John Landis: “I’m always taking great pride in the fact that—I hope—I don’t have a style of my own”

As an eighteen-year-old, John Landis (b. 1950) got a job in the mailroom at 20th Century Fox, only after he had his hair cut and promised to wear a tie. Most of the legendary filmmakers he met in those days, like George Stevens, Alfred Hitchcock, William Wyler, and Billy Wilder, were all still alive—and working—and they had been in films since the silents, so he had this amazing wealth of experience to draw on. ‘I started working at Fox when they were making “Hello, Dolly!” They were doing “Beneath the Planet of the Apes” and George Cukor was there directing “Justine.” The lot was filled with actors and extras, all in different kinds of costumes. You had the showgirls, the African natives, the spacemen; they were all there—just like when you see them in those old documentaries about the Hollywood studios. The Fox backlot was a very unique and exciting place. It is Century City now, but back then, it was just so fabulous, with jungles, rocket ships, railroad stations… You name it, they had it!’ Mr. Landis says enthusiastically in an extremely lively conversation, filled with laughter and some occasional cursing.

Meeting with Mr. Landis was a pretty unique experience since he—as a true film buff—breathes film all the way. Movies are his way of living: he’s a film encyclopedia on his own, passionate about film as anyone you’d ever wish to talk to about his craft and about the history of American cinema.

From the Fox mailroom, he worked his way up to become one of the most prominent filmmakers of his generation with several blockbuster hit movies in the 1970s and 1980s, and in between, he directed Michael Jackson in his “Thriller” (1983) and “Black or White” (1991) music videos. But first, let’s go back to his early days at Fox.

So Mr. Landis, you met with all those awesome and influential screen veterans like George Stevens when you were even still a teenager?

Yes! George Stevens was making his final movie, “The Only Game in Town” [1970] with Elizabeth Taylor and Warren Beatty. It took place in Las Vegas, they shot it in Paris because of Miss Taylor’s tax situation, but they also did a few things on the Fox lot. So all of a sudden, there I saw George Stevens walking to the commissary, and I said to him, ‘Excuse me, Mr. Stevens.’ ‘Yeah?!’ ‘I’m sorry, but I’m such an admirer of yours.’ He then looked at me and asked, ‘You’re such an admirer of me? How old are you?’ ‘I’m seventeen.’ ‘What? You’re seventeen, and you’re an admirer of mine? Name five films I directed.’ So I went “Alice Adams” [1935], “A Place in the Sun” [1951], “Shane” [1953], “Giant” [1956], “The Diary of Anne Frank” [1959], and “The Greatest Story Ever Told” [1965]. Then he asked, ‘Have you seen those movies?’ I said, ‘Yes sir. And I know that you started as a cameraman, and you worked with Laurel and Hardy.’ And then he said, ‘You’re so young, and you’re not even French!’ [Laughs.] It was so funny! Back then, I didn’t know what it meant of course, to him I was just this young American jerk. Anyway, that was my encounter with George Stevens.

The cover of “Giant: George Stevens, a Life on Film” (2004) by Marilyn Ann Moss. Publisher: The University of Wisconsin Press, Madison, Wisconsin

And now, with your latest feature, “Burke and Hare,” you seem to be drawn to England to make movies there again. What’s the attraction?

Well, I’m drawn to anywhere that I’m offered a job, and I like the country a lot. They speak English over there; it’s a big advantage for me.

Were you in any way influenced by the Ealing comedies?

Well, the great Ealing comedies were all very dark. My favorite is “Kind Hearts and Coronets” [1949] which is a very witty film about a serial killer, and in another one of them, “The Ladykillers” [1955, both starring Alec Guinness], the entire cast has murdered one another by the end of the film. Have you ever seen “The Man in the White Suit” [1951], this one is just great. I mean, they made real dark comedies. After Ealing went out of business, their very small studio—only three or four soundstages—was used by the BBC. It was there that they shot all the Monty Python television shows [1969-1974]. About ten years ago a man bought it as a real estate deal, and now they’re using the studio again to make movies. And when I met this man, he told me he got a script he wanted me to read. What attracted me in “Burke and Hare,” was that those men were absolutely despicable, terrible, really loathsome people. It’s completely inappropriate material for a romantic comedy. So the challenge was to take those villains and make them likable. I know that’s perverted, but it was a challenge.

Did you also shoot in the Ealing studio?

Yes, but only for one day: the interior of the prison was the only set we used there. All the rest was shot on location.

So you accepted this script because it was a challenge. Are there any other standards you might use to make a movie?

First of all, somebody has to give you the money to make it. There are a lot of good scripts out there. You know, a script is a strange thing: it’s a bastard because it’s not literature, and it’s not a film. I have seen very great screenplays made into terrible movies, and I’ve seen terrible screenplays made into great films. Ultimately, the director is the one who is making the film. A lot of great screenwriters became directors—Billy Wilder and Preston Sturges became directors because they were so upset when they saw what was done to their scripts. But for me, it depends. I just care if the script is good. I read a lot of stuff, and a lot of it is bad. On the one hand, I’m lucky; I have made a lot of movies and a lot of them made a lot of money. So I don’t have to work. But on the other hand, it’s frustrating because if you want to try anything risky, it’s very difficult. The studios are very conservative; it’s all about presales, marketing, franchising, and serials now. Filmmaking has become an international corporate business, the bottom line is totally different now, so there are only very few directors left, like Steven Spielberg, George Lucas, and Clint Eastwood, who still make movies like we all did in the 1970s and 1980s. But the studios don’t make small pictures anymore, because their films have to play all over the world. No wonder you get the “Spider-Man” and “Transformers” kind of movies. Some of them are very good though, like the “Harry Potter” movies which I love. It’s a different time now, and the films reflect it.

You talk about marketing. How big an issue is it?

Everything has to do with marketing! And I understand that: the cost of marketing a movie now is so huge that they don’t want to take a risk. When a studio makes a movie, it has to open in Buenos Aires, and Bruges, and Tokyo—and it needs to make money, so the audience has to show up. Consequently, marketing a movie is so prohibitively expensive now. Take, for example, “The King’s Speech” [2010]. The movie cost about nine million dollars to make, a very inexpensive movie made in the U.K. But Harvey Weinstein spent like thirty-five million dollars in the United States to promote it, and he’ll make a nice return, but it’s not enough for a studio. At the end of the day, he might make fifteen or twenty million dollars. You might think that’s a lot, but not for a studio; that’s nothing. Keep in mind that Warner Bros. is one percent of Time Warner, and Columbia is just a small portion of Sony. These are massive multinational companies that own the studios, and that’s a real problem.

