Two American tourists in Britain are attacked by a werewolf that none of the locals will admit exists.
An exciting blend of horror and comedy, An American Werewolf in London is any horror fans dream. Fantastically well directed by John Landis, also known for The Blues Brothers, as well as the more recent black comedy starring Simon Pegg, Burke and Hare, An American Werewolf in London stands out as one of the best horror films of all time. An homage to, and interpretation of the werewolf legend, it stays true to traditional werewolf lore, which works in its favor.
Interestingly John Landis also directed a short horror film that was part of the 2008 TV series Fear Itself (a series made up of hour long horror films). The film In Sickness and in Health, stood out to me above the other short films in the series, as one of the best. I wasn’t at the time aware that it was the same director, so its interesting to note.
One of the best parts of American Werewolf is the transformation scene; regarded as one of the best werewolf transformations in cinema history, its so cleverly put together and so intense that it puts modern CGI technology to shame. When watching the making of An American Werewolf in London, I was fascinated by the use of a prosthetic body; actor David Naughton was partly under the floor of the set, attached to a wholly prosthetic werewolf body. The make up effects throughout the entire film are fantastic, leagues above many horror films these days, the werewolf is closer to traditional werewolf stories than those of more recent films, and its cleverly created too.
Although American Werewolf probably wouldn’t scare audiences today, it is a very successful horror, one that is enough to creep anyone out even just a little bit. The hospital scene after Davids nightmare, when the nurse opens the curtains to another gun wielding maniac, featured recently on a Total Film list of the top movie jump scares.
One of the best horror films I’ve seen, and I still enjoy watching it even now. The make-up and direction is fantastic; probably the real star of the film! Well worth a watch for anyone who hasn’t seen it; a horror fan must!