The American Werewolf in London appreciation thread

I just bought the 21st anniversay special edition.

First time I saw this was, I think, 1982 or 1983; I knew nothing about it, just saw it in the video rental store and thought “that might be a laugh to watch with my mates and a few beers”.

Well, Damn, it blew us the heck away.

Where to begin?

It’s by John Landis, stars David Naughton, Griffin Dunne, and Jenny Agutter in a nurse’s uniform.

It is a classical treatment of the werewolf story, with the werewolf as a sympathetic creature, set in 1981 London and the Yorkshire moors.

I think it must be one of the earliest films to combine serious horror with deadpan humour; according to the Naughton and Dunne voiceover people were confused by this at the time -
many couldn’t understand the wisecracks and slapstick combined with the no-punches-pulled violence and gore.

Rick Baker won an Oscar and a Saturn award for the special effects, and this was all done with makeup and puppetry!!! Rick, I believe, liked the expresion “make-up special effects”. Look at some of the crappy CGI you see now. Two decades old, dammit, and it puts many films to shame now.

The climax was REALLY filmed in Piccadilly Circus! First film in 15 years to have been shot there, or so they claim. Ok, they intercut that sequence with filler that they shot on a set Also, real London Underground settings, and yer actual Trafalgar Square, where Naughton’s character (attempting to get arrested) yells such things as “Prince Charles is a faggot!” “William Shakespeare was french!”

Hmph. Can’t really express how brilliant this is. Anyone else care to try? Anyone not seen it? Share your thoughts/opinions/favourite bits or lines!!

SERIOUS WARNING : if you haven’t seen it, read no further, as I am sure there will be spoilers. If you have somehow managed to miss out on this classic, I strongly recommend that you don’t deny yourself the experience of seeing it unforewarned.

Clincher : [sub] Jenny Agutter shower sex scene[/sub]

I love that film. I went to see it five times when it first came out; it’s the only film I’ve ever done that for.

I think it’s the way it juxtaposes the mundane and the horrific, which both increases the shock value and provides a source of humour. Case in point (Spoiler!), Jack’s first appearance in the hospital. His ravaged corpse has clambered out of the grave to warn his friend of the horrible fate that awaits him. His first words: “Can I have a piece of that toast?”

TPWombat, what’s “special” about the special edition? Is it worth me looking at? (Bearing in mind I’ve got a video and know it well…)

Wasn’t the love interest in Werewolf also the love interest in Equus? I remember thinking that girl was trying to corner the headcase’s-girlfriend market.

“What did that guy say?”

“Stay off the moor.”


Enjoyed the film up until the final reel; then the ending features one of the worst anti-climaxes in recent history. The authorities don’t even have to bother hunting the werewolf down; it just conveniently corners itself in a dead end alley so that Landis can hurry up and get the film over with as if he doesn’t care.

I realize the end was supposed to be abrutp, shocking, and tragic, but it just doesn’t work for me. Sorry.

As for being the first to combing humor with horror, it’s worth noting that THE HOWLING came out a year earlier, and DAWN OF THE DEAD a year before that.

Yes, Jenny Agutter, the nurse in this film, was also in EQUUS (and LOGAN’S RUN as well). Last I saw her was an unbilled cameo in DARK MAN over ten years ago.

As for Rick Baker’s effects, all you have to do is look at the CGI in the lame-o sequel AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN PARIS, to know how superior on-set makeup can be.

steve biodrowski

I loved this film. The moors were so isolated and eerie, and his werewolf fever dreams, and the dead folk…I could go on, but this movie just kicks ass is all. It certinally made me feel creeped out about subway stations and wide open places…

That damn Underground chase scene scared the shit out of me! When Landis is on, he’s really ON!

And the scene with Jack, the victims and Naughton’s character in the porno theater is just great!

A note- Rick Baker’s Oscar was honorary, I believe, as the catagory hadn’t been added yet. Which makes it even more amazing in my opinion- he had an Oscar catagory invented for him!

Rent it. Actually, just buy it, because if you rent it, you’ll never want to return it!

Every time I hear *Bad Moon Risin’]/i] I have a flashback!

… frickin’ coding…

Loved that movie. One thing was its excellent soundtrack.

I thought that guy said “Keep to the roads and beware the moon”…but its been a long time.

And one more vote for Miss Agutter… some hum babe.

Well, the song has one of the best lines in rock:
Little old lady got mutilated late last night.

