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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lycanthropy Landis Style
The Werewolf sub-genre is one that has suffered over the years from poverty row production values and destructive self mockery. Like the Zombie, the Werewolf is the poor relation to the endless tales of vampirism and Frankenstein. This is mainly due to a lack of generic tradition in literature and art, but Hollywood has done little to redress the balance over the years...
Published on 14 Jun 2006 by Shaun Anderson

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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great film - shame about the HD image
If you are an absolute fan and must have the best version available then buy this. Otherwise stick to the SD version. Yes, this is a sharper picture when you have close ups of the actors but on the whole it is very grainy. It may be the fault of the original print but I feel they did a bit of a rush job on this when they created the HD version.Definitely worth renting...
Published on 27 Jan 2008 by Mr. Jn Pappas


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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lycanthropy Landis Style, 14 Jun 2006
By 
Shaun Anderson (Nottingham/Hereford, England, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
The Werewolf sub-genre is one that has suffered over the years from poverty row production values and destructive self mockery. Like the Zombie, the Werewolf is the poor relation to the endless tales of vampirism and Frankenstein. This is mainly due to a lack of generic tradition in literature and art, but Hollywood has done little to redress the balance over the years. However for a short time in the early 1980's the Werewolf enjoyed the fullest of moons with both Joe Dante's HOWLING and John Landis' AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON thrilling audiences and winning important critical notices. Landis had scored with ANIMAL HOUSE and THE BLUES BROTHERS, and deftly combines the ribald humour of those films with all the horror clichés that had undone Universal's output in the 1940's. Importantly Landis's humour is not mocking, instead he gives us an affectionate parody, overflowing with enthusiasm. He is also very aware of the conventions and limitations of the genre itself. The scares and violence come in abundance as does the nonsensical narrative twists. England is both beautiful and eerie, a space in which the age old battle between science and superstition continues to be played out. The film works because of its lack of originality, through its post-modern appropriation of Universal's themes and iconography we have an early example of a horror homage. Wonderful special make up effects by Rick Baker however firmly anchors the film in modern horror seas. Full of excellent British character actors, the nostalgia of the film is pitched perfectly and represents the high watermark of Hollywood horror films for the 1980's.

Universal's 2 disc DVD is misleading. The supplementary features amount to little more than 45 minutes, and the DVD could have easily been presented on a single disc.
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46 of 50 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Beware The Moon, Stay On The Path, 29 Sep 2009
By 
J. Rain "John Rain" (Hove) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: An American Werewolf in London [Blu-ray] [Region Free] (Blu-ray)
One of my all time fave films is finally available on Blu Ray.

I will cut the film review part, I am sure if you are reading this, you know the film and you just want to know the quality.

Picture
Very grainy, think the recent Ghostbusters Blu Ray in terms of the grain. Intrusive at first but once your eyes adjust it feels quite clear. It is lot brighter than the grainy and dark VHS/DVD transfers. You can see a lot more. But you get a lot more grain.

Audio
A new English DTS-HD Lossless Master Audio 5.1 Surround track (48kHz/16-bit) has been produced for 'An American Werewolf in London.' The film has always possessed a rather effective mix for a 1981 horror picture, and it has been upgraded nicely here.

Surround deployment is impressive considering the film's age. The rears are active for the big scare moments, particularly the creepy wolf sound effects, and general atmosphere. Charles Bernstein's underrated score is also nicely balanced, which gives a decent heft to the soundfield. Dialogue is pretty crisp and intelligible, with only some of the hushed tones and British accents a bit muffled. Low bass isn't particularly impactful (the mix sounds a bit brittle, particularly high-end) but it's strong enough to give some kick to the wolf attack scenes. Again, considering the age of the material, I was happy with this mix.

Extras
This is where the film marks high for me. Paul Davis's "Beware The Moon" is a fanboy geekgasm of a documentary, and a feature length one at that. He gathers the thoughts of everyone worth hearing from involved with the film and visits the locations. I didnt want this to end. The rest of the special features bassically mirror the 2001 DVD (Outtakes without sound, casting the hand etc) but "Beware The Moon" makes this Blu Ray worth the purchase.
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26 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great DVD release of a great film, 10 Oct 2003
This film is one of those that everybody likes. It's funny, it's scary, it's got special effects that were way ahead of its time, and it's British. The two stars may be American, but everybody else in the film is English, it is all filmed in England, and it feels English. John Landis included some very un-American ploys in the making of this movie - for instance, the music includes three different versions of Blue Moon, plus Bad Moon Rising and Moondance. It's all set in current time (well, 1980), unlike the Hammer Horror and Lon Chaney werewolf films that people were used to. The hero ends up running around London zoo, naked, after waking up in the wolf's cage the morning after a night of rampage and violence. And that's another point - the hero is the bad guy. He's the werewolf in the story, but you're on his side. Nobody is on Freddy Krueger's side, or Michael Myer's side, in the American horror films that have been released over the last 20 years.
This is one of those films where you notice something different each time you watch. Be it Rik Mayall playing chess with Brian Glover in "The Slaughtered Lamb", the further decomposition of Jack each time he comes back to visit David, the inclusion of the Muppet Show in one of David's most horrendous dreams (plus Frank Oz, the voice of Miss Piggy and Fozzy Bear, as the man from the American Embassy), the really bad acting on the porno movie that's playing in Piccadily circus, the fact that Landis plays one of the London crowd who gets run over when the werewolf escapes from the cinema at the end, the offer of congratulations to Charles and Diana on the announcement of their engagement that rolls past as the end credits roll.
This 21st anniversary release contains a second disc showing how the movie was made, how the special effects were created, trailers, and loads more besides. And the commentary by the two lead actors as the movie is playing reveals just how much in awe of Jenny Agutter they were.
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beware the moaners, 31 May 2011
By 
Ryan Dunne (Ireland) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: An American Werewolf in London [Blu-ray] [Region Free] (Blu-ray)
Ignore, as always, those deluded souls who start to moan on about grain issues - the Blu ray of American Werewolf is crisp and clear, the best the film has ever looked, far better than any video or DVD release. There's more noticeable grain because, quite simply, there's more information on a Blu ray transfer, which retains more precisely the original negative image. Better picture, better sound - better buy it, really.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Beware Of The Moors, Lads", 5 Oct 2014
By 
Timelord007 (The Eccentric Wanderer) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
An American Werewolf In London (DVD).

Product Info.
Format: PAL
Region: 2
Number of discs: 2
Ratio: 16.9/1.85:1 anamorphic
Audio: English Dolby Digital 5.1,
French-dubbed 2.0 track
Subtitles:English, French & Spanish
Classification: 18
Studio: Universal Pictures UK
Running Time: 98 minutes

DVD Extras.
All of the extras from the previous edition have been ported over here, with a couple of new additions.
Disc One:
Commentary track with stars David Naughton & Griffin Dunne.
Rick Baker: I Walked with a Werewolf.
Making An American Werewolf in London
Outtakes
Animated Storyboards
A still Photograph Montage.

Disc Two:
A brand-new documentary: Beware the Moon.

Cast.
David Naughton as David Kessler
Jenny Agutter as Nurse Alex Price
Griffin Dunne as Jack Goodman
John Woodvine as Dr. J.S. Hirsch
Lila Kaye as Barmaid
Frank Oz as Mr. Collins
John Landis as Man smashed in window
David Schofield as Dart Player
Brian Glover as Chess Player
Rik Mayall as Man in Pub (2nd Chess Player)
Don McKillop as Inspector Villiers
Paul Kember as Sergeant McManus
Michael Carter as Gerald Bringsley
Will Leighton as Joseph
Frank Singuineau as Ted
Sydney Bromley as Alf
Linzi Drew as Brenda Bristols

Trivia.
1)This is the first film to earn the Academy Award for Best Makeup. That category was created in 1981.
2)All the songs in this film have the word "moon" in their titles.
3)The fake porno movie "See You Next Wednesday" was the first thing to be filmed during production.
4)Studio executives hoped John Landis would cast Dan Aykroyd in the role of David & John Belushi as Jack. John Landis refused.
5)David Naughton reported that the hospital bed in the forest scene was the most difficult & painful one. Back then, they used glass contact lenses.
6)Michael Jackson was so bowled over by this movie - most especially by the the makeup and special effects - he insisted on hiring the responsible personnel for his planned music video Thriller (1983).
7)Unlike most motion pictures it was filmed in sequence, with the opening scenes filmed first & the closing sequences filmed last.
8)John Landis: appears briefly near the end of the film. He is the bearded man who gets hit by a car & thrown through the plate glass window in Piccadilly Circus.

What's The Story.
Two American college students are on a walking tour of Britain who don't listen to the warnings of the local townsfolk & are attacked by a werewolf in the moors.

Jack is killed, while David is bitten, The werewolf is eventually killed & reverts to its human form, while the local townspeople are unwilling to acknowledge the werewolfs existence.

Back in London David finds himself falling in love with a nurse named Alex who looked after him in hospital but begins to have nightmares & keeps seeing his dead friend Jack who demands that he commit suicide as David will transform into a werewolf during the next full moon & prey on innocent victims to feed his bloodlust who will also become cursed by being trapped between two worlds because of their unnatural deaths.

