I loved most of the National Lampoon movies. Of course "National Lampoon's Animal House" is the classic and the standard. It is the level of comedy that all other comedy movies need to be judged against since it came out. That said "National Lampoon's Vacation" is a very close second. After awhile however there came a small stream of "National Lampoon" movies that not only were not up to the original standards, but that actually sucked. This leads to an unavoidable question. Did the viewers of the Nation Lampoon movies ever actually read and wonder at the pure genius of the original National Lampoon magazine?
In the early 1970's, before any of the movies were made, I was a subscriber and big fan of the magazine itself. Their dry wit and at times even obnoxious humor made Mad Magazine look like a 12 year old jerk off attempt at what they really achieved. They were, for an all too brief time, simply the best humor magazine of all time.
National Lampoon's Vacation was written (though on a much, much, much more vulgar level) by Chris Miller in the magazine. In the original story there were scenes of an elderly woman thrusting a stick of butter into her...well....anyway. The dog being dragged to death was much more bloody and gross and funnier in the original story, as were many of the sex scenes.
Then there were stories and cartoons and madness that could never make it onto the silver screen. here was an incredible piece about a nerd frat member having sex with a passed out sorority girl and winning the "Pig Prize". It was stupid and silly and beyond political correctness or being able to be discussed in proper company and it was FUNNY! It was sick and wrong and every issue cracked you up. It was the kind of magazine a man took into the can with him when he was living in a barracks or a dorm and got his last chuckle out of before heading to bed.