Sunday, July 20, 2014

An American Werewolf in London (1981)

Director: John Landis
Writer:    John Landis
Cast:       David Naughton, Jenny Agutter, Joe Belcher

Two American college students on a walking tour of Britain are attacked by a werewolf that none of the locals will admit exists.

John Landis is known for directing comedy films like Trading Places and National Lampoon's Animal House. The initial draft of American Werewolf in London was written by him in the late 1960s which was then shelved for a decade. It can be described as a horror comedy with more stress on the comedy parts which makes it very watchable even now. The make-up effects during the transformation are really great and the horror moments are really edge of the seat stuff which cannot be said about many other horror films where the directors don't know how to build an uneasy tension. Evil Dead which also came out in 1981 is also supposed to be an horror film with plenty of humor about it but I wouldn't know about that since I watched it when I was around 11 years old and was proper terrified. John Landis went on to direct Michael Jackson's legendary Thriller music video and by watching this film I know where it came from.

The ending would have been funnier if he had killed off his girlfriend too instead of going the King Kong way. The relationship between them is done pretty well. John Landis is an American but he manages to give the film a characteristically British humor. My only prior exposure to werewolves were through the character Professor Lupin in the Harry Potter series. The final werewolf attack happens in a Porno theater with a porn film running in the background. That film from what is shown is also as odd as this one.

A sequel to film came in 97 titled 'An American Werewolf in Paris' and it didn't do very well. I haven't seen it but looks like Julie Delpy was in it. Film follows the adventures of the child conceived by the werewolf in first film and his nurse girlfriend.

Rating: 4.5/5