So far this month I have seen zombies, crazies, vampires, ghosts, witches and clowns. Tonight I add werewolves to the list with the John Landis classic An American Werewolf in London.
Two Americans, Jack (Griffin Dunne) and David (David Naughton), are backpacking across England. On their first night, they walk into a bar called The Slaughtered Lamb where the people inside are not very welcoming. When Jack and David get too nosy, they are kicked out with the warning to beware the moon and stick to the road. Of course, they don’t listen and cut across the moor to find an inn.
Soon they find themselves being circled by an animal that they cannot escape. Jack is torn to pieces by what appears to be a giant wolf and David is attacked but is immediately rescued by the townspeople at the inn who shoot it dead. Before David passes out, the dead wolf has become a dead man.
David begins to experience changes that lead to a complete transformation to werewolf in the full moon. The scratch wounds he received during the attack have infected him and now he needs to find out how to reverse it before more people die.
The makeup and special effects of Rick Baker are superb. The transformation scene is absolutely top notch and is still the best transformation I have ever seen. The only thing I find strange about the whole film is the music. It’s almost comical how awkwardly placed each song is. I do understand that each song has a moon/wolf theme but they just don’t fit in with the situations in which they are played.
American Werewolf in London is easily one of, if not the greatest werewolf film ever made. I wouldn’t consider anyone a true horror fan that hasn’t seen this film. If you are one of those people, make sure to give it a shot. It beats out those Twilight werewolves any day.