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Wednesday, October 20, 2010

An American Werewolf in London (1981) - John Landis


If you know me then you should come to no surprise when I say this: werewolves are stupid. I find the whole lore behind them dumb. John Landis, however, directed this movie and in my opinion it is the greatest werewolf movie to date. I love his use of subtle humor fused with a perfect storyline sprinkled with bits of brain and guts. This movie to me is horror movie perfection. It touches everywhere you want to be touched. It has suspense and it even has a few jump out/in-your-face scares. It is a great mix. 

This movie is about a guy named David who is backpacking with a friend through England. During their travels David and his friend are assaulted by a werewolf; his friend is killed, but David escapes with a bite. With this bite the werewolf curse is passed to David, and having been killed by a werewolf his friend is stuck in limbo, constantly haunting David, provoking him to kill himself.

David meets a hot nurse while being treated for his werewolf inflicted wounds, and hits it off with her. While under observation he decides that things might not be that bad: haunted by murdered friend, hospitalized, but hey...hot nurse. What he doesn't know is that night its going to be a full moon and shit is about to get complicated. There are so many things that I love about this movie, but here are three big ones:  

One, the special effects in this movie are beyond reproach and they really show some creativity. Its no wonder Michael Jackson wanted John Landis to be involved in Thriller after seeing this. The movie has one of the greatest transformations scenes that I have ever seen; non-stop from beginning to end you are in pain while you watch this poor guy turn into a wolf. The make-up and costumes used in some of the cut-scenes are also amazing for their time. This movie was definitely at the top of its game when it was made. 

Two, the soundtrack for the movie is classic and goes down as one of the greatest for a horror flick. The soundtrack is in complete contrast to what you are viewing; every song is up beat and the songs have something to do with the moon like, "Bad Moon Rising", "Moondance", "Blue Moon" , etc. They are all pretty smartly inserted into the movie as well. 

Three, the humor in the movie is very smart and fun and really adds to the charm of the movie. I haven't watched it with anyone who didn't like it. I guess I am saying that this is a charming horror movie. 

I am going to give American Werewolf in London a 9 out of 10. This movie has it all, but lacks a bit towards the end. It just seems like the ending happens so fast that you don't really get to enjoy it. Maybe if there was more of a showdown at the end of the film it would have served a lot better. This movie did its job and has secured a spot on the 1001 horror movies list. Again if you haven't seen it then I suggest that you go out and do so, you will not regret watching this masterpiece. 

Wouldn't you like to be a werewolf, too?
  • The ending credits congratulate Prince Charles on marrying Princess Diana. 
  • Studios wanted Landis to cast Dan Aykroyd as David and John Belushi as his friend Jack. 
  • Because of this movie, Special Effects and Make-Up are now recognized and win awards at the Academy Awards. 

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