American Werewolf In London review
back to Monstermaster13's Halloween Spooktacular Countdown, now for
today's installment we will be looking at a personal favorite movie of
mine. Before we start, i'd like to mention that I am a huge fan of
werecreatures and shapeshifters in general thanks to Big Wolf On Campus,
the 1980's classic Teen Wolf and of course the subject of tonight's
Released in 1981, this classic horror/comedy is directed
by John Landis who also directed Animal House, Kentucky Fried Movie,
Blues Brothers, Three Amigos, Shlock, and Oscar and is probably the
first movie to have a four legged werewolf instead of the two-legged
traditional Lon Chaney Jr styled werewolf.
An American Werewolf
In London is a project that Landis had been wanting to be do since he
was a teenager and is also partially inspired by an amusing story of an
event that happened on the set of Kelly's Heroes regarding a gypsy
It stars David Naughton, who at the time was known
for being in Dr Pepper commercials - and Griffin Dunne as a pair of
back-packing American tourists who on their home from a pub in England
are attacked by a wolf-like creature on the moors. Jack (Dunne's
character) gets killed off but David (Naughton's character) survives
only to contract lycanthropy.
As a result he starts having
strange dreams like one where he is attacking a deer and his eyes are
all yellow and wolf-like and his teeth are like fangs, and a dream
within a dream involving nazi-werewolves. I'm not making that up.
top of that, his best friend Jack keeps visiting him from beyond the
grave, and each time he does he keeps getting worse and worse. I
love the humorous dialogue between him and David in the hospital scene,
I especially crack up at the line "Have you ever talked to a corpse?
Of course the biggest highlight in the movie is
the makeup and sfx, which I believe introduced the Best Makeup category
at the Oscars that year. Rick Baker, who did the makeup designs
for this movie would later win the same award for his work in Ed Wood,
Nutty Professor, Men In Black, How The Grinch Stole Christmas and
The Wolfman remake. Of course he is no stranger when it comes to
werewolf movie makeup considering he did the werewolf makeup for Jack
Nicholson in Wolf (1994).
Landis wanted Rick Baker to do
the makeup from the start but Baker was commited to another extremely
well-known werewolf movie 'The Howling' but he left to do this movie,
leaving Rob Botin in charge of the makeup and transformations for The
Speaking of TF scenes, American Werewolf In London
doesn't disapoint with its infamous sequence of David Kessler turning
into a werewolf. It still holds up even today and it is remarkable how
it was all accomplished with practial effects. It has been homaged and
spoofed numerous times including in the movie Curse Off The Queerwolf
(yes, that is a real movie) and in the Wallace And Gromit movie. Even
John Landis's son Max recently did a reinactment of it on Youtube for
his dad's birthday.
It's no wonder Michael Jackson was a huge fan
of this movie and wanted John Landis to direct the Thriller music
video, to which Landis did.
In fact the noise Michael makes
when he's turning into a werecat is the same as the noise David
Naughton made while turning into a werewolf. I gotta hand it to John
Landis...he did a terrific job.
The transformation sequence
itself is very well done and extremely painful for poor David as he goes
from being two legged to four-legged. I love the part where we see
the beginnings of fur growing on his back and the stretching hands and
feet are also cool as well.
The iconic transformation scene is
one of the most well known scenes in horror movies and for all the right
reasons. Another piece of trivia I should bring up about the movie is
that one of the pub patrons at the Slaughtered Lamb is played by the
now late Rik Mayall.
The soundtrack consists of songs with the
word moon in the title, Werewolves Of London -despite being about
werewolves was not on the soundtrack because it did not go with the moon
theming of the other songs.
One John Landis running gag you'll
see in this movie besides the Ask For Babs bit after the end credits is
the mention of a movie titled 'See You Next Wednesday', which may or not
may be a real movie. In this movie it's a porno, in Thriller it's a
Do I recommend watching this flick? Hell yeah!
Especially if you love werewolf movies, transformations in horror,
or if you just are fond of werecreatures in general. Also check the
BBC radio drama version out as well. The less said about the
in-name-only sequel An American Werewolf In Paris the better.
in all, you must check out - American Werewolf In London. It's a
HOOOOOWLingly good film! Of course it's not for the faint-hearted.
