Hello. Greetings.

To start off this howling good time, I thought I’d let people know a little about me but obviously still sticking to TSL theme. My favourite horror film (the title of this definitely gives you a clue!) is An American Werewolf In London.

So why do I adore An American Werewolf in London so much?

I adore it for so many reasons, it’s scary but is also hilarious, (think of the Nazi dream sequence compared to David waking up in the zoo naked). The whole concept of the film is obviously scary, ‘Two American tourists in Britain are attacked by a werewolf that none of the locals will admit exists. ‘, and the werewolf attacks in the first quarter of the film after a perfectly scored chase through the moors. The werewolf attack at the beginning is a normal thing to happen in horror movies, someone gets gruesomely killed by the creature or person the movie is about, what is not normal is that one of the main characters is bumped off. Yes, Jack is bumped off, he is got by the werewolf. The only time this has really happened in a film was in Hitchcock’s classic ‘Psycho’ where Janet Leigh’s character was killed off early on in the famous shower scene. It was a risky test but it worked brilliantly and it does in An American Werewolf in London too! There is a big difference between these two characters being bumped off though, Janet Leigh’s stayed dead, while Griffin Dunne’s Jack becomes the undead or in limbo.

Griffin Dunne looking a bit worse for wear....

Jack soon becomes more, (or less) like himself with just a scratch on his face as he tries to warn David the horrendous news that he is, in fact, the only remaining werewolf and must kill himself. Obviously, (it wouldn’t make a good movie otherwise), David does not believe him and refuses to ‘top’ himself. Jack has to then come back, leading to some amazing makeup as he seems to be losing little parts of himself everytime he returns, as he turns more into the undead.

As I’ve mentioned it above, I will mention it again, the makeup in this movie is some of the best I have seen in movies, it has all stood the test of time and would definitely still work. All thanks to the wonderful Rick Baker. This man is a magician with his make up. The transformation scene in this film is the best I have ever seen, and I have seen a lot, going from older werewolves such as The Howling to newer werewolves such as Russel Tovey in Being Human or the new The Wolfman. I think it has something to do with the fact that none of it is CGI, it is all prosthetics, David Noughton at one point is under the floor while a fake hairer werewolf body is over the top of him. I also think the sound of the entire thing helps it too, if you’ve never heard an American man turn into a real werewolf, then you will never want to after seeing this. The sound is graphic, ever bone can be heard breaking and twisting out of and into place, David screaming in pain and the skin pulling. It just has a much more realistic feel to it, maybe because it is all done in front of you but also because you see every single part of David change, you see and hear it. You see his pain and flinch with him as his nose pulls and twists out in front of him, into a muzzle. Like the beginning scene, the music is perfect in this scene and adds a slight comical feel to it, ‘Blue Moon’ plays as he painfully changes. Such a calm, nice song compared to the horror of the change. Mickey Mouse also has a little peek at him.

The transformation is also when David realises that Jack is right but can’t bring himself to kill himself as he’s met a very nice nurse played by Jenny Agutter, (John Landis put in a bit for all the dads there!). As he will not kill himself, he needs to be warned by yet more of the undead, the undead who he killed as a werewolf, this all leads to a very amusing scene with him, Jack and the undead in a porn movie.This leads to even more brilliant make up, zombie style this time, and some lovely,(in some terms), killing scenes that nicely, (again, in some terms), show you the undead zombies…well before they were undead zombies and a very well done chase scene that will put you off British undergrounds for life!

All through the movie, John Landis mixes comedy and fear brilliantly, from start to finish. The film opens with the two on the back of a truck, tucked away with sheep and leads into David turning into a werewolf, going on a midnight snack spree and waking up naked in a zoo.

"A naked American man stole my balloons."

Although I have been raving about how John Landis mixes comedy and fear together perfectly, I should also mention how he adds in romance and sadness in to the mix too. David falls for Nurse Alex Price and she for him. Now to understand this relationship and just how romantic it is, think of when people complain how there is a distance between their relationship or that they are two different people, meaning like English and American, but times all that by 100 and add in a whole load of hair and teeth. Yeah. It’s tough. David is American, Alex is English and he’s  a werewolf to top it all off, as if it wasn’t difficult enough. They both love each other though, and will not let the whole werewolf thing stand in the way, yep, real troopers.  Their relationship is tested in the end as David shows he can’t control the werewolf inside of him….and I won’t say anything more because it’ll turn a lovely shocking scene into just a lovely scene.

So that is why I adore An American Werewolf In London, I mean that is most of the reasons why I adore it, there are most definitely more but it would probably get awfully boring and long if I carried on. Just basically it is a film that has stood the test of time, that mixes in so many different genres but never loses it’s first and main one and is just brilliant.

Thank you John Landis. You genius!


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