Would you be able to run a studio?

If I wouldn’t have to make a profit, sure! The studios are all run by businesses, and there’s nobody in charge. There are layers and layers—it’s like committees. It’s very difficult to make movies that way. I mean, last year “The Social Network” [2010] came out, it was great, and it’s amazing, almost like a miracle that this picture came through. But in the 1970s and 1980s, Hollywood made so many great movies like that, “Midnight Cowboy” [1969], “Network” [1976]—there were just so many great movies, most of which no studio would make now. A few years after I had made “Animal House” [1978], Costa-Gavras made “Missing” [1982] for Universal, with Jack Lemmon. A great film; there’s no studio that would even touch that movie now. And talking about marketing, look at what is happening in France. I was in Paris recently for my movie; there are over two hundred and forty French films made every year. So what happens is this: they don’t have enough theaters! That’s a problem. Another problem is, and this is international, if your film doesn’t reach its audience within its first three days, you’re out of there. I have made a lot of movies that made more money in their second or third weekend. That can’t happen anymore. So it’s a very difficult thing. I wish there was an easy answer, but there isn’t. Having a star in your movie can help your movie at the box office, but then what? Someone told me this morning, ‘Well, you worked with big stars, you worked with Eddie Murphy and John Belushi?’ And I said, ‘Yes, but none of those people were big stars when I first worked with them.’

As a director, when you work with stars like Eddie Murphy, how do you keep these people with such big personalities controlled and constrained?

When I made “Trading Places” [1983], Eddie Murphy was fabulous and very unsophisticated when it came to acting, but he’s just unbelievably gifted; he’s a genius mimic. He was great, and we had a great time. Five years later, we did “Coming to America.” Things had changed by then, but he’s not stupid. He did what I asked him to do. But I don’t know what had happened to him; we had a terrible fall-out when we did that movie. I’ve also worked with Sylvester Stallone and a lot of other big stars, and they do all what you ask them to do.

What about Michael Jackson when you did “Thriller” and “Black or White”?

He was fabulous. Did you ever see ‘The Making of “Thriller”’ [1983]? That was very accurate; it was like working with a brilliant ten-year-old. I liked Michael; he was a hard worker and very professional. I’ve seen him many times performing live, and I can tell you, he was the greatest entertainer I have ever seen. I worked with everybody from Paul McCartney to James Brown—they all were giants, so amazingly talented, and you can’t teach talent. And Michael, he was a slender little guy, you could put your arm around him just like that, but when he was performing, you could not take our eyes off him. So much power!

Do you know what makes someone a ‘star’?

I don’t. There are so many stars, and I don’t even understand why they’re stars… You want to hear my theory? [Laughs.] Just look at the films made in Hollywood from 1924 for so many decades. They were so extraordinary! MGM made over fifty features a year for thirty-five years; Paramount made fifty features a year for forty years, Fox had sixty features a year. It’s unbelievable! And they were so good! Even a lot of the bad ones were very well made! And you know why they made such great films? Movies are only a hundred years old, it’s a brand-new business, and when they began making movies, the U.S. had about four thousand legit theaters—vaudeville, burlesque, music hall. You had these people like the Marx Brothers who performed for many years on stage. Groucho made his first movie when he was about forty years old; by then, he had spent over thirty years on stage. W.C. Fields—the same thing. Marie Dressler was almost fifty when she first appeared on the screen with Charlie Chaplin [in 1914]. Can you imagine?! Those people had these layers of the profession. When you look at people like Bob Hope, George Burns and all those guys, they could sing, they could dance, they could play an instrument, they could do comedy and drama—and that kind of training is gone. That experience is gone. I have worked with a lot of Hollywood actors from the Golden Age; they’re such a pleasure. William Holden and those guys; you have no idea how wonderful they all were. They never tripped on a cable, they always hit their mark, and they were always very camera-wise. Now, I think the best training is probably television because actors who come out of television series have a lot of experience with the camera. But if I would have made a movie in 1960 and I needed a leading man, look at my choices! If I make a movie now, the choices are more limited. But sure, there’s always real talent. I made a movie once, “Oscar” [1991] with Sylvester Stallone, and everybody who saw the movie and liked it, would never go out and see Stallone. We did a preview of the movie and someone wrote on the card, ‘Why didn’t he take his shirt off and kill anybody?’ [Laughs.] But we had an extraordinary cast; we had Kirk Douglas, Don Ameche, and a girl who had never been in a movie before: Marisa Tomei. She was so extremely great from the first day! And what had she done before? Practically nothing! Now, that’s talent. She was so unbelievably good.

Do you think you got a specific style of your own?

I’m always taking great pride in the fact that—I hope—I don’t have a style of my own. If you look at “The Blues Brothers” [1980], “Trading Places” [1983], or “Thriller” [1983], I hope people won’t say, ‘Those are made by the same director.’ Directors get typed very easily, just like actors. I always wanted to avoid that, and that’s why I tried to make very different films—one film totally different from the other. But the job of a director, whether you’re doing a comedy, a horror film, a musical—any genre really—the job is exactly the same: you try to tell your story as good as possible. I really don’t care about the genre when I’m making a film. Let me tell you something, I wrote “An American Werewolf in London” in 1969, but I made the film twelve years later. Why did it take me that long? People didn’t know what it was all about: was it funny, a comedy, or was it scary—a horror movie? I wanted it to be funny, but I don’t think it’s a comedy at all. It’s not a happy story; it’s a very tragic story. So when I do a film, the genre is of no importance to me. The story you’re trying to tell is what matters. Also, if you talk about genre films, most horror films are exploitation. The reason that so many directors, including myself, get started in exploitation is because that’s where the money is. Exploitation means you have an idea you can exploit, like a monster, for example. But you will always need a story; you don’t get anywhere if your movie is not in support of a story.

With your background and your experience, what advice would you give to young filmmakers?

