An American Werewolf in London (1981)

   
Written & Directed by: John Landis

Starring:


David Naughton .... David Kessler
Jenny Agutter .... Nurse Alex Price
Griffin Dunne .... Jack Goodman
John Woodvine .... Dr. Hirsch
Don McKillup .... Inspector Villiers

Special Appearance:

Frank Oz .... Mr. Collins

Release Date: Theatrical: August 21, 1981

 

 

Rating:

 

Two American tourisits David Kessler (David Naughton) and Jack Goodman (Griffin Dunne) are on a walking tour of England and people at a local pub there warn them about werewolfs and to stay on the road they walk on and to keep clear of the moors as well as to beware of the full moon.
However, after they leave they walk off the road and walk into the moors plus it's a full moon. Suddenly they both are attacked by a werewolf one gets killed and the other one is mauled.
The werewolf gets killed but David is having twisted nightmares and his undead friend Jack appears whererever he resides and warns him about what he is but David doesn't believe him.
One night it's a full moon and he goes on a killing spree.
At one point he wakes up in a zoo naked and doesn't remember how he got there.
Then he notices the news on murders and fears for everyone's safety but doesn't know on what to do by sacrificing his life when the next full moon occurs.

 

The beginning of the film looked peaceful and impressive on the deserted forest hills with the sun slowly setting down showing the opening credits as it leaves a nice touch for everything involved within all of this. Also seems impressive and witty with the American tourists David and Jack getting out of the vehicle with a bunch of sheep in the back which was nicely put in as you can tell they were getting a free ride but of course they had to take whatever that they could get.
Also things seem perfectly dark and mysterious like when they enter a pub as the locals there stared at them as you kinda wonder as to why there was a silence when they came in. Also it was very creepy by what they warn them to do by not leaving the road when they hear a howling giving it a perfect spooky touch.
My favourite scene of them all is when they walk outside in the rain and leave the road way in which leaves a chill down your spine. Also a good shot on the full moon as well as the two getting suspicious of the growling sounds in which their discussions spounded spooky as well as them realising that they went off the road which was perfectly written in and giving the plot a perfect feel that they will be attacked especially when they spot some sort of a beast and trying to get away. What's scarier is that the beast isn't reavealed keeping you in more suspense and being scared that there's a camera shot that will take you by surprise with this monster attacking one of them. Perfectly done indeed and the most memorable moment here.
There's a good moment with Nurse Alex Price coming in to talk to David and tries to feed him even if he claims that he is not hungry in which there's some interesting moments of a flirtatious behaviors between the two of them which looked nice to watch and well focused when we spot all of this. Meanwhile there's good odd clips with a camera racing through a wooded area as well as David running naked or attacking a deer. Plus a perfect moment on David in the woods watching and a hospital bed lying there with Alex standing over. Then a great shocking close up on a monstrous werewolf face of David. It kinds almost looks similar to a brief hallucination of Pazuzu in The Exorcist.
There's even another moment with David and his family are peacefully at home with a heavy banging on the door and we spot monstrous looking things in army uniforms firing away and burning up the home in which this picture teases you afterwards showing that David is having a nightmare or is he really after spotting something happening in his hospital room which makes you jump a bit. These scene's looked marvellously twisted.
Plus some neat uplifting and humoress moments with Jack returning from the undead and warning him on becoming a werewolf although something like this didn't seem dark and a bit too uplifting yet it seems to work in well for anyone who doesn't like to get scared all the time here.
Of course we have some nice romantic moments between David and Alex while showering and making love which works well into the story since these moments often do before the real terror starts.
A perfect still moment happens nicely when David is going into the bathroom and opening a mirror with a nice jumping moment on a reflection of Jack looking darker here. This was nicely added especially the fact that this took place late at night. Also their discussion looked perfectly dark, serious and still in which this adds a great touch to everything making it impressive that the future terrors will unravel as well as good one liners on their discussions on what will happen as well as David not taking him seriously and being sarcastic. All of this looked pretty clever.
Things look really good when we spot a full moon and David is listening to peaceful music freaking out as well as tearing off his clothes in which this looked truly disturbing and terrifying to watch along with good special effects on his hands and legs growing longer. Pretty creepy and effective stuff here.
A perfect still moment on a couple walking near an alleyway and a great surprising and jumping shot on the werewolf springing out out to attack as this was one of the best scary moments in the film. More great fast action shots on attacks here and there making alot of this incredibly intense.
Then the humor adds to the story the next morning when David wakes up and realises that he's in a cage at a zoo without clothes on and struggling to find a way to escape as well as finding something to cover himself while heading back home in which gives you a feeling that you are in this position and what to do without most people noticing you.
Things look bizarre and intense when David acts crazy convincing a local policeman to arrest him and getting crazy in which you kinda wonder as to how far someone would go to do something illegal. This moment looked very off the wall and zany too.
Then the humor lightens up a bit when David pays to go into a porn theatre in which he talks to Jack as well as the undead people whom he has killed which makes up for the creepy slaughterings he did when he was a wolf as they suggest to him on how to kill himself in which there's different types of personalities that comes into all of this which looked fun to watch.
Great suspenseful scene's and effects with the werewolf crashing through the theatre and attacking along with perfect deadly shots on a double decker bus swerving and cars crashing into other vehicle. Also good shots on people getting hurt by this adding a nice horror taste to this. We also get to see a full shot of the werewolf instead of just briefly spouting out his bloody fangs and snapping out.
There's a good confrontation with Alex trying to talk to this werewolf showing sympathy which looked good and emotional while spotting this moment for her trying to get him to remember on who he is. A perfect touch near the ending of this flick.
This was an excellent horror flick which is both scary and funny.
Bottom lin is that this is a great story, simple, to the point and solid paced with excellent special effects. I found this piece to be the most original werewolf movie and very influential to many other werewolf flicks during this decade including The Howling. I mean it's very interesting to see someone not remember what he did after a full moon. This was also the movie which inspired Michael Jackson to make his music video "Thriller" during the very beginning of it.
I was overly impressed with the beginning of the film with a bar full of locals who know about the going on's with the werewolfs making this piece very twisted.
I can't say anything else but to check it out you won't be disappointed!

The acting is great. David Naughton (David Kessler) really knew his craft on how to portray someone who is level headed and serious with a good no nonsense attitude too. He knew also on how to act light headed with a good sense of humor too whenever needed. Plus he showed a great shocked and spooked out behavior whenever he was stalked by a werewolf. He was good by crying or acting stubborn in certain spots making this moment look very believeable too. He drives out his energy big time when he screams in terror or pain while turning into a werewolf in which his intensity is at a perfect pace here. He brought out a nice hyperactive insanity going nuts and talking crazy which seemed highly energetic and life like in the middle of the film in which he showed a great versatality into his role. This film made him a horror icon for sure.
Jenny Agutter
(Nurse Alex Price) really had a great uplifting and perfect charming outgoing behvior into her role as she does well acting flirtatious in a scene when she needed to be that way. She also was believeable by acting romantic and someone who is easy going too. I loved the way she talked as she had a nice speaking voice into what she did here. She also does well with her emotional and sobbing attitude towards the end of the film in which she really brought out her characteristics greatly by doing this.
Griffin Dunne (Jack Goodman) was a natural ham in the role by getting sarcastic as well as showing some frightened emotions whikle being attacked along with a perfect intensive blood screaming drawing all of this in with great high energy here. He also seems to do well by acting very comedic when he is the undead showing perfect timing here. He knew on how to act full of life into what he does during this moment and then knowing how to change that personality in another scene acting good and serious with what he's talking about. He really focused at doing this superbly here. He was for sure a great supporting character actor in this film and a great choice too.
Don McKillup (Inspector Villiers) was another fine actor in the film with a no nonsense attitude in which he really draws in well with his stern and stressed out behavior showing off a good witty type of appeal here. He has a nice gruff type of speaking in his lines which works well in his favor here. He shows off some ginteresting energy within whatever he does into hsi performance in which deserves a good pat on the back with his effort here.

