Produced and written by David Zucker, Jim Abrahams, and Jerry Zucker (ZAZ) The Kentucky Fried Movie plays out like an R-rated version of Saturday Night Live. Made up of a series of sketches, some will entertain you, some may miss the mark. A favorite among cult film fans, some regard The Kentucky Fried Movie as the funniest film of all time. I wouldn’t go that far; the folks behind this 1977 film all went on to do even better work. Director John Landis went on to Animal House and The Blues Brothers. Similarly, ZAZ went on to write and produce Airplane!
Fake commercials, fake newscasts, sight gags, and spoofs come at you quickly as The Kentucky Fried Movie seeks to squeeze every laugh it can out of the audience. Appearances by the likes of Donald Sutherland, Bill Bixby, Henry Gibson, and Tony “Wally Cleaver” Dow are mixed in with cameos from the writers, director, makeup effects legend Rick Baker, even onetime James Bond George Lazenby shows up in a memorable—and possibly offensive—skit.
The highlight of the film is its longest segment, “A Fistful of Yen.” A parody of Bruce Lee’s Enter the Dragon, it’s absolutely hilarious no matter how many times I’ve seen it. Other notable sketches include “United Appeal for the Dead” an infomercial on how to keep a dead person around as an active member of the family,” the blaxploitation parody “Cleopatra Schwartz” and the truly odd “Feel-A-Rama.” A few segments, such as a takeoff on disaster films, and one involving Hare Krishna monks, are decidedly dated, but still manage to be worth a laugh.
For those who’ve never seen The Kentucky Fried Movie, the whole thing was made on a shoestring budget of $650, 000 and looks it; no amount of modern computer wizardry would make it look better. Somehow though, that works for a film like this. It’s really what director John Landis is best known for: cheap, silly, fun.
Presented in the 1.85:1 aspect ratio, Shout Factory’s 1080p transfer is likely as good as we could’ve expected. Never a work of art, and partially shot on video, quality varies widely. Most of the filmed segments exhibit acceptable quality, and saturation. Detail is mediocre at best, particularly in long shots. While some grain is present, it was likely accomplished with DNR.
The Kentucky Fried Movie features a DTS-HD Master Audio Mono track delivered via a DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 mix. While it lacks fullness at times, dialogue, and narration come through clearly. There doesn’t appear to be any significant damage.
English subtitles are included.
The following special features are available:
- Commentary with Director John Landis, Writers Jerry Zucker, David Zucker, Jim Abrahams and Producer Robert K. Weiss: In this great commentary, the guys are really honest about how silly the film is, and really have fun with it.
- A Conversation with David and Jerry Zucker (HD, 102:05) The brother’s discuss how the film got made, and various aspects of their successful careers.
- Original Trailer (HD, 2:23)