An American Werewolf in London
London, when I think of London I picture "bad food, worse weather, fish, chips and Mary bloody Poppins." When I watch An American Werewolf in London, I see a gritty version of jolly ol’ England, and of course with a werewolf to cause trouble. Made in 1981 London was the brain child of director John Landis, who is more commonly known for his comedic directing skills(i.e. Animal House, The Blues Brothers, ect.) But when John was finally granted permission and funding by Universal, he then went and assembled a crack team of special effects artists, and actors. In the special effects department John got Rick Baker the man responsible for the make up in Star Wars, to do the amazing make up effects. As for the acting ability all were pretty decent portrayals of average people thrust into a not so average situation, as David our lead man with a hairy problem was David Naughton, as Jack, David’s friend who only he can see(because he’s dead) is Griffin Dunne and the leading lady was played by Jenny Agutter.
The story is really pretty simple, guy gets attacked by werewolf who then kills his friend, man survives attack, falls in love with girl who wants to help, man faces problems and then kills a whole lot of people. I feel that the story is indeed excellent, but the awesome-ness of the movie lies in the stunning effects and in the camera work. John Landis did a jaw dropping job of bringing the pain of a werewolf transformation to the screen. Landis took the camera and put it in David’s face so we the audience could see the little twitches that makes pain come to life on camera. With all of the camera movements that John Landis did, it took even more to make the transformation believable, and that meant Rick Baker doing some spectacular make up and costume effects. Baker made David’s jaw grow about 8 inches out to form a muzzle, making David’s hands and fingers stretch and crack, to show the entire body changing was just so awesome it allowed Baker to win the first Academy Award for make up effects.
With all of the horror elements that are in An American Werewolf in London, John Landis had to stay true to his comedic roots and the film has a few one liners that only seem to add to the scariness of the film. I think that the biggest joke John Landis put in the film was Jack, every time we see Jack he is a little bit more decayed and a little more of him seems to fall off on screen. Of course most of the one liners all belong to Jack, but I guess I’d be pissed too if I were dead and rotting, doomed to walk the earth until the werewolf that killed me is killed as well. I guess it’s the irony of being a werewolf, anybody you kill will be left for you to see until you are dead too. Oh well. To any person that is in the need to watch something scary or your just a fan of this genre then run out and grab this movie, it’s scary and it’s funny, it’s so funny in fact it’ll have you howling.