Rumor has it that there is a remake of it in the works by the same
company that brought us the weresheep film Black Sheep. But nothing new
has been mentioned as of yet.
What is it, Nash?
Dude, I think something attacked you last night.
Nash...why do you look like a zombie?
got attacked as well and I died. I think what attacked us last night
definitely wasn't human, it must have been some kind of animal. Like a
civet or something, or rather...I wish it was.
Look, I don't have time for this - okay? I've got a review to finish.
Nathan, you're hurting my feelings.
YOUR feelings? Has it ever occured to you that it might be unsettling
to see you rise from the dead to visit me while i'm in the middle of
about to ending a review?
Dude...it's a full moon tonight. Do you know what means?
yeah - I know. I'm going to turn into a vicious, wild, hairy,
snarling hairy beast - I know how it goes alright?
That's right and you must take your own life before you take the lives of others, beware the moon Nathan!
Ugh...I will not be threatened by a walking meatloaf!
Beware the moon, Nathan. *vanishes*
the moon, yeah - whatever. Like i'm going to turn into a beast
anyway, oooh. I'm just going to sit down with a nice book and finish
my review. So that was my review of An American Werewolf In London...
how much do I rate this movie? I give it two monstrous clawed thumbs
up and a high reccomendation.
I'm Monstermaster13 and now if you
excuse me...i'm going to settle down with a good book. *picks up the
book Red Riding Hood by the Brothers Grimm*, Ah - Red Riding Hood,
a true classic. *sits down and reads it*
*A few hours later*
OH GOD! OH GOD! OH GOD! I'M BURNING UP! AAAAAHHHH! *he shouts in
agony as he gets out of his chair, he rips his shirt off as pain jolts
through his body* AAAAAAH! OH GO! IT HURTS SO MUCH...AAAAGH! *he
groans in pain and then panics as we see his hand stretching slightly,
black leathery material creeps up both hands as we see the material
become black leather gloves, two cuffs of black fur poking out from
them as his fingernails sharpen and become like claws*
GOD....WHAT THE HELL IS HAPPENING? AAAAH! *he screams slightly as he
falls onto all fours, we see his feet crunching and contorting as the
black leather material forms on them, making a pair of black leather
boots appear with openings for his clawed toenails, his back arches
slightly as his frame becomes leaner and more lithe, body hair
increasing as it turns from brown to black, with black fur on his back
and chest* AAAAAAAAAAAAARRRGH! OH GOD! WHAT IS HAPPENING TO MEEEEEEE?
*he falls onto his back as the black leathery material creeps up,
forming into a black leathery outfit as he grows to 6'ft* AAAAAAAH!
SOMEONE PLEASE HEEEEEEELP ME! *we zoom over to a TY Beanie buddy
horse for some reason*
Aaaaaaahhhh! No! NOOOOO! AAAGH. OH
GOD, PLEASE MAKE IT STOP! PLEEEEEEEEASE! *He feels his hair
stretching, growing longer and messier as it turns black, developing a
messy back combed style, his ears also stretch and become slightly
pointed, his eyebrows thicken and turn black , arching slightly as his
eyes turn yellow and become lupine, scruffy slightly visible black
facial hair grows on his face as his nose turns black*....AAAAAAGH! I'M
SORRRRY, I DIDN'T MEAN TO CALL YOU A MEATLOAF, NASH!* his teeth
lengthen and sharpen as his features morph and reshapen in a manner
mirroring David's face pushing out into a muzzle in the movie, he cries
and pants slightly as his voice alters slightly, developing a familiar
sounding Essex orientated British accent, he lets out a piercing
scream as his transformation completes* AAAH! IT'S WORSE THAN I
THOUGHT! I've turned into Russell Brand again! *screams, then mimics
the werewolf howl from the movie - before he goes off to hunt*
song Bad Moon Rising plays over the end credits as a montage of
werewolf movies plays, including The Howling and American Werewolf In