With an ingenious script, engaging characters, nerve-shredding suspense, genuinely frightening set-pieces and laugh-out-loud funny bits An American Werewolf in London
is a prime candidate for the finest horror-comedy ever made. Americans David (David Naughton) and Jack (Griffin Dunne) are backpacking in northern England when Jack is killed by a wild beast and David is bitten. Back in London David finds himself falling in love with a nurse, Alex (played with winning charm by Jenny Agutter), and turning into a werewolf. Adding to his problems, an increasingly decomposed Jack keeps coming back from the dead, and he is not a happy corpse. The Oscar winning make-up and transformation scenes still look good and rather than send itself up Werewolf
plays its horror seriously, the laughs coming naturally from the surreal situation. Naughton is engagingly confused and disbelieving, desperately coping with the ever more nightmarish world, while Landis delivers one absolutely stunning dream sequence, an unbearably tense hunt on the London Underground and a breathtaking finale. Gory, erotic, shocking and romantic, this unforgettable horror classic has it all. Tom Holland's Fright Night
(1985) remixed the formula with vampires, as did Landis himself in Innocent Blood
(1992). A disappointing sequel, An American Werewolf in Paris
, followed in 1997. --Gary S Dalkin
American students David Kessler (David Naughton) and Jack Goodman (Griffin Dunne) are spending their holidays backpacking around England. Seeking shelter from a storm at unwelcoming Yorkshire inn 'The Slaughtered Lamb', the pair are soon spooked by the unwelcoming locals, who nonetheless warn them not to stray from the road. Sure enough, the duo become lost on the moors and are attacked by a savage animal. Jack is killed, but when David wakes in a London hospital weeks later he is told that his attacker was in fact a rampaging madman. Already shocked and confused, David is horrified to receive a visit from the rotting corpse of an undead Jack, who informs him that the creature which attacked them was in fact a werewolf. Unless David kills himself he will fall prey to the monster's curse at the next full moon, and transform into a savage killer...