Boris Johnson reached for an unlikely reference in attempts to clarify when exactly British people should call the police on neighbours who break the “rule of six”: the lurid 1978 college comedy Animal House.
In an interview with the Sun, the prime minister used the John Landis film, which focuses on a chaotic year at the fictional Faber College, as cultural shorthand for debauchery and the kind of parties with “hot tubs and so forth”, that would pose “a serious threat to public health”.
Landis’s college comedy, which came from the team behind National Lampoon magazine, is regarded as a seminal classic by its fans and an outmoded throwback that should be confined to history by its critics.
In a piece marking the film’s 40th anniversary, the film critic Charles Bramesco, said at a time when cultural commentators are looking at older works for “offences against modern mores” that there’s “no target fatter than Animal House”.
It has been criticised for having “gay-panic undertones”, using “casual” racism and normalising misogyny – in one scene a character debates whether he should rape a girl who has passed out: