31 Days of Halloween Day 28 – An American Werewolf In London

31 Days of Halloween – Day 28

An American Werewolf in London (directed by John Landis, 1981) Every time I watch An American Werewolf in London, I enjoy, and appreciate it, more and more. As far as horror goes, it is top notch. Amazing special effects (courtesy of legendary make-up artist Rick Baker), truly bizarre dream sequences, and a strong story are all present, but what really makes this film for me is the dark comedy. This should come at no surprise as John Landis (Animal House, Blues Brothers) wrote and directed the movie. Landis has a great knack for making audiences laugh. American Werewolf is a fine blend of terror and laughter. Two American college students are traveling through the Scottish countryside. During a brief stop at The Slaughtered Lamb for a pint, they are warned by the locals to “stick to the road and stay off the moors”. After ignoring the advice, they are attacked by a savage animal that leaves one traveler dead, and the other wounded. David, the survivor, wakes up in the hospital. He begins having terrifying dreams, and eventually is visited by his friend Jack’s corpse. Jack explains to David that he was attacked by a werewolf, and because he survived, David would become one as well during the next full moon. Is David losing his mind, or is this a true warning that he is now a man-wolf? As the moon turns, David, and most of London discover that the warning was valid. The beast runs wild in the city, resulting in some violent attacks, as well as some humorous situations. A scene in which a naked David wakes up in the city zoo is worth the watch, as is the first transformation scene. Rick Baker and his team did a masterful job. The effects were much better in American Werewolf than movies of the same time. David Naughton is great as the cheeky traveler David, and Jenny Agutter is charming and lovely as his love interest nurse Alex. The character who steals the show is Jack. Played by Griffin Dunne, Jack is David’s dead best friend who returns from beyond the grave to warn, and subsequently annoy, David. The scenes and dialogue between the two is genuine and funny. An American Werewolf in London is much more than a typical horror movie, but as far as films about shape-shifters are concerned, it may be the best all-around presentation of the genre. This classic should slide nicely into your Halloween line-up. And oh yeah, beware the moon.

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Recap

  • Day 1 – The Conjuring
  • Day 2 – You’re Next
  • Day 3 – Rob Zombie’s Halloween
  • Day 4 – Dog Soldiers
  • Day 5 – Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003)
  • Day 6 – Psycho (1960)
  • Day 7 – John Carpenter’s The Thing
  • Day 8 – The Prowler
  • Day 9 – Pet Sematary
  • Day 10 – The Nightmare Before Christmas
  • Day 11 – Near Dark
  • Day 12 – The Lost Boys
  • Day 13 – Child’s Play
  • Day 14 – Sleepy Hollow
  • Day 15 – House of 1,000 Corpses
  • Day 16 – The Devil’s Rejects
  • Day 17 – Night of the Living Dead
  • Day 18 – Dawn of the Dead (’78)
  • Day 19 – Friday the 13th: A New Beginning
  • Day 20 – Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)
  • Day 21 – The Cabin In The Woods
  • Day 22 – A Nightmare On Elm Street (1984)
  • Day 23 – The Exorcist III
  • Day 24 – The Evil Dead (1981)
  • Day 25 – The Blair Witch Project
  • Day 26 – The Shining
  • Day 27 – Trick r Treat
  • Day 28 – An American Werewolf in London

T.

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