HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Equalizer 2, The
1985
Mowgli
Ski School
Ant-Man and the Wasp
Age of Shadows, The
Mission: Impossible - Fallout
Othello
First Reformed
Red White and Zero
Death Wish
Cry Wilderness
Heiresses, The
Millhouse: A White Comedy
Skyscraper
Born of Fire
Teen Titans Go! To the Movies
Lucia
Yanks
Sweet November
Ballad of Buster Scruggs, The
Real Men
Shoplifters
Redeemer
Incredibles 2
Big House, The
Night Eats the World, The
War Bus
Back to Berlin
Leave No Trace
   
 
Newest Articles
A Name to Conjure With: David Nixon's Magic Box on DVD
Which 1950s Sci-Fi was Scariest? Invaders from Mars vs The Blob
The Empire Strikes Back: Khartoum vs Carry On Up the Khyber
Stan and Ollie's Final Folly: Atoll K on Blu-ray
The Big Grapple: Escape from New York and Its Influence
The Conquest of Everett: The Kenny Everett Video Show on DVD
Bout for the Count: Hammer's Dracula in the 1970s
Nopes from a Small Island: Mistreatment of American Stars in British Films
You Know, For Kids: Children's Film Foundation Bumper Box
If He Were a Carpenter and It Was the 80s: The Fog, Prince of Darkness and They Live
Tee-Hee, It's 80s Sci-Fi Horror: Night of the Comet, The Stuff and Night of the Creeps
Chance of a Ghost: The Uninvited and The Ghost and Mrs. Muir
3 Simian Slashers: Phenomena, Link and Monkey Shines
When is a Jackie Chan Movie Not a Jackie Chan Movie? Armour of God and City Hunter
Anytime Anywhere: The Complete Goodies at the BBC Episode Guide Part 2
   
 
  American Werewolf in London, An There WolfBuy this film here.
Year: 1981
Director: John Landis
Stars: David Naughton, Jenny Agutter, Griffin Dunne, John Woodvine, Brian Glover, Don McKillop, Paul Kember, Lila Kaye, Anne-Marie Davies, Frank Oz, Rik Mayall, Linzi Drew, Alan Ford
Genre: Horror, Comedy, Drama
Rating:  7 (from 9 votes)
Review: Two American backpackers out in the English countryside walk into a village pub, meeting with a frosty reception when they ask about the pentagram drawn on one wall. Escaping into the night, they wander onto the moors and are hunted down by an unseen beast which attacks them, leaving only David (David Naughton) left alive. But when his dead friend Jack (Griffin Dunne) appears to inform him in hospital that he's now a werewolf, David doesn't know what to believe...

This melancholy, blackly comic horror was written by director John Landis, and was released around the same time as that other werewolf hit, The Howling. But where The Howling was content to parade a series of shocks, effects and in-jokes, Landis' film has more of an emotional core - although Rick Baker's excellent special effects and makeup were the main attraction.

The gory shock scenes are played straight, but the addition of comedy setpieces makes American Werewolf easy to warm to, and ironically gives the tragic elements more prominence. Funny bits include David waking up to find himself naked in the zoo (do they really keep wolves in zoos?) and trying to get arrested ("Queen Elizabeth - is a man!"), and there are plenty of nice details such as the punks on the underground or the TV with only three channels - none of which are worth watching - which offer an amused look at Britain from an American point of view.

This is that rare horror film with no real evil behind its tragedy - in fact the strongest emotions on display are guilt and regret. Even the villagers are consumed with guilt, and David has the burden of having the ghosts of past victims following him around. Alex (Jenny Agutter) is the nurse who falls in love with him, and contributes the heart of the film as she realises she cannot help him. The possibility of a romantic ending - David only being able to be killed by someone who loves him - proves to be foolish whimsy.

Naughton fits the role of the innocent abroad, and you feel it's a real shame that fate should deal him such a unlucky hand when his nightmares become his reality. The other actors are equally effective, with the sardonic Dunne and the sweet-natured Agutter standing out. That ending always gets me. Music by Elmer Bernstein, and the soundtrack includes many oldies with "moon" in the title. Little joke there.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 13297 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 

John Landis  (1950 - )

American writer-director who made a big splash in the comedy genre, starting with The Kentucky Fried Movie, Animal House and The Blues Brothers. An American Werewolf in London was an innovative blend of comedy and horror, and remains his best film.

Mega-hit Trading Places followed, but after a tragic accident on the set of Twilight Zone: The Movie, Landis' talent seemed to desert him, and he offered up some increasingly unimpressive comedies. He returned briefly to horror with Innocent Blood, and after a long spell away helmed Brit comedy Burke and Hare; he also directed Michael Jackson's "Thriller" and "Black or White" videos.

 
Review Comments (4)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star do you think makes the best coffee?
Emma Stone
Anna Kendrick
Michelle Rodriguez
Sir Patrick Stewart
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
George White
Paul Smith
Andrew Pragasam
Darren Jones
Aseels Almasi
Rashed Ali
Alexander Taylor
   

 

Last Updated: