Yes, fellow horror-fans, it’s that time again, and as last week, we blast off with another installment of blood and gore… I’m talking werewolves, or Werewolf, in this particular case. The movie; An American Werewolf in London, an all time horror-classic. The movie was written and directed by John Landis and stars David Naughton (David Kessler), Jenny Agutter (Alex Price), and Griffin Dunne (Jack Goodman). When it came out in 1981, the film was… well, with a budget of $10 million and a World Wide Box-office at $30,565,292.. I’d say it was pretty well received and hit stands today as one of the greatest films of its genre. It has a 91% Fresh-rating on Rotten Tomatoes and a 7.5-score on IMDB, so it’s pretty safe to say that its fan-base is rather big. I personally. haven’t met anyone yet, that said they didn’t like it.
From the very beginning (one of the best opening credits I’ve seen), we are enchanted by an ominous setting that sends shivers through our bodies, with Bobby Vinton’s ‘Blue Moon‘ to the camera fading over desolate plains. It sets up the mood for the rest of the experience and it puts you in a state of mind that lasts you through the entire movie.
And speaking of music.. the movie has a lot of good tunes in it. On top of Vinton’s soothing version of ‘Blue Moon‘. We’re treated with songs like ‘Bad Moon Rising‘ by Creedence Clearwater Revival, ‘Blue Moon‘ by Sam Cooke and Van Morrison’s ‘Moondance‘ among others. Sure, at times, the music can feel a little out of place but it kinda adds to the experience in a way that music most often fails to do in movies like this and I fail to see the negative in that. Although, I feel it to be a little sad that Landis didn’t get the rights to use Cat Stevens’ ‘Moon Shadow’ or Bob Dylan’s ‘Moonshiner‘, which would’ve given the soundtrack a bit more sting to the theme as a whole. But, it still works without’em and I have no complaints about it as it stands.
The story of the film, however, is nothing spectacular, really. Two American friends are on a vacation, travelling the English country-side, where they are attacked by a monstrous creature. Sadly, Jack Goodman (Dunne) does not come out of the experience alive. However, when in the hospital, David Kessler (Naughton) begins to have hallucinations (as his body is reacting to the werewolf-bites) and he sees his friend Goodman, all torn up, speaking to him from the beyond.
This scene gave me nightmares the first time around… just look at it! The make-up artists working on this film did a stellar job. Never before have I seen such graphic detail in a movie. I don’t know how the reactions to it were at the time, but I can imagine it being a whole lot of press-releases about it in the days (or maybe even weeks) following its premiere.
Another thing in the movie that really stands out is the transformation sequence. I haven’t seen (or most probably won’t see any time soon neither) such a fantastic transformation-scene in a movie before this and after over three decades of lousy effects in just this type of movie-sequence (sure, there’s been a FEW good ones too, of course) I think that it’s pretty damn safe to say that the transformation in this movie will withstand all its glory for at least two or three decades more. I mean, Naughton’s performance alone is astonishing, combined with gruesome sound effects all under a smooth ballad (Sam Cooke’s ‘Blue Moon‘). Top that all off with NO CGI what so ever (it was made in 1981, after all)… Amazing, absolutely amazing!!
Well, I could sit here and talk about this movie for hours but I won’t do that…. so instead, I’m leaving you now, feeling not all satisfied with today’s post, so this is another one that’ll be featured in my future webisodes. So again, if you feel that I’ve left something out… don’t threat…. It will most certainly be in the video!
Tomorrow’s a new day, with yet another scary movie to watch and write about… what movie is it going to be? Well, I honestly don’t know the answer to that question yet….
But until tomorrow, here’s a poem by Anna Turtle; A Werewolf Howl
“A howl in the night, Cuts the silence in two,
A howl in the night, Makes you ask ‘who? ’
It is a lonely hunter, That stands on the field,
It is a lonely hunter, That hasn’t yet killed,
A creature so big, All covered in pelt,
A creature so big, Whit its head high held,
A wolf on two legs, Howls to the moon,
A wolf on two legs, Is going to kill soon,
It is called a werewolf, Deadly as few,
It is called a werewolf, If just you knew. “