An American Werewolf in London (1981) from Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski) and Tuna
most of you know what this is. It was perhaps the first truly
successful horror/comedy since the Abbott and Costello days, and was
the best of the early experiments in pneumatic transformations. David
Naughton's transformation into a werewolf on camera, stark naked, was
a shocking scene in its day, and his later appearance in the zoo,
still stark naked, is probably still one of the most dramatic examples
of male nudity in an American film.
John Landis wrote this script about 10 years before it was ever made. It was optioned several times, but no studio would give it the green light. Finally, after Landis was establiushed as a director, he made it himself.
|It's a pretty good film
because it sets a modest goal and achieves it. It manages to show what
would happen in modern times if the werewolf legends were true, and a
couple of American backpackers happened to be victims. It stays with
those regular, likeable, joking, fun-loving kids, even after they
become the undead, and ultimately manages to persuade one that the
protagonists could be anyone in the audience.
Griffin Dunne turned in an amusing characterization of a steadily decaying corpse who continues to stay in touch with his friends among the living, and even whines about how his girlfriend was sleeping with someone else right after the funeral. The musical score is a compilation of some great renditions of "Moon" songs - Blue Moon, Bad Moon Risin', etc. In general the film is a lot of fun. I guess the biggest disappointment is the ending, which will leave you wondering why it ended so soon. If you blink, the credits will be rolling, and you'll have to rewind. I wanted more.
But I guess that alone is the mark of a good picture. You don't want more if the film stinks.
There are scores of good articles on line at IMDb and rotten tomatoes. James Berardinelli wrote an especially good review, which included plenty of background.
|The special edition DVD was a little disappointing. Oh, there are plenty of features, but the technical quality of the images was inconsistent. Some scenes were dark and grainy. Landis reported that he viewed many, many hours of outtakes and deleted scene, but the DVD has a very small selection, and Landis specifically rejected some with Agutter and Naughton naked! There is some full-frontal nudity in the deleted scenes, provided by the actors in the porno film-within-a-film. (The title was Landis' trademark "See You Next Wednesday")|
|Tuna's comments in
An American Werewolf in London (1981) is a John Landis Horror/Comedy starring David Naughton as the American tourist turned werewolf, and Jenny Agutter as the nurse who loves him. Naughton and a friend are attacked outside a small town in the North of England. The friend is killed, and Naughton wakes up in a London hospital. His friend appears to him and tells him he is cursed to be undead until Naughton kills himself and ends the werewolf bloodline. Naughton moves in with Agutter after he is released, and is fine until the first full moon.
Return to the Movie House home page