Sunday, October 4, 2015

An American Werewolf In London (1981)

While backpacking through Great Britain, David and Jack decide to stop in a small town for something to eat and drink.  The only pub is called the Slaughtered Lamb, and the patrons are not welcoming.  After some awkward exchanges, the two friends decide to leave and are warned to stay on the road and not go onto the moors.  This is the same advice given to them earlier by a farmer who gave them a lift.

The two trek into the night and soon find themselves in the middle of the moors, having ventured off the road while they were talking.  They would put the warnings down to local superstition except they can hear the sounds of an unknown animal who seems to be circling them.  A decision to head back to the pub is made too late as the men realize they are lost and the animal comes out of nowhere to attack.

Three weeks later David wakes up in the hospital.  He's told that Jack is dead and the lunatic who attacked them was killed by townsfolk who witnessed the attack.  But David insists it was an animal that attacked them.

While coping with what he's learned has gone on in the past three weeks he's been unconscious, David begins to have nightmares. He also starts seeing the corpse of Jack, who warns him that he will change on the full moon because they were attacked by a werewolf.  This isn't something you can say to a doctor and be taken seriously, especially when you believe it was a wolf that attacked you.

An American Werewolf in London was the second horror movie I saw in the theater.  I remember holding my hands in front of my eyes to block the carnage on the screen.  The blood and guts made me queasy, and the movie scared me.  Now that I'm used to watching horror, it doesn't have the same effect, but the movie stands up over time and is still a good watch.

The werewolf makeup by Rick Baker is still fantastic by todays standards.  No CGI for the transformation, and a huge step up from the series of still shots superimposed over each other like in the old Universal Monsters films.  The dvd I watched has a bonus features regarding the makeup, and Baker definitely gave them their moneys worth on the effects.

This is one of the best werewolf movies.  It's got a good story, great effects, and some great comedic moments.  Definitely worth viewing.

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