Timelord Thoughts.
Director John Landis delivers a cult classic werewolf movie here mixing together the right balance of horror & comedy & gives us one of the most impressive painful & shocking on screen non CGI transformations of man to werewolf sequence that still looks impressive to this day.

This film is bloody scary, funny & satirical & very sad as the main character David as a genuine nice guy who just happens to be cursed by having being bitten by a werewolf, David Naughton is brilliant in the role of David Kessler & gives a charming likeable performance & allows the audience to feel empathy with his infliction & sadness at his ultimate demise.

Griffin Dunne is fine as David's friend Jack in his short appearance, Jenny Agutter does well as the love interest here playing Nurse Alex Price who has never looked more beautiful while John Woodvine as Dr. Hirsch gives a superb performance & completely steals every scene he's in.

The werewolf transformation as I've mentioned is impressive & puts the CGI werewolf sequences in movies today to shame, the zombie Jack looks dated now however & again this is another horror film that abruptly ends, personally I'd have featured a sequence with Alex at David's grave rubbing her tummy that hints shes pregnant with his child which would've been more effective.

This two Disc DVD is impressive & features a stunning DVD transfer of the movie that's clearer & sharper over the previous release plus a enhanced 5.1 soundtrack, while the extras are great value especially the documentary 'Beware the Moon' which is 90 minutes long & covers everything you want to know about the movie from script to screen.

Overall, An American Werewolf In London is a solid horror film that delivers chills, jump out scares & wonderful satirical comedy that will have you jumping behind the sofa one minute & laughing out loud the next & is a excellent werewolf movie that deserves it's title of a cult classic.

Timelord Rating.
9/10
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars ......" have you tried talking to a corpse? it's boring "......, 3 Jan 2010
An American Werewolf in London is about two traveling Americans who encounter an episode with a werewolf. One dies and the other is left injured. He is constantly visited by his dead friend who advises him to kill himself before he turns into one himself.

The opening scene takes place in the Moors, where we witness the two protagonists coming out from the back of a lorry full of sheep. Instantly, we begin to sense this film being a comical Great British romp. Indeed this is exactly what it is; Landis wastes no time in introducing the theme of the film. Furthermore when the protagonists visit the local pub a distinct sense of oddness is portrayed. The inhospitality of the villagers immediately brings suspense into the film in a very similar way to the wicker man, also a British horror film.

The film steps up a notch when we see David Naughton changing into the legendary beast for the first time. This is definitely an upgrade from all them early hammer horror films, as here the effects look real. Another thing that enhances the film is the retro / vintage feel to it which works well with the suspense and humor. Look out for the attack on a bystander in a London Underground station where clever use of camera follows the victim up the elevators until he meets his doom. Also look out for a young Rick Mayall who has a less than two minute part as a socially redundant villager with one line to his name. The film is definitely better than An American Werewolf in Paris in all ways; the acting is stronger, better narrative and better script.

In one of the documentaries Landis mentions that the film was meant to be more of a horror film as opposed to a comedy, but it's difficult to agree with him. Humor is an inseparable part of his work and shows best in the mismatched police officers and in the porn theater where Naughton is calmly advised by a bunch of corpses to kill himself. On the surface, being visited by corpses would be horrifying but not if they are as amusing as this. This reminds me of a film called Brain-dead made by a certain peter Jackson, which was far more gruesome but managed to beat the censors as it was also very funny.

The DVD transfer is gloriously re-mastered and has interesting extras, not surprising since Universal studios are experts in the field bringing us re-mastered versions of Vertigo, Back to the Future etc.

This is a well constructed horror / thriller but it is also a slow burner, which is surprising considering the running time of only ninety minutes. There's more suspense than actual thrills and when the werewolf is in its full glory, Landis chooses to take the camera away from him in scenes of torture and rampant barbarianism. If you expect extreme viewing, then you will be disappointed as this falls in the category of 80's cheese!
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A killer movie, 8 Oct 2009
By 
GratuitousViolets "Ash" (Scotland) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)   
David Kessler and his best friend Jack Goodman are on summer vacation from college and decide to backpack in Europe, making a start in the cold and damp moors of Northern England; in the middle of what seems like nowhere they stumble upon a tiny village and a pub known as The Slaughtered Lamb where some very peculiar and somewhat aggitated locals are less than enthusiastic about their company. Before they leave, they're warned to "beware the moon" and "keep to the road", both notes of advice they unfortunately ignore.

