An American Werewolf in London Review
Written by: Moviemaven
An American Werewolf in London is arguably the best werewolf film ever made. Hell, it is one of the best horror films made. Period. I will accept no argument that disputes that. How can one possibly watch it and disagree? This is another of the many films that are directly responsible for my love of gore.
It is not my favorite werewolf film (The Howling barely squeaks by) but it is close enough. The incredible transformation scene brought to us by Oscar Winner Rick Baker goes down as one of the greatest achievements in the annals of film history.
As David and his friend, Jack, are taking a tour of Europe after graduation, they stumble upon a tee-niny town in England where the villagers don't seem so hospitable. So they are on their way into the moors in the dead of night during a full moon. Suddenly, a blood-chilling howl rips through the silence of the night and the boys are fighting for their lives. When David awakens in a London hospital weeks later, he learns that Jack is dead and he has been injured. But that is only the beginning of his troubles.
After leaving the hospital, David shacks up with his nurse (ah...the eighties) and falls in love. He begins to notice changes in himself as the full moon approaches and he is constantly troubled by visits from his dead friend. He is firmly convinced he is losing his mind until he wakes up naked in the zoo one morning to learn that London has been gripped by the claws of a brutal serial murderer. Now knowing that he is a danger to those he loves, David must decide what to do. For there is no cure for lycanthropy; only death.
Chilling and bold, An American Werewolf in London will tug at your heartstrings and your funny bone. It is the in-your-face horror film with a refreshingly witty sense of humor. But then, how can that be surprising when you consider that it was written and directed by comedic genius John Landis of Animal House and and The Blues Brothers to name just a couple.
Landis' script comes to life via the talents of the amazing cast: David Naughton, Griffin Dunne, Jenny Agutter, and John Woodvine. Naughton's tragic David is funny and charming (not to mention A-dorable). You find yourself torn as he is forced to make his decision. Yes, he may be a blood-thirsty killer that walks on all fours and has fangs to beat the band...but he's cute dammit.
The unmatched gore and goo are vividly laid out by the incredible Rick Baker. You gore fans out there will not be disappointed. You get to see heads roll, bloody gashes, rotting corpses, and the much touted werewolf transformation that landed Baker his first of five Oscars.
And I cannot mention this flick without bringing up the kick-ass soundtrack. This movie is the sole reason for my love of Van Morrison.
The film was hailed as an instant classic and rightfully so as 24 years later, the effects still stand the test of time. If you have never witnessed the wonder that is this film, then you are surely missing out. No horror fan can call themselves fully rounded without having seen An American Werewolf in London.