I don’t have to give advice. Anyone can make a film now. I remember when I was a teenager, it was very difficult to make movies. We had to make 8mm or 16mm movies, those were expensive. And now, with the new technologies, you can make a feature film for two hundred dollars. You can edit it on your laptop; it’s extraordinary. And the truth is, if you’re talented, you’ll be noticed. You know, from the beginning of cinema, from Thomas Edison to Georges Méliès, it’s always been called the movie business, or the industry. It’s never been called a craft! So it has always been about profit. So even now, what’s a good movie? In the real world, a good movie is one that makes a lot of money. But we know that really good movies fail all the time, and really bad movies are giant hits. But those directors get more money and go on. That’s just not fair. So to get back to your question: my only true advice to filmmakers would be, ‘Make films.’ Do you know the filmmaker Costa-Gavras? He’s my best friend. His wife Michèle [Michèle Ray-Gavras] is a producer and had a movie in competition in Cannes a couple of years ago. My wife [costume designer Deborah Nadoolman] was a member of the jury, so I also came to Cannes, and Costa was there too. We were the spouses; we were like the wives [laughs]. So we were walking on the Croisette, and I remember I told him, ‘Costa, do you realize that anyone can make a film now? People have cameras on their phones now; it can’t get any easier than that!’ The democratization of the medium is amazing. And I went on and on about it to him, and then Costa said, ‘John, there have been pencil and paper for a thousand years. And how many good books are there?’ [Laughs]. And you know, he’s right!

John Landis at the 2011 Brussels International Fantastic Film Festival | Leo/Film Talk

What’s in your opinion so great about making movies?

One of the great things is that you get to go all over the world and work with all kinds of people. If I shoot a picture in London, Rome, New York, Chicago, there’s this amazing arm tray that you’d never have as a regular person. That’s one of the things I love. I have worked with American crews, French crews, Italian, German, Mexican—all kinds of people from anywhere, and what you learn is that people individually are exactly the same. That’s what is so interesting. In a group, they can be pretty scary, but on one to one, they’re kind of the same person with the same fears and the same desires.

In the late 1960s and early 1970s, you worked as a stuntman on a lot of movies…

…you bet!

Did you realize then that you wanted to become a film director?

No, I wanted to be a director from the time I was eight years old after I had seen “The 7th Voyage of Sinbad” [1958], my very first total movie-going experience. I’m sure this wasn’t the first movie I ever saw, but I still remember it very vividly. And to answer your question about being a stuntman, I know it must sound like a joke, but I accidentally fell into stunts. To make a long story short, one day, I was asked, ‘Do you do horse falls?’ And I said, ‘Yes…!’ And the next day was like, ‘Aaaahh!’ [Yells and laughs.] But actually, in the end, I got pretty good at it. I’m sure you’ve seen me being shot in so many movies. I only really got hurt once on some stupid Italian pirate movie [laughs] with Franco Nero, shot in Spain. We were supposed to jump from the mast into the ocean; there were eight of us. It was a good fifty feet, and I know I had asked, ‘Is it gonna hurt?’ I had my doubts, but I did it anyway, and as I was falling, I knew it was gonna hurt: it was like hitting concrete. I was all black and blue, really in pain. The last stunt I got paid for, I think, was in “Spider-Man 2” [2004]. I played the surgeon who was thrown onto the wall. But stunts have changed completely now. All through the history of American movies, stuntmen came from American rodeo. They were all real cowboys. Basically, it was a cowboy business, and these guys were tough. Now, most of the stuntmen are gymnasts. And because now it’s mostly digital, it takes the danger and so many risks away for ninety percent of it, so the digital revolution in cinema has changed it a lot for the better.

William Friedkin once told me, ‘There’s no movie ever made that is worth a squirrel getting a twisted ankle.’ So that’s the bottom line?

Absolutely. You took the words right out of my mouth!

Brussels International Fantastic Film Festival, Brussels (Belgium)
April 13, 2011

“The Blues Brothers” (1980, trailer)


THE GOOD, THE BAD & THE UGLY (1966) DIR Sergio Leone PROD Alberto Grimaldi SCR Sergio Leone, Furio Scarpelli, Agenore Incrocci, Luciano Vincenzoni (story by Sergio Leone, Luciano Vincenzoni) CAM Tonino Delli Colli ED Nino Baragli, Eugenio Alabiso MUS Ennio Morricone STUNT PERFORMER John Landis CAST Clint Eastwood, Eli Wallach, Lee Van Cleef, Aldo Giuffrè, Luigi Pistilli, Rada Rassimov, Enzo Petito

THE CHARGE OF THE LIGHT BRIGADE (1968) DIR Tony Richardson PROD Neil Hartley SCR Charles Wood CAM David Watkin ED Hugh Raggett MUS John Addison STUNT PERFORMER John Landis CAST Trevor Howard, Vanessa Redgrave, John Gielgud, Harry Andrews, Jill Bennett, David Hemmings, Ben Aris, Peter Bowles, Laurence Harvey, Joely Richardson, Natasha Richardson

ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE WEST (1968) DIR Sergio Leone PROD Fulvio Morsella SCR Sergio Leone, Sergio Donati (story by Sergio Leone, Dario Argento, Bernardo Bertolucci) CAM Tonino Delli Colli ED Nino Baragli MUS Ennio Morricone STUNT PERFORMER John Landis CAST Henry Fonda, Claudia Cardinale, Charles Bronson, Jason Robards, Jack Elam, Lionel Stander, Woody Strode, Gabrielle Ferzetti, Keenan Wynn, Fabio Testi

KELLY’S HEROES (1970) DIR Brian G. Hutton PROD Gabriel Katzka, Sidney Beckerman SCR Troy Kennedy-Martin CAM Gabriel Figueroa ED John Jympson MUS Lalo Schifrin CAST Clint Eastwood, Telly Savalas, Don Rickles, Carroll O’Connor, Donald Sutherland, Gavin MacLeod, Stuart Margolin, Richard Davalos, Harry Dean Stanton, Yves Montand, John Landis (Sister Rosa Stigmata [uncredited])

