit?
Pennington: I’m afraid so.

Dr. Klahn: The CIA thinks they can infiltrate the Mountain of Dr. Klahn!
CIA Agent: You can’t scare me, you slant-eyed yellow bastard.
Dr. Klahn: Take him to . . . Detroit!
CIA Agent: No! No, not Detroit! No! No, please! Anything but that! No! No!

Husband: Well, what’s our little skeptic doing today?
Housewife: She’s frying the cat in pure Wesson oil. (cat screams)

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