David Naughton exposes his full body and sometimes his front when he is trying to get away from a zoo
Women's breasts and briefly her crotch is revealed in a porn flick

Many gory moments.
A beast shreds Jack to pieces.
Jack is slaughtered by a werewolf and appears like that as a ghost looking more gruesome each time.
David beheads a deer.
A werewolf slashes a couple.
A chopped off hand is reavealed.
Slaughtered undead people are discovered in a porn theatre.
A werewolf bites someone's neck

The music composed by Elmer Bernstein was believably creepy and effective for this film and was a name for a composer in various other top motion pictures. There's good deep slow and hig ptiched violin music as well as having good trombone playing. Plus we also hear some flute music too which blends in well.
He also composed the creepy music for Michael Jackson's "Thriller" too.

A nice soundtrack by some oldies in which there's a nice peaceful ballad of "Blue Moon" by Bobby Vinton which is played during the beginning of the flick when the sun is setting giving it a perfect touch to this moment especially with the smooth volcalising and bluesy/jazz playing too. It sounded realxing like it did watching the picture here.
Then a perfect jazz ballad by Van Morrison with "Moondance" during a romantic shower and makeout scene by David and Alex which adds a perfect mellow moment when we watch this with the nice piano and light drum playing and the uplifting vocals too.
Then there's Sam Cooke's version of "Blue Moon" as this was another smooth jazz tune while we spot David slowly changing into a werewolf for the first time in which this song sounded totally mellow and peaceful which works in well since something deadly is happening to poor David in which we all know that he will feast on people once he fully turns here.
Then we have the closing credits with The Marcels version of "Blue Moon" which is a much faster version and has a kind of barbershop quartet singing working in well for a closing credit as well as having a 50's Elvis kind of feel to all of this. A great touch especially when the screen goes fully black and the song jumps right in while we spot the credits rolling up on the screen here.

[Appearing for the first time as the undead]
Jack Goodman: Can I have a piece of toast?

Dart Player: Stay on the road. Keep clear of the moors.
Chess Player: Beware the moon, lads.

Dart Player: He'll change, He'll...
Chess Player: THAT'S ENOUGH!... That's enough

Jack Goodman: Stick to the road.
David Kessler: Beware of the moors.
Jack Goodman: Ooops.

Jack: Now, I'm really sorry to be upsetting you, but I have to warn you.
David: Warn me?
Jack: We were attacked by a werewolf.
David: I'm not listening to this!
Jack: On the moors, we were attacked by a lycanthrope, a werewolf. I was murdered, an unnatural death, and now I walk the earth in limbo until the werewolf's curse is lifted.
David: Shut up!
Jack: The wolf's bloodline must be severed; the last remaining werewolf must be destroyed. It's you David.

David Kessler: I will not be threatened by a walking meat loaf!

David: [while transforming] I didn't mean to call you a meat loaf, Jack!

Jack Goodman: Have you tried talking to a corpse? It's boring.

David Kessler: How could there have been witnesses, it was so dark. We were running and I fell and Jack went to help me up and this thing came from nowhere. I don't know what they're talking about.

Little boy: A naked American man stole my balloons.

[trying to get arrested in Trafalgar Square]
David Kessler: Queen Elizabeth is a man! Prince Charles is a pervert! Winston Churchill was full of shit! Shakespeare's French!

David: I'm going completely crazy.

Alex (Nurse Price): David, Relax.
David: Relax? I'm a fucking werewolf!

Alex (Nurse Price): Benjamin, Have you ever been severely beaten about the face and neck?

Nurse Susan Gallagher: He's a Jew
Alex (Nurse Price): How do you know?
Nurse Susan Gallagher: I've had a look.

Jack: There is nothing mediocre about Debbie Klein's body.

Jack Goodman: Debbie Klein cried a lot So, so, you know what she does? She's soooo grief-stricken, she runs to find solace in Mark Levine's bed.
David Kessler: Mark... Levine?
Jack Goodman: An asshole! Life mocks me even in death!

Gerald Bringsley: Whereas I, am a victim, of your carnivorous, lunar activities.

Hospital Porter: Don't ask me, I'm just an orderly. I push things around.

Alex (Nurse Price): Shall I be forced to feed you, David?