SOLEIL ROUGE, a.k.a. RED SUN (1971) DIR Terence Young PROD Robert Dorfmann SCR (adaptation by Lawrence Roman, Denne Bart Petitclerc, William Roberts; story by Maird Koenig) CAM Henri Alekan ED Johnny Dwyre MUS Maurice Jarre CAST Charles Bronson, Ursula Andress, Toshirô Mifune, Alain Delon, Capucine, Barta Barri, Guido Lollobrigida, Anthony Dawson, Gianni Medici, John Landis (Henchman [uncredited])

BATTLE FOR THE PLANET OF THE APES (1973) DIR J. Lee Thompson PROD Arthur P. Jacobs SCR Joyce Hooper Corrington, John William Corrington (story by Paul Dehn; characters created by Pierre Boulle) CAM Richard H. Kline ED Alan Jaggs, John C. Horger MUS Leonard Rosenman CAST Roddy McDowall, Claude Akins, Natalie Trundy, Severn Darden, Lew Ayres, Paul Williams, Austin Stoker, John Landis (Jake’s Friend), John Huston, Colleen Camp

CHATO’S LAND (1972) DIR – PROD – ED Michael Winner SCR Gerald Wilson CAM Robert Paynter MUS Jerry Fielding STUNT PERFORMER John Landis CAST Charles Bronson, Jack Palance, James Whitmore, Simon Oakland, Ralph Waite, Richard Jordan, Victor French, Sonia Rangan, Richard Basehart

MY NAME IS NOBODY (1973) DIR Tonino Valerii PROD Fulvio Morsella SCR Ernesto Gastaldi (story by Ernesto Gastaldi, Fulvio Morsella; idea by Sergio Leone) CAM Giuseppe Ruzzolini, Armando Nannuzzi ED Nino Baragli MUS Ennio Morricone STUNT PERFORMER John Landis CAST Henry Fonda, Terence Hill, Jean Martin, R.G. Armstrong, Karl Braun, Leo Gordon, Steve Kanaly, Geoffrey Lewis

SCHLOCK (1973) DIR – SCR John Landis PROD James C. O’Rourke, Jack H. Harris CAM Robert E. Collins ED George Folsey, Jr. MUS David Gibson CAST John Landis (Schlock), Saul Kahan, Joseph Piantadosi, Eliza Roberts, Tom Alvich, Walter Levine, Harriet Medin, Eric Allison, Charles Villiers

THE TOWERING INFERNO (1974) DIR John Guillermin PROD Irwin Allen SCR Stirling Silliphant (novel by Richard Martin Stern, Thomas N. Scortia, Frank M. Robinson) CAM Fred J. Koenekamp ED Harold F. Kress, Carl Kress MUS John Williams CAST Steve McQueen, Paul Newman, William Holden, Faye Dunaway, Fred Astaire, Susan Blakely, Richard Chamberlain, Jennifer Jones, O.J. Simpson, Robert Vaughn, Robert Wagner, Susan Flannery, Dabney Coleman, John Landis (Man on Fire [uncredited])

DEATH RACE 2000 (1975) DIR Paul Bartel PROD Roger Corman SCR Charles B. Griffith, Robert Thom (story ‘The Racer’ by Ib Melchior) CAM Tak Fujimoto ED Tina Hirsch MUS Paul Chihara CAST David Carradine, Simone Griffeth, Sylvester Stallone, Mary Moronov, Roberta Collins, Martin Kove, Louisa Moritz, John Landis (Mechanic), Paul Bartel, Lewis Teague

KENTUCKY FRIED MOVIE (1977) DIR John Landis PROD Robert K. Weiss SCR Jim Abrahams, David Zucker, Jerry Zucker CAM Stephen M. Katz ED George Folsey, Jr. CAST Donald Sutherland, Marilyn Joi, David Zucker, Marcy Goldman, Jim Abrahams, Jerry Zucker, George Lazenby, Bill Bixby, Rick Baker, Gwen Van Dam, John Landis (TV Technician Thrown by Gorilla), Lance LeGault, Tina Louise

ANIMAL HOUSE (1978) DIR John Landis PROD Ivan Reitman, Matty Simmons SCR Harold Ramis, Chris Miller, Douglas Kenney CAM Charles Correll ED George Folsey, Jr. MUS Elmer Bernstein CAST John Belushi, Karen Allen, Tom Hulce, Stephen Furst, Mark Metcalf, Martha Smith, Kevin Bacon, Tim Matheson, Donald Sutherland, John Vernon

THE MUPPET MOVIE (1979) DIR James Frawley PROD Jim Henson SCR Jack Burns, Jerry Juhl CAM Isidore Mankofsky ED Christopher Greenbury MUS Paul Williams, Kenny Ascher CAST Jim Henson, Frank Oz, Jerry Nelson, Richard Hunt, Dave Goelz (voices only); Clarles Durning, Austin Pendleton, Edgar Bergen, Milton Berle, Mel Brooks, James Coburn, Dom DeLuise, Elliott Gould, Bob Hope, Madeline Kahn, Carol Kane, Cloris Leachman, Steve Martin, Richard Pryor, Telly Savalas, Orson Welles, Paul Williams, Melinda Dillon, John Landis (Grover [uncredited])

1979 (1979) DIR Steven Spielberg PROD Buzz Feitshans SCR Robert Zemeckis, Bob Gale (story by Robert Zemeckis, Bob Gale, John Milius) CAM William A. Fraker ED Michael Kahn MUS John Williams CAST John Belushi, Dan Aykroyd, Treat Williams, Ned Beatty, Lorraine Gary, Murray Hamilton, Christopher Lee, Tim Matheson, Toshirô Mifune, Warren Oates, Robert Stack, Nancy Allen, John Candy, Elisha Cook Jr., Slim Pickens, Lionel Stander, Samuel Fuller, Audrey Landers, John Landis (Mizerany), Dick Miller, Mickey Rourke, James Caan, Penny Marshall

THE BLUES BROTHERS (1980) DIR John Landis PROD Robert K. Weiss SCR John Landis, Dan Aykroyd CAM Stephen M. Katz ED George Folsey, Jr. CAST John Belushi, Dan Ayckroyd, Cab Calloway, James Brown, Ray Charles, Aretha Franklin, Carrie Fisher, John Candy, Kathleen Freeman, Steve Lawrence, Twiggy, Frank Oz, Chaka Khan, John Landis (Trooper La Fong), Steven Spielberg, Joe Walsh, Mr. T.

AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON (1981) DIR – SCR John Landis PROD George Folsey, Jr. CAM Robert Paynter ED Malcolm Campbell MUS Elmer Bernstein STUNT PERFORMER John Landis CAST David Naughton, Jenny Agutter, Joe Belcher, Griffin Dunne, David Schofield, Brian Glover, Lila Kaye, Rik Mayall, Frank Oz, John Landis (Man Being Smashed into Window)

EATING RAOUL (1982) DIR Paul Bartel PROD Anne Kimmel SCR Paul Bartel, Richard Blackburn CAM Gary Thietges ED Alan Toomayan MUS Arlon Ober CAST Mary Moronov, Paul Bartel, Robert Beltran, Susan Saiger, Lynn Hobart, Richard Paul, Mark Woods, John Shearin, Darcy Pulliam, Buck Henry, Ed Begley Jr., Joe Dante, John Landis (Man Who Bumps Into Mary at the Bank [uncredited])

TRADING PLACES (1983) DIR John Landis PROD Aaron Russo SCR Herschel Weingrod, Timothy Harris CAM Robert Paynter ED Malcolm Campbell MUS Elmer Bernstein CAST Eddie Murphy, Dan Aykroyd, Ralph Bellamy, Don Ameche, Avon Long, Nicholas Guest, Paul Gleason, Frank Oz, James Belushi, John Landis (Man With Briefcase)

TWILIGHT ZONE – THE MOVIE (1983) DIR John Landis (prologue, segment 1), Steven Spielberg (segment 2), Joe Dante (segment 3), George Miller (segment 4) PROD John Landis, Steven Spielberg SCR John Landis (segment 1), George Clayton Johnson, Richard Matheson, Josh Rogan [Melissa Mathison] (segment 2), Richard Matheson (story by Jerome Bixby) (segment 3), Richard Matheson (also story) (segment 4) (TV series ‘The Twight Zone’ created by Rod Serling) CAM Stevan Larner, John Hora, Allen Daviau ED Malcolm Campbell, Michael Kahn, Tina Hirsch, Howard E. Smith MUS Jerry Goldsmith CAST (segment 1) Dan Aykroyd, Albert Brooks, Vic Morrow (segment 1), Scatman Crothers, Bill Quinn (segment 2), Kathleen Quinlan, Kevin McCarthy, Dick Miller (segment 3), John Lithgow, Abbe Lane (segment 4); Burgess Meredith (voice only)

THE MUPPETS TAKE MANHATTAN (1984) DIR Frank Oz PROD David Lazer SCR Frank Oz, Tom Patchett, Jay Tarses (story by Tom Patchett, Jay Tarses) CAM Robert Paynter ED Evan A. Lottman MUS Ralph Burns CAST Jim Henson, Frank Oz, David Goelz, Steve Whitmire, Richard Hunt, Jerry Nelson (voices only); Art Carney, James Coco, Dabney Coleman, Gregory Hines, Joan Rivers, Elliott Gould, Liza Minnelli, Brooke Shields, Ed Koch, John Landis (Leonard Winesop)

INTO THE NIGHT (1985) DIR John Landis PROD George Folsey Jr., Ron Koslow SCR Ron Koslow CAM Robert Paynter ED Macolm Campbell MUS Ira Newborn CAST Jeff Goldblum, Michelle Pfeiffer, Stacey Pickren, Dan Aykroyd, David Cronenberg, John Landis (SAVAK), Rick Baker, Daniel Petrie, Paul Mazursky, Paul Bartel, Don Siegel, David Bowie, Jack Arnold, Amy Heckerling, Roger Vadim, Lawrence Kasdan, Richard Farnsworth, Vera Miles, Irene Papas, Jonathan Demme

CLUE (1985) DIR Jonathan Lyn PROD Debra Hill EXEC PROD John Landis, Jon Peters, Peter Guber, George Folsey Jr. SCR Jonathan Lyn (story by John Landis, Jonathan Lyn) CAM Victor J. Kemper MUS John Morris ED Robert Haines, David Bretherton CAST Eileen Brennan, Tim Curry, Madeline Kahn, Christopher Lloyd, Michael McKean, Martin Mull, Lesley Ann Warren, Colleen Camp, Lee Ving

SPIES LIKE US (1985) DIR John Landis PROD George Folsey Jr., Brian Glazer SCR Dan Aykroyd, Babaloo Mandel, Lowell Ganz (story by Dan Aykroyd, Dave Thomas) CAM Robert Paynter ED Malcolm Campbell MUS Elmer Bernstein CAST Chevy Chase, Dan Aykroyd, Steve Forrest, Donna Dixon, Bruce Davison, Bernie Casey, William Prince, Tom Hatten, Frank Oz, Terry Gilliam, Costa-Gavras, Ray Harryhausen, Bob Hope, Joel Coen, Sam Raimi, Michael Apted, Martin Brest, Bob Swaim

THREE AMIGOS! (1986) DIR John Landis PROD George Folsey Jr., Lorne Michaels SCR Steve Martin, Randy Newman, Lorne Michaels CAM Ronald W. Browne ED Malcolm Campbell MUS Elmer Bernstein CAST Steve Martin, Chevy Chase, Martin Short, Alfonso Arau, Tony Plana, Patrice Martinez, Jorge Cervera Jr., Kai Wulff

AMAZON WOMEN ON THE MOON (1987) DIR John Landis, Joe Dante, Carl Gottlieb, Peter Horton, Robert K. Weiss PROD Robert K. Weiss EXEC PROD John Landis, George Folsey Jr. SCR Jim Mulholland, Michael Barrie CAM Daniel Pearl ED Malcolm Campbell, Bert Lovitt, Marshall Harvey MUS Ira Newborn CAST Arsenio Hall, Michelle Pfeiffer, Rosanna Arquette, Steve Guttenberg, Griffin Dunne, Lou Jacobi, Phil Hartman, Steve Forrest, Joey Travolta, Sybil Danning, B.B. King, Henry Silva, Steve Allen, Jenny Agutter, Ed Begley Jr., Dick Miller, Ralph Bellamy, Russ Meyer, Carrie Fisher, Paul Bartel, Robert Loggia

COMING TO AMERICA (1988) DIR John Landis PROD George Folsey Jr., Robert D. Wachs SCR Barry W. Blaustein, David Sheffield (story by Eddie Murphy) CAM Woody Omens ED George Folsey Jr., Malcolm Campbell MUS Nile Rodgers CAST Eddie Murphy, Arsenio Hall, James Earl Jones, John Amos, Madge Sinclair, Shari Headly, Paul Bates, Eriq La Salle, Frankie Vaison, Samuel L. Jackson, Ralph Bellamy, Don Ameche, Cuba Gooding Jr.