I kept expecting the werewolf guy to break out in the Dr Pepper jingle and start dancing through the streets of London.

There are a fair number of young ladies out there that own Landis a vote of thanks! I’d never even heard of the concept of cunnilingus before seeing that movie, but watching Jenny Agutter’s character enjoying it so much (and her being so d*mn hot!), that I made learning how to be really good at it a top priority! :smiley: (Yes, I was that clueless as a teenager) That’s still among my top 10 favorite movie sex scenes.

Hearing Bad Moon Rising over the prowling scenes brought a nervous chuckle to the audience when I saw it in the theaters, but after the scenes with Jack, it fit right in. Likewise, Jack’s commentary was a hoot, commenting on Jenny, making small talk, bitching about some girl he knew running to another man for comfort, the suicide suggestions, and so on; It was horrifically funny.

The special edition is a 2-DVD set.

The main DVD has a voiceover option where you get fade-ins of David Naughton and Griffin Dunne chatting together about their memories of making the film. No revelations, but it’s very very cool! IMHO. Not worth the money, I suspect, unless you really love the film, but I do, and I regret not one penny.

The 2nd DVD has monologues by Landis and Baker. I haven’t listened to Baker’s yet. The Landis one I enjoyed immensely. He explains where he first got the inspiration to write the script in 1969(!) when he was involved with Kelly’s Heroes filming in Yugoslavia. BTW WTF?? just did a search on the IMDB and found nothing concerning Landis and Kelly’s Heroes. Am I losing it??? Anyway, the talk by Landis is immensely enjoyable, and there is also one by Baker which I haven’t watched yet. Also a “storyboard to film comparison” and a “focus on special effects”. I’ll add a comment on these in a couple of days, if anyone cares. Or even if they don’t. :slight_smile:

There are several “outtakes” with no sound, which IMO are only interesting if you are a complete anorak. The exception is a sequence where Landis is sitting talking about something, I know not what cos there’s no sound, and suddenly the wall falls on him (he’s sitting by the door so he’s ok, Buster Keaton eat your (or someone else’s) heart out) and behind him is revealed the four actors making “See You Next Wednesday” caught in mid-shag. Creased me the heck up, YMMV.

Damn, damn, damn, damn, damn what a fine fine fine thing to own.

Mods please note : I have no financial interest in this production. I just think it rocks.

Blue Mooooooooooon…

I came of age because of Jenny Agutter as well. I thought it was just me because it was one of the few nudie scenes I had on tape that I could view over and over.

“A naked American man stole my balloons”

I LOVE that movie, and so does my friend Lisa. One night we arranged a movie night with several friends, and rented the video to share our joy with our friends.

They all sat there and didn’t say a word.

We rented two other movies also, but I can’t remember what they were now. Lisa and I weren’t all that impressed with the other movies. They loved them.

I think they have viewed us both differently ever since.:smiley:

Philistines. :slight_smile:

It’s one of my favorite horror movies, and I’m not particularly big on werewolf movies.

And I can’t believe my horrible timing. I just bought the single-disc version of the movie. Now there’s a 2-disc one? Phooey. :frowning:

ARGH!!! You stole my favorite line!! That was the first thing I thought of when I saw the thread title.

I saw this as a high school senior when it first came out. It was simultaneously the funniest and scariest film I’d ever seen. The juxtapositions of the two were frequently jarring, which is part of what made it such a memorable film (remember during the transformation sequence when they cut to the Mickey Mouse doll as an innocent spectator?). Then there’s Jenny Agutter…I mean, there she is. What more needs to be said?

“Remember the Alamo!”

Consider it duly appreciated. Best werewolf movie ever, for all the reasons everyione’s already given. Plus, the full line is:

“Mummy! A naked American man stole my balloons!”

Jenny Agutter? Anybody else tempted to mention Walkabout?

I never heard of that movie but I think I’ll make a trip to the video store…

Warning: big time spoiler.

ScriptAnalyst: I, on the other hand, only became convinced of the film’s genius upon seeing the ending. It was a very powerful moment for me when the creature threw away the last shred of its humanity and lunged at Agutter; and, thankfully, there was no final scene where the creature is not really dead and makes one more attack.

everton: Walkabout is a film I first saw only because Agutter was in it, and it has given me more to think about than nearly any film I’ve seen. A refreshingly honest film about teenage sexuality. And she is hot in it, even if she was only 14 (or is she hot because she is only 14?).

As far as earlier films that blend horror and humor: The Bride of Frankenstein.