‘Beware the Moon.’
Director: John Landis
Cast: David Naughton, Griffin Dunne, Jenny Agutter, John Woodvine
Plot: A strange creature on the lonely Yorkshire Moors attacks two American backpackers one night. One of the backpackers is killed. The other is transformed into something horrific… a Werewolf!
Before SHAUN OF THE DEAD, there was AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON, the original horror-comedy from John Landis, the genius behind such comedy classics as THE BLUES BROTHERS and ANIMAL HOUSE. A dark yet often hilarious revamp of the classic monster legend, WEREWOLF is a twisted mish-mash masterpiece of comedy and horror, with its tongue firmly placed in cheek.
Horror comedies are hard to get right. After all, both genres are at opposite ends of the filmic spectrum, one relying on making cinemagoers laugh, the other to make them crap themselves. Yet Landis somehow gets the mix right. WEREWOLF is both scary AND funny, never falling into self-parody and remaining consistent in both respects throughout. The build up towards the transformation is the film at its creepiest, from the uncomfortable scenes at the Slaughtered Lamb pub to the first appearance of the mutilated Jack, caked in some fantastic prosthetics that look almost real. And yet it’s also hilarious – the dialogue sparkles with wit throughout, and the latter scenes in the film have some of the cheekiest, funniest moments ever committed to a horror film. Add in a talented cast of actors (including the brilliant David Naughton as werewolf victim David and the stunningly sexy Jenny Agutter as his squeeze Alex) and some top notch direction (especially in the film’s climatic Picadilly Circus pile-up), and you have one of the most confident and brilliant horror-comedies of all time!
Horror Highlights: The transformation sequence is easily the stand-out part of the film. Rick Baker’s amazing, award-winning make-up effects are a wonder to behold, and David Naughton is never better then here, howling in pain as his body contorts and twists into something monstrous. The addition of ‘Blue Moon’ as performed by Sam Cooke gives the scene a hint of laughable, yet equally cruel irony!
Best Scare: The nightmare sequence in which David witnesses his entire family slaughtered by Nazi storm-trooper demons whilst an episode of THE MUPPETS plays on in the background. Seriously, you couldn’t make this stuff up!
Best Laugh: A guilt-ridden David hides out in an old London Porno Movie Theatre, where the rotting corpse of Jack and the ghosts of all the people he killed the night before as a werewolf gather to give him advice on how to kill himself, all whilst an over-the-top porno plays on in the background.
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