SPONTANEOUS COMBUSTION (1990) DIR Tobe Hooper PROD Jim Rogers SCR Tobe Hooper, Howard Goldberg (story by Tobe Hooper) CAM Levie Isaacks ED David Kern MUS Graeme Revell CAST Brad Dourif, Cynthia Bain, Jon Cypher, William Prince, Dey Young, Melinda Dillon, Dale Dye, Dick Butkus, John Landis (Radio Technician), Tobe Hooper, André De Toth

DARKMAN (1990) DIR Sam Raimi PROD Rob Tapert SCR Sam Raimi, Ivan Raimi, Daniel Goldin, Joshua Goldin, Chuck Pfarrer (story by Sam Raimi) CAM Bill Pope ED David Stiven, Bud S. Smith MUS Danny Elfman CAST Liam Neeson, Frances McDormand, Colin Friels, Larry Drake, Nelson Mashita, Jessie Lawrence Ferguson, Rafael H. Robledo, John Landis (Physician), Jenny Agutter, Ethan Coen, Joel Coen

OSCAR (1991) DIR John Landis PROD Leslie Belzberg SCR Jim Mulholland, Michael Barrie (play by Claude Magnier) CAM Mac Ahlberg ED Dale Beldin MUS Elmer Bernstein CAST Sylvester Stallone, Marisa Tomei, Ornella Muti, Peter Riegert, Yvonne De Carlo, Joey Travolta, Tim Curry, Linda Gray, Joe Dante, Kirk Douglas, Jim Abrahams

INNOCENT BLOOD (1992) DIR John Landis PROD Leslie Belzberg, Lee Rich SCR Michael Wolk CAM Mac Ahlberg ED Dale Beldin MUS Ira Newborn CAST Anne Parillaud, Robert Loggia, Anthony LaPaglia, Don Rickles, Angela Bassett, Luis Guzmán, Frank Oz, Michael Ritchie, Dario Argento, Sam Raimi, David Proval, Rocco Sisto, Chazz Palminteri, Kim Coates

SLEEPWALKERS (1992) DIR Mick Garris PROD Marc Victor, Nabeel Zahid, Michael Grais SCR Stephen King CAM Rodney Charters ED O. Nicholas Brown MUS Nicholas Pike CAST Brian Krause, Mädchen Amick, Alice Krige, Jim Haymie, Cindy Pickett, Ron Perlman, Lyman Ward, Dan Martin, Glenn Shadix, John Landis (Lab Technician), Joe Dante, Tobe Hooper, Mark Hamill

BODY CHEMISTRY II: THE VOICE OF A STRANGER (1992) DIR Adam Simon PROD Alida Camp, John Marshall SCR Christopher Wooden, Jackson Barr CAM Richard Michalak ED Richard Gentner MUS Nigel Holton CAST Gregory Harrison, Lisa Pescia, Morton Downey Jr., Robin Riker, Clint Howard, John Landis (Dr. Edwards), Jeremy Piven, Robert Beecher, David Sinaiko, Frank Novak

VENICE / VENICE (1992) DIR – SCR Henry Jaglom PROD Judith Wolinsky CAM Hanania Baer CAST Nelly Alard, Henry Jaglom, Melissa Leo, Suzanne Bertish, Daphne Kastner, David Duchovny, Suzanne Lanza, Vernon Dobtcheff, John Landis (John Landis), Zack Norman

BEVERLY HILLS COP III (1994) DIR John Landis PROD Mace Neufeld, Robert Rehme SCR Steven E. de Souza (characters created by Danilo Bach, Daniel Petrie Jr.) CAM Mac Ahlberg ED Dale Beldin MUS Nile Rodgers CAST Eddie Murphy, Jon Tenney, Joey Travolta, Eugene Collier, Jimmy Ortega, Ousaun Elam, Ray Lykins, Tim Gilbert, Rick Avery, Hector Elizondo, George Lucas, John Saxon, Joe Dante, Arthur Hiller, Barbet Schroeder

IL SILENZIO DEI PROSCIUTTI, a.k.a. SILENCE OF THE HAMS (1994) DIR – SCR Ezio Greggio PROD Julie Corman CAM Jacques Haitkin ED Robert Barrere, Andy Horvitch MUS Parmer Fuller CAST Ezio Greggio, Dom DeLuise, Billy Zane, Joanna Pacula, Charlene Tilton, Martin Balsam, Stuart Pankin, John Astin, Phyllis Diller, Bubba Smith, Larry Storch, Shelley Winters, Henry Silva, Joe Dante, John Carpenter, John Landis (FBI Agent), Mel Brooks

THE STUPIDS (1996) DIR John Landis PROD Leslie Belzberg SCR Brent Forrester (characters created by James Marshall, Harry Allard) CAM Manfred Guthe ED Dale Beldin MUS Christopher L. Stone CAST Tom Arnold, Jessica Lundy, Bug Hall, Alex McKenna, Mark Metcalf, Matt Keeslar, Scott Kraft, Max Landis, David Cronenberg, Costa-Gavras, Robert Wise, Christopher Lee, Norman Jewison

LAWS OF DECEPTION (1997) DIR Joey Travolta PROD Joey Travolta, Richard Salvatore, David E. Ornston SCR Rollin Jarrett CAM Dan Heigh ED Rich Cowan, Will Wuorinen CAST C. Thomas Howell, Amber Smith, Brian Austin Green, James Russo, Nick Mancuso, Robert Miano, Bo Brinkman, John Landis (Judge Trevino)

MAD CITY (1997) DIR Costa-Gavras PROD Arnold Kopelson, Anne Kopelson SCR Tom Matthews (story by Tom Matthews, Eric Williams) CAM Patrick Blossier ED Françoise Bonnot MUS Thomas Newman CAST John Travolta, Dustin Hoffman, Alan Alda, Mira Kirshner, Robert Prosky, Blythe Danner, Ted Levine, Tammy Lauren, William O’Leary, John Landis (Doctor), Larry King