Soon, a fierce howling begins to pitch the night, and David and his friend Jack are attacked savagely by some kind of wild beast roaming the moors; David awakens in a hospital in London to discover his friend has died from the attack, and he has been there some time. David is suddenly plagued with frightning and vivid dreams; his friend Jack visits him in a decomposing and bloody state telling him that they were attacked by a werewolf, and that David must "break the curse" he was infected with by the attack.

At first, he dismisses this as hallucations, even when his dreams are becoming even more violent as some carnal entity inside struggles to make itself known.

The film itself is considered today to be THE epitome of the werewolf movie genre. An American Werewolf in London paved the way for makeup and special effects in modern horror as we know it; John Landis' gutsy use of bright lighting and lack of cutaway combined with Rick Baker's real-time physical effects and state-of-the-art prosthetic makeup made this film revolutionary for the horror genre so much that the Academy Awards began to celebrate special effects and makeup. Even seeing the magic of digital effects and special effects in modern movies, I still can't help but be impressed when watching the full transformation scene.

While the film is gory and somewhat frightening (although somewhat tame by today's standards), Landis used a somewhat "Hitchcockian" approach to direction of the movie, giving it some "laugh out loud" moments in black comedic style to ease the audience in before the real suspense or terror is due to come along - tactics that are still widely used today by horror directors (Sam Raimi being a good example). While not strictly a comedy in a sense, the movie has a good entertainment value. A MUST for all werewolf fans.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Still brilliant!!, 10 Aug 2009
I recieved this DVD last weekend and watched it right away. I have not seen this film for years and had forgotten how good it is. I love the englishness of it, David is brilliant and funny and sad as he tries to understand what is happening to him. The music is great and the transformation from man to wolf still looks good. The picture was a little grainy but I did not mind this. It added to the sense of nostalgia! John Landis is a genius!!
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best Werewolf, 21 Oct 2006
By 
S J Buck (Kent, UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
For a longtime this was my favourite film of all time, its not anymore, but it is still a genuine classic film, that deserves a place amongst the greatest horror films ever made.

The reasons for this are threefold:
Firstly the special effects by Rick Baker are amazing. Remember this was made 25 years ago, there was no digital effects then, what you see on the screen was either done with make-up or animatronic puppets. Rick Baker won an Oscar for his work on this film in 1982.

Secondly the blend of horror and comedy. If you watch the extras you will hear the director Jon Landis state that the film is not a comedy, although he admits it is funny. Some of the scenes are very funny and this comedy, sometimes black comedy works really well against the horror in the rest of the film. The horror in this film is brilliantly done with the double nightmare sequence being a particular favourite of mine.

Thirdly of course its a love story. The ending to the film is ultimately all about the love story, but once again John Landis confuses our emotions by immediately playing The Marcels great version of Blue Moon over the end credits.

The scene in the Slaughtered Lamb is a direct reference to the multitude of classic Hammer Films that featured a Pub that went silent went our hero entered it. You will spot quite a few well known faces in the Slaughtered Lamb including a fresh-faced looking Rik Mayall.

The extras on this edition are pretty good, with both Rick Baker and Jon Landis having some interesting things to say. Perhaps the most surprising was that Jon Landis wrote the script for this film in 1969. There's also some fascinating stuff on how Rick Baker created the amazing special effects.

Beware of the moon.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Bad Moon Rising, 27 Jan 2009
Full of dark humour and gory thrills this 1981 movie is still great. As most people know, this has one of the best special effects human/werewolf transformation scenes in cinematic history. The only other movie to show such detail is The Thing. This movie is really fun to watch, and if you are seeing it for the first time you will be shocked at some of the things you see.

Director John Landis steps away from directing hilarious comedies like Animal House to bring this frightful encounter. Two American travelers trek across the English mores, even though they were warned to be careful of the creatures of the night. As one of the travellers is bitten by some mysterious dog, he slowly comes to the realisation that he has become a werewolf and must make the ultimate decision, whether or not to live or die, so he can save the people he loves.

Again, the special effects in this film still stand the test of time, as no computer technology is used to digitally insert a life-like werewolf in the movie. In fact, the only time the werewolf is ever seen is for no more than 2 to 3 seconds, leaving it up to the imagination of the audience to decide how scary the werewolf may be. The make-up in this movie also stands out as the recently devoured victims remain among the living as they slowly deteriorate into the walking dead.

A first time experience for actors David Naughton and Griffin Dunne, both do an excellent job in conveying humor and frightful intensity throughout the film. The beautiful Jennifer Aguter also turns in a great performance as the sensual love interest of the werewolf.
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