Tuesday, July 26, 2011
AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON: 30 Years Later and it's still the best werewolf movie I've ever seen
30 years ago a seminal film opened in movie theaters around the world. It was An American Werewolf In London and to this day, it is still the best werewolf movie I have ever seen. The story has two American tourists named David Kessler (relative newcomer David Naughton) and Jack Goodman (Griffin Dunne) in Britain who are attacked by a wild animal while walking on the moors one night. Said wild animal turns out to be a werewolf and after Jack is ripped to shreds and killed, David is bitten and will soon turn into a raging beast himself.
Awesome transformation scene...
Damn Jack you really let yourself go...
He lucks up when at the hospital he is recovering from he meets Nurse Alex Price (the always beguiling Jenny Agutter (of Logan's Run and Walkabout fame) and the two immediately hit it off. Why aren't all nurses like Jenny Agutter, I swear.
David is soon having horrible nightmares and is visited by Jack's ghost, who every time you see him is decomposing worse and worse. He tells David that he must kill himself and be free of this curse or he will kill people. Of course David doesn't believe him. But once the first full moon happens, David changes into a werewolf and promptly goes on a rampage. The first werewolf transformation is a sight to behold. Done by master make up artist Rick Baker, that scene is realistic and painful. No CGI here folks, just good old makeup and prosthetics.
Ah sweet Jenny Agutter....I don't even notice David in this pic..at all
We are so screwed it's not even funny...
Soon David realizes he knows what has to be done but can't quite do it. So when he takes in a movie and changes one more time, he is on the loose in Piccadily Square. That scene is cool as hell, as the people of Britain are terrified and running for their lives from this savage beast. The climax has Alex rushing to David's side after he is cornered in an alley ready to be taken out by Britain's finest.
That's gotta hurt....
I loved this movie when it first came out and I love it still to this day. This is how you make a great horror movie with a lean and visceral feel that doesn't drag. The cast is top notch with solid direction by John Landis. Naughton and Dunne are perfect as the american tourists and Jenny Agutter is well Jenny Agutter. Nothing more needs to be said on that. She is awesome in every way. The music score is fantastic with some choice rocking tunes including Bad Moon Rising by Creedence Clearwater Revival. And like I said it is still the best werewolf movie that I have seen. Mainly because its old fashioned makeup effects and not computer generated. And it also has a lot of inspired humor, helped being directed by Landis (Stripes, Ghostbusters, Trading Places).
What was that noise?
An American Werewolf In London is how you do it. Stay away from that god awful sequel An American Werewolf in Paris. It's bad. London is the one to go with.