DIAMONDS (1999) DIR John Asher PROD Patricia Green SCR Allan Aaron Katz CAM Paul Elliott ED Carroll Timothy O’Meara MUS Joel Goldsmith CAST Kirk Douglas, Lauren Bacall, Dan Aykroyd, Corbin Allred, Kurt Fuller, Jenny McCarthy, Mariah O’Brien, June Chadwick, John Landis (Gambler), James Russo

FREEWAY II: CONFESSIONS OF A TRICKBABY (1999) DIR – SCR Matthew Bright PROD Brad Wyman, Chris Hanley CAM Joel Ransom ED Suzanne Hines MUS Kennard Ramsey, Louise Post CAST Natasha Lyonne, María Celedonio, David Alan Grier, Vincent Gallo, April Telek, Bob Dawson, Jenn Griffin, Max Perlich, Michael T. Weiss, John Landis (Judge)

BLUES BROTHERS 2000 (1998) DIR John Landis PROD John Landis, Dan Aykroyd, Leslie Belzberg SCR John Landis, Dan Aykroyd (screenplay THE BLUES BROTHERS [1980] by John Landis, Dan Aykroyd) CAM David Herrington ED Dale Beldin MUS Paul Shaffer CAST Dan Aykroyd, John Goodman, Walter Levine, Kathleen Freeman, Frank Oz, B.B. King, Aretha Franklin, Steve Lawrence, Max Landis, James Brown, Eric Clapton, Bo Diddley, Isaac Hayes, Billy Preston, Lou Rawls, Steve Winwood

SUSAN’S PLAN (1998) DIR – SCR John Landis PROD John Landis, Leslie Belzberg, Brad Wyman CAM Ken Kelsch ED Nancy Morrison MUS Peter Bernstein CAST Nastassja Kinski, Billy Zane, Michael Biehn, Bob Schneider, Lara Flynn Boyle, Dan Aykroyd, Thomas Haden Church, Carl Ballantine, Sheree North, Adrian Paul, Joey Travolta, Randal Kleiser, Danny Huston

THE LOST WORLD (1998) DIR Bob Keen PROD Danny Rossner, Murray Shostak EXEC PROD John Landis, Barry Barnholtz, Omar Kaczmarczyk SCR Jean LaFleur, Léopold St-Pierre (novel by Arthur Conan Doyle) CAM Barry Gravelle ED Isabelle Levesque MUS Milan Kymlicka CAST Patrick Bergan, Jayne Heitmeyer, Julian Casey, David Nerman, Michael Sinelnikoff, Gregoriane Minot Payeur

SURVIVING EDEN (2004) DIR Greg Pritikin PROD Lisa Larrivee SCR Greg Pritikin (story by Joanne Storkan) CAM Fred Goodich ED Michael Palmerio MUS Greg Pritikin, Ian Whitcomb CAST Michael Panes, Cheri Oteri, Jane Lynch, Sam Robards, Savannah Haske, Peter Dinklage, Illeana Douglas, John Landis (Doctor Levine)

SPIDER-MAN 2 (2004) DIR Sam Raimi PROD Laura Ziskin, Avi Arad SCR Alvin Sargent (screen story by Alfred Gough, Michael Chabon, Miles Millar; comic book by Stan Lee, Steve Ditko) CAM Bill Pope ED Bob Murawski MUS Danny Elfman CAST Tobey Maguire, Kirstin Dunst, James Franco, Alfred Molina, Rosemary Harris, J.K. Simmons, Donna Murphy, Daniel Gillies, Cliff Robertson, Ted Raimi, Elizabeth Banks, John Landis (Doctor)

LE COUPERET, US title THE AX (2005) DIR Costa-Gavras PROD Jean-Pierre Dardenne, Luc Dardenne, José María Morales SCR Costa-Gavras, Jean-Claude Grumberg (novel by Donald E. Westlake) CAM Patrick Blossier ED Yannick Kergoat MUS Armand Amar CAST José Garcia, Karin Viard, Geordy Monfils, Christa Théret, Ulrich Tukur, Olivier Gourmet, Yvon Back, Yolande Moreau, John Landis (Maxime), Julie Gavras, Nabil Ben Yabir

TORRENTE 3: EL PROTECTOR (2005) DIR – SCR Santiago Segura PROD Fernando Cueva CAM Unax Mendia ED Cristina Pastor MUS Roque Baños CAST Santiago Segura, José Mota, Javier Gutiérrez, Carlos Latre, Tony Leblanc, Eduardo García, Yvonne Sciò, Silvia Gambino, Fabio Testi, John Landis (Arab Ambassador), Oliver Stone

LOOK (2007) DIR – SCR Adam Rifkin PROD Barry Schuler CAM Scott Billups, Ron Forsythe ED Martin Apelbaum MUS BT CAST Jamie McShane, Spencer Redford, Hayes MacArthur, Nichelle Hines, Ben Weber, Paul Schackman, Chris Williams, Jennifer Fontaine, Giuseppe Andrews, John Landis (Aggravated Doctor)

PARASOMNIA (2008) DIR – SCR William Malone CAM Christian Sebaldt ED Anthony Adler MUS Nicholas Pike CAST Sean Young, Patrick Kilpatrick, Dylan Purcell, Cherilyn Wilson, Philip Newby, David Ury, Janet Tracy Keiser, Mekita Faiye, Timothy Bottoms, John Landis (Dept. Store Manager)

THE SCENESTERS (2009) DIR – SCR Todd Berger PROD Jeff Grace, Brett D. Thompson CAM Helena Wei ED Kyle Martin MUS Dan Houlbrook CAST Blaise Miller, Sherilyn Fenn, Suzanne May, Jeff Grace, Kevin M. Brennan, Todd Berger, Monika Jolly, James Jolly, John Landis (Judge Paxton B. Johnson)

BURKE AND HARE (2010) DIR John Landis PROD Barnaby Thompson SCR Nick Moorcroft, Piers Ashworth CAM John Mathieson ED Mark Everson MUS Joby Talbot CAST Simon Pegg, Andy Serkis, Isla Fisher, Tom Wilkinson, Tim Curry, Christian Brassington, Gabrielle Downey, Christopher Lee, Ronnie Corbett, Ray Harryhausen, Jenny Agutter, Max Landis, Costa-Gavras, Romain Gavras

SOME GUY WHO KILLS PEOPLE (2011) DIR Jack Perez PROD Michael Wormser, Micah Goldman EXEC PROD John Landis SCR Ryan A. Levin CAM Shawn Maurer ED Chris Conlee MUS Den Zarai, David Kitchens CAST Kevin Corrigan, Barry Bostwick, Karen Black, Leo Fitzpatrick, Ariel Gade, Eric Price, Lucy Davis, Lou Beatty Jr.

