An American Werewolf in London (1981)

Months ago, if not even a lot earlier, there was this tweet asking you to pick movies about supernatural creatures (if I remember correctly, it was one about zombies, one about vampires and one about werewolves) and I realized The Wolfman, the one starring Benicio del Toro, Anthony Hopkins and Emily Blunt, was the only werewolf movie I had seen and therefore I picked it. That's when Sid suggested me to watch An American Werewolf in London and I decided to give it a chance because it's from John Landis. 

David (David Naughton) and Jack (Griffin Dunne) are two American friends who are backpacking through Europe. One night, while they are walking in Northen England, they are attacked by a werewolf which kills Jack and injures David. While in the hospital, David falls for his nurse, Alex Price (Jenny Agutter), and she falls for him. When he is discharged, he stays in her flat in London and begins to get visits from his dead friend Jack who warns him that he will become a werewolf at the next full moon.

The plot is very simple and equally thin, there are holes everywhere and it's not even that original. These, however, aren't the reasons I didn't like the movie. The thing is that I just didn't find the story compelling. At all. It was pretty damn boring, the doctor investigating the case subplot included.

The characters are just as bland and poorly written. While Jack, the undead, makes for a quite interesting character and he is by far the best thing about the movie, the other characters just aren't that interesting nor likeable. It sure doesn't help that the lead actor, David Naughton, is goddamn terrible.

Universal Pictures, Producers Sales Organization
As if that wasn't enough, An American Werewolf in London fails both as a comedy and as a horror. The majority of the jokes and gags fall flat, and the film never manages to be scary. If Landis had focused either on comedy or horror, probably the film would have worked way better.

That being said, there's still something pretty impressive about An American Werewolf in London. The makeup is outstanding --and the movie rightfully won an Oscar for it-- and the special effects are pretty good too and they really stand out from its time. The music is also pretty good, fits the film very well and it's the only thing that gives it some atmosphere.


  1. I do like this film just for how silly it is as well as being this great take on the werewolf story. Plus, the special effects still hold up as this was the reason why Michael Jackson wanted to work with John Landis and Rick Baker for his video "Thriller".

  2. This film was huge when it came out mainly for the special effects which were revolutionary for the day. I still have to see it though. You should see the original werewolf movie with Lon Chaney jnr which I think is quite good for 1941 (I think that is the year).

    1. No, I haven't but I'll add it on my watch-list immediately.