Late to the Scary Movies! A review of An American Werewolf in London

Late to the Scary Movies! A review of An American Werewolf in London

Prologue by SoCreepy:

Beware the moon, lads.

An American Werewolf in LondonCover of "American Werewolf in London Spe... is not a comedy. At all. But there are some very funny things in this movie. Credit for that goes to director John Landis, who also gave us The Blue Brothers and Animal House on the comedy front and Twilight Zone and Michael Jackson’s Thriller on the horror front.

But seriously, you haven’t seen An American Werewolf in London yet? I’m so devastated, I’m on the floor writhing and twitching. It’s amazing! It’s everything a good horror movie should be: it’s approachable, it has compassion, at times it’s horrifying and the main character goes through a transformation of sorts. In this case, literally. I also LOVE the use of Van Morrison‘s “Moondance” and Creedence Clearwater Revival‘s “Bad Moon Rising“. For better or worse, I always think of this movie whenever I hear those songs. Arrrooooo!

Scary highlights: the unnerving visit to the Slaughtered Lamb pub. I don’t know about you, but there is nothing worse than walking into a place and immediately being met with open hostility as the outsiders. It’s even worse if it’s related to a curse! There is dream sequence that could be the most frightening thing in the movie. As a side note – they used to run that as part of the commercial trailer when I was a kid. It scared the piss outta me. Lastly the gore is really graphic and fantastic. In fact, I’ll quote IMDB here: Because of this film, makeup and industry technological contributions became recognized by the Academy Awards in 1981. Makeup artist Rick Baker was the first to receive an Oscar in the new category.


LTTM Review:

It’s definitely interesting to me that John Landis also directed Thriller, because one of my comments was going to be that the special effects/makeup look very similar. As I mentioned above, I haven’t seen Blue Brothers or Animal House but, um, I’m guessing they’re a little different.

I have to admit that I was pleasantly surprised by this film. I thought it might be outdated or wouldn’t hold up to “the test of time.” Sure, the movie and specifically the transformation scene could be redone with CGI now and might look “more realistic” but I thought everything looked very well done and prefer it to anything computer-generated. Some of the effects like his spine growing looked eerily real to me. I thought these scenes were very scary and some of the better effects I’ve seen in any horror film.

I also really loved the use of music in this film, but I made note of “Blue Moon” that plays over the main transformation seen. The transformation seemed, you know, a little painful and didn’t exactly match the feeling of the song, and I thought that was great.

A few notes about the Slaughtered Lamb:

  • What is with their love of darts? “You made me miss. I’ve never missed that board before.” Sure. Okay. Heh. Fine.
  • Okay, those dudes (and lady!) are DICKS for not telling Jack and David that there was a werewolf on the loose. SERIOUSLY, you are going to risk the lives of two guys to keep your secret? If I were undead like Jack, I’d spend less time convincing David to kill himself and more time haunting those awful Slaughtered Lamb patrons. But I’m also evil and vindictive so…

I definitely enjoyed the movie but at times felt like the director was trying to go for some serious character development and that was not happening. I thought the acting was decent, the writing was decent and there was chemistry between the actors, but by the time the movie was over I thought that maybe I was supposed to be a little sadder about David’s demise. And I definitely wasn’t. Character development is probably not the best thing to attempt in this genre but I definitely felt like that was the director’s intention. Still, it’s one of the better horror films I’ve seen (not just this October, but all around). I’m very glad I watched.

‘And stick to the road.’ ….Oops.

Favorite part: The hot teacher from My Girl was in this movie and that is VERY exciting. Unfortunately he spends most of it rotting, but still. (There were a few scenes of his postmortem that legitimately creeped me out.) I also really enjoyed the music in the movie, although at times it could be a bit cheesy. And obviously the transformation scene since I can’t stop talking about it.

The “I missed that in pop culture trivia” moment:  I’ve heard the porn scene referenced to at a trivia event that I used to attend in Lawrence. Nothing exciting, but at least I’ve seen it now.

Sometimes it blows my minds that people watch/ed porn in a theatre. I mean… weird.

Regrettable tardiness scale (out of 10): 6/10. A lot of people whose tastes (whose tastes….right? English is hard) I respect enjoy this movie and suggested it to me in the past. I’m glad I finally settled down to watch it.

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