Wednesday, January 21, 2009

American Werewolf in London(1981)

This movie is a good mix of horror and comedy. There are very few films which can pull it off. Feast is one that I think is great too and I reviewed that here. American Werewolf in London is a classic of the genre and it won awards for the make-up. This movie is directed by John Landis, who also directed Animal House, The Blues Brothers and Trading Places.

The story begins with two American backpackers,David Kessler(David Naughton) and Jack Goodman(Griffin Dunne) travelling through the Yorkshire Moors when they are attacked by some large animal. Jack is killed but David escapes and he is taken to the hospital in London. He awakens, not remembering anything that happened. He is told of his friend's death. He gets a visit from poor, dead Jack and Jack tells him that he is now a werewolf as he was bitten by one on the moors. He tells David to kill himself before he turns into one and starts killing people.

David moves in with a pretty nurse,Alex Price(Jenny Agutter) who he met in hospital. She is infatuated with him. He begins to turn into a werewolf when the full moon rises and he leaves the apartment to slaughter innocent people and get food. When he awakens the next morning, he is in London Zoo , in the wolf cage, completely naked. He hasn't been touched by the wolves and he has no memory of the night before.

David begins to realise that Jack was right and that he has turned into a beast of the night. He doesn't know what to do until Jack reappears to him, this time even more decomposed. He has a few friends w
ith him- the innocents that David slew the night before. They urge him to kill himself before more people are killed. David doesn't and he returns to his werewolf form again and kills more people. This time, he is seen by the police and chased through the streets of London where he is cornered. Alex arrives and tries to calm him down by telling him that she loves him. He seems to be responding to her when he lunges forward and the police shoot him dead. He returns to his human form as he dies in front of Alex.

This movie is a cult classic and it is widely respected. It is a good werewolf movie and it isn't silly either. Another cult classic released that year is The Howling and I will be reviewing that film in a future post. I was never really fond of werewolf movies until I saw this and The Howling. Another quite good one is Silver Bullet. There was a sequel to this called An American Werewolf in Paris but it is not a patch on this one and is just a cheap reproduction. Let me know what you think of American Werewolf in London. Did you love it or hate it? Do you think it is a classic?I would give it 9/10. It is a genuine classic and very entertaining.


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