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An American Werewolf in London

UK / USA 1981
produced by
George Folsey jr, Peter Guber (executive), Jon Peters (executive) for Polygram Pictures, Lyncanthrope Films/Universal
directed by John Landis
starring David Naughton, Jenny Agutter, John Woodvine, Griffin Dunne, Don McKillop, Paul Kember, Anne-Marie Davies, Michele Brisigotti, Mark Fisher, Gordon Sterne, Paula Jacobs, Linzi Drew, Lucien Morgan, Dave Cooper, Susan Spencer, Geoffrey Burridge, Brenda Cavendish, Christopher Scoular, Mary Tempest, Sydney Bromley, Frank Singuineau, Will Leighton, Michael Carter, Cynthia Powell, Joe Belcher, David Schofield, Brian Glover, Lila Kaye, Rik Mayall, Sean Baker, Paddy Ryan, Frank Oz, Colin Fernandes, Albert Moses, Claudine Bowyer, Johanna Crayden, Nina Carter, Elizabeth Bradley, Rufus Deakin, Lesley Ward, George Hilsdon, Alan Ford, Peter Ellis, Denise Stephens, Christine Hargreaves, Bob Babenia, Ken Sicklen, John Salthouse, Gerry Lewis, Dennis Fraser, John Altman, Keith Hodiak, John Owens, Roger Rowland
written by John Landis, music by Elmer Bernstein, special makeup effects by Rick Baker

American Werewolf

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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All American tourists David (David Naughton) and Jack (Griffin Dunne) wanted to do is take a hiking trip through the British countryside - and then they're attacked by a wolf who kills Jack and wounds David, before some locals come to the rescue and kill the wolf ... who in death turns out to be a man (Paddy Ryan).

When David comes to he's in a hospital in London, and everyone, from Dr. Hirsch (John Woodvine) to the police (Don McKillop, Paul Kember), assures him he wasn't attacked by a wolf but by a madman - and his insistence to the contrary leaves little impression on anybody. But nurse Alex (Jenny Agutter) has fallen in love with him and when he's discharged she takes him home with her for recreation - also of the sexual sort. Now all would be great ... if it wasn't for Jack, who despite being dead, visits David time and again to insist David's a werewolf who ought to kill himself for Jack to move on from limbo to the next level. Jack thinks little of it ... until one full moon night, when Alex works a night shift, he transforms into a wolf, kills no less than six people, and wakes up all naked in the wolves' cage at the zoo. He has no remembrance of what he's done and feels great, but Dr. Hirsch has since made a few inquiries and thinks there's something wrong with David. He tries to call David in, but when David hears about the murders, he quickly comes to the conclusion that it must have been him and tries to get himself arrested - but that's easier said than done, and instead he lands in a porn cinema with Jack and those he killed last night in their undead form, who all insist he kills himself, the sooner the better - instead he turns into a werewolf of course and ...

 

When it comes to modern horror comedies, An American Werewolf in London really ranks very high up the charts, basically because it delivers on all levels, it's not only suspenseful and bloody and features some practical effects that sill impress on one hand and is darkly funny on the other, it's also a well-structured and well-told yarn that references classic horrors in many a way without overbourdening itself with Easter eggs while approaching its story in a way that still seems fresh almost 4 decades after its release. Basically, it shows director John Landis in top form here, when he effortlessly combines horror and humour, also showing his predilection for enjoyable destruction (i.e. the multiple car crash in the finale), and his talent to just keep things flowing at a steady pace.

A deserving classic for sure, and a must-see for any self-respecting horror fan!

 

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review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
-
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner

 

Out now from
Amazon!!!

 

 

 

On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide
WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
starring
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD