Exclusive Interview With John Landis

Exclusive Interview With John Landis

Static Mass Rating: 4/5
BURKE & HARE (Blu-ray)
Entertainment Films

Release date: February 21st 2011
Certificate (UK): 15
Running time: 91 minutes

Director: John Landis

Cast: Simon Pegg, Andy Serkis, Isla Fisher, Tom Wilkinson, Tim Curry, Ronnie Corbett, Paul Whitehouse and Christopher Lee

Burke & Hare Blu-ray Review

John Landis’s first feature film as a director was Schlock, made in 1971 and released in 1973. Since then he has made notable contributions to cinema, television and of course music videos with Michael Jackson’s Thriller(1983), and is regarded as one of the iconic directors of the 80’s alongside Joe Dante, Sam Rami and Steven Spielberg.

Landis’s best films are characterised by combining unusually dark elements of comedy with visual horror, and he has often spoken about his love for the old Ealing Studio movies like Kind Hearts and Coronets (1949) and The Ladykillers (1955).

His most recent film is based on the true life case of Burke and Hare, two 19th Century mass murderers who killed 16 people and sold their bodies to a medical researcher in Edinburgh. This will be the 8th time their story has been told in film, but it’s the first time they are portrayed as likeable characters with heavy dozes of comedy written in to lighten the mood.

Patrick: There’s always been a lot of comedy in your work. Who are your comedey heroes?
Landis: Oh I have hundreds of them! Hundreds! Laurel and Hardy, Buster Keaton, the Marx Brothers, Abott and Costello, Monty Python, I mean hundreds of them, literally hundreds! Harold Lloyd, are you kidding! Bob Hope, hundreds! Jerry Lewis!

Landis’s face lights up as he recalls the names of these comedy greats, but as a director he also got to work with some of them too.


  • Burke & Hare (2010)
  • Blue’s Brothers 2000 (1998)
  • Beverly Hills Cop III (1994)
  • Coming to America (1988)
  • Three Amigos (1986)
  • Twilight Zone: The Movie (1983)
  • Trading Places (1983)
  • An American Werewolf in London (1981)
  • The Blues Brothers (1980)
  • Animal House (1978)
Landis: I’ve been very lucky in my career; I’m old enough to have now worked with everybody from Bob Hope, George Burns and Jerry Lewis to Eddie Murphy, John Belushi, Simon Pegg and Steve Martin! I’ve been blessed. Ronnie Corbett, one of the best, I’m so happy to have worked with him!

Although it seems like the director has been away for a while, this couldn’t be further from the truth. He has in fact been very busy; directing television shows such as Pysch (2008), Fear Itself (2008) and Masters of Horror (2006), made appearances in films like Spider-Man 2 (2004) and produced numerous television movies and documentaries including the Emmy Award winning Mr. Warmth: The Don Rickles Project (2007).

Patrick: What’s next for you? More documentaries, films or television?
Landis: The next thing I’m doing is a commercial in Tokyo. Then I go to Havana to teach with my wife, then back to LA to try to get a job!

Burke & Hare is released on DVD and Blu-ray February 21st in the UK.

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