WENDY LIEBMAN: TALLER ON TV (2011) DIR – SCR Wendy Liebman PROD John Landis, Jeff Sherman CAM Tom Clancey ED George Folsey Jr., Brad White MUS Brad Elvis, Shae Padilla, Chloe Orwell CAST Wendy Liebman

ATTACK OF THE 50 FOOT CHEERLEADER (2012) DIR Kevin O’Neill PROD Roger Corman SCR Mike MacLean ED Yasmin Assemi, Vikram Kale MUS Andrew Johnson CAST Sean Young, Jena Sims, Treat Williams, Sasha Jackson, Olivia Alexander, Ryan Merriman, Ted Raimi, Anne McDaniels, Mary Woronov, John Landis (Professor), Roger Corman

TALES OF HALLOWEEN (2015) DIR Darren Lynn Bousman, Axelle Carolyn, Adam Gierasch, Andrew Kasch, Neil Marshall, Lucky McKee, Mike Mendez, Dave Parker, Ryan Schifrin, John Skipp, Paul Solet PROD Axelle Carolyn, Mike Mendez SCR Axelle Carolyn, Andrew Kasch, Neil Marshall, Mike Mendez, Lucky McKee, Dave Parker, Ryan Schifrin, John Skipp, Molly Millions, Billy Jackson, Clint Sears, Greg Simmons (created by Axelle Carolyn) CAM Jan-Michael Losada, Zoran Popovic, David Tayar, Alex Vendler, Richard J. Vialet, Joseph White, Scott Winig MUS Lalo Schifrin, Christopher Drake, Christian Henson, Joseph Bishara, Michael Sean Colin, Haim Frank Ilfman, Bobby Johnston, Austin Wintory, Edwin Wendler ED Matthew Barry, Josh Ethier, Andrew Kasch, Mike Mendez, Vanessa Menendez, Eddie Oswald, Dave Parker, Zach Passero, Brian J. Smith, Sean Tretta CAST Adrienne Barbeau, Hunter Smit, Cameron Easton, Barry Bostwick, Mick Garris, Stuart Gordon, Sean Clark, John Landis (Jedebiah Rex in segment ‘The Ransom of Rusty Rex’), Joe Dante


PSYCHO IV: THE BEGINNING (1990) DIR Mick Garris PROD Les Mayfield, George Zaloom TELEPLAY Joseph Stefano (characters created by Robert Bloch) CAM Rodney Charters ED Charles Bornstein MUS Graeme Revell CAST Anthony Perkins, Olivia Hussey, CCH Pounder, Henry Thomas, Warren Frost, Donna Mitchell, Thomas Schuster, John Landis (Mike Calveccio)

HERE COME THE MUNSTERS (1995) DIR Robert Ginty PROD Michael S. Murphey EXEC PROD John Landis TELEPLAY Jim Fisher, Jim Staahl, Bill Prady (characters created by Ed Haas, Norm Liebmann) CAM Paul Maibaum ED Dale Beldin, Marshall Harvey MUS Michael Skloff CAST Edward Herrmann, Veronica Hamel, Robert Morse, Christine Taylor, Mathew Botuchis, Troy Evans, Joel Brooks, Yvonne De Carlo

THE MUNSTERS’ SCARY LITTLE CHRISTMAS (1996) DIR Ian Emes EXEC PROD John Landis TELEPLAY Kevin Murphy, Ed Ferrara (characters created by Ed Haas, Norm Liebmann) CAM Roger Lanser ED M. Scott Smith MUS Christopher L. Stone CAST Sam McMurray, Ann Magnuson, Bug Hall, Sandy Baron, Mary Woronov, Ed Gale, Arturo Gil, Mark Mitchell

QUICKSILVER HIGHWAY (1997) DIR Mick Garris PROD Mick Garris, Ron Mitchell TELEPLAY Mick Garris (short story ‘Chattery Teeth’ by Stephen King; short story ‘The Body Politic’ by Clive Barker) CAM Shelley Johnson ED Norman Hollyn MUS Mark Mothersbaugh CAST Christopher Lloyd, Matt Frewer, Raphael Sbarge, Missy Crider, Silas Weir Mitchell, Bill Nunn, Veronica Cartwright, Bill Bolender, John Landis (Surgical Assistant), Mick Garris

THE LOST WORLD (1999) DIR Richard Franklin PROD Darryl Sheen EXEC PROD John Landis, Peter Bergmann TELEPLAY Jim Henshaw (novel by Arthur Conan Doyle) CAST Peter McCauley, William deVry, William Snow, Michael Sinelnikoff, Rachel Blakely

BLAST VEGAS (2013) DIR Jack Perez PROD Keith Melton SCR Tom Teves, Joe D’Ambrosia (story by Meyer Shwarzstein) CAM Alexander Yellen ED Chris Conlee MUS Chris Ridenhour CAST Frankie Muniz, Barry Bostwick, Maggie Castle, Michael Steger, Andrew Lawrence, Summer Bishil, Jillian Nelson, Brooke Ann Smith, Adam Walker, Joe Dante, John Landis (First Salesman)


THE STAND (1994) DIR Mick Garris PROD Mitchell Galin TELEPLAY Stephen King CAST Gary Sinise, Molly Ringwald, Jamey Sheridan, Laura San Giacomo, Roby Dee, Ossie Davis, Miguel Ferrer, Corin Nemec, Ray Walston, Rob Lowe, Stephen King, Mick Garris, John Landis (Russ Dorr), Sam Raimi, Kathy Bates, Jeff Goldblum, Ed Harris