National Lampoon is fast becoming a more aggressive brand for theatrical releases. Erik reported in April that the company had bought distribution rights to the "jam band" film Electric Apricot. National Lampoon is also producing its own movies in-house, starting with Bag Boy and recently signing Savage Steve Holland to direct Ratko: The Dictator's Son. Now the company that launched its film reputation with Animal House has signed a distribution deal for Homo Erectus, a comedy starring, written and directed by Adam Rifkin. The film will be retitled National Lampoon's Homo Erectus, which is standard for all the company-branded movies. (In fact, all the films in this paragraph should be prefaced with "National Lampoon's" but that would double the size of the text.)

Homo Erectus is about a "philosophical caveman" (Rifkin, I assume) who tries to impress his girlfriend by inventing useful things like spoons and pants. The film, which premiered at Slamdance earlier this year, also stars David Carradine, Talia Shire and Gary Busey. It was shot in Austin in 2006, and locals who caught a glimpse of the prehistoric sets and costumes during location shooting have wondered when they'd get a chance to see the completed movie. Speculation about distribution arose again last week after learning that Rifkin's latest film, Look, won the Grand Jury Prize at the CineVegas festival. Austinites and everyone else will get to see National Lampoon's Homo Erectus in theaters this September, and National Lampoon also acquired the home-video rights. You can view a trailer for the film online.