on 29 September 2009
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.
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.
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.
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.
on 10 October 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.
American hitchiker's/tourists 'David' (David Naughton) and 'Jack' (Griffin Dunne) are currently touring
Northern England thy are dropped off by a Sheep-Farmer on the Moors and directed toward a small
The two are in need of food and rest they find a public house called 'The Slaughtered Lamb' the locals
are far from welcoming, so much so they decide to leave, they are warned to stick to the road and keep
off of the Moor, and told 'Beware The Moon'
They stray against advice, they hear a howling, and are then attacked by a wolf-like creature, 'David' is
saved by the villagers who had second thoughts about sending the lads away, 'Jack' however had been
killed by the beast.
Two weeks pass 'David' regains consciousness in a London Hospital far away from the Moors where he
is attended by 'Dr J.S.Hirsch' (John Woodvine) and Nurse 'Alex Price' (Jenny Agutter) (Railway Children)
The Police had been told by the villagers of the Moors Village that 'Jack' had been attacked by a madman,
nobody will listen to 'David's' version of events.
He begins to have regular and vivid nightmares, and doesn't want to be alone. Nurse Alex is volunteered
to do so.
'David' is visited in his Hospital room by 'Jack' who says he cannot rest until the bloodline of that which
had attacked him is dead, meaning 'David' - 'Jack' says he should take his own life and warns his friend
that in two nights time there will be a full moon, and that he will become a Werewolf and kill, 'David' of
course is less than convinced.
Upon leaving Hospital having nowhere to go 'Alex' offers him shelter, romance must be in the air ? at
the flat he receives a further visit from the 'Walking-Dead' - 'Jack' again he tells 'David' to kill himself, he
still doesn't believe.
The night of the Full Moon has arrived..........let the killing begin............there is a Monster on the loose..
.....Blood Will Flow.
With a few appropriate songs along the way and a hint of comic-horror, the very visual and graphic
sequences that see 'David' transform into a Werewolf a little less than comic (the filming of this was long
and painstaking in truth, clever nevertheless)
Can 'David' be saved from the nightmare by death ?
Well worth a re-visit or indeed a first.
Picture Quality is certainly better than it's DVD release in quality, the sound is good.
'Blue Moon' - 'Bobby Vinton'
'Moondance' - 'Van Morrison'
'Bad Moon Rising' - 'Creedence Clearwater Revival'
'Blue Moon' (Closing) - 'The Marcels'
* I walked with Werewolf (Hi-Def) Featurette
* Beware the Moon feature-length documentary
* Making- An American Werewolf In London - an original featurette.
* Interview with 'John Landis'
* Make-up Artist 'Rick Baker' on An American Werewolf in London
* Casting of the Hand
* Photograph Montage
* Feature Commentary with cast members 'David Naughton' and 'Griffin Dunne'
on 28 December 2014
One of John Landis Great Horror films with Ground breaking special make up effects by Rick baker
and the special effects still look amazing today better than CGI
this was was released as 2 Disc dvd set,
well now the film is on blu-ray with all special features carried over from the 2 Disc DVD set
the new HD transfer for this film looks amazing in 1:85:1 widescreen,
this blu-ray is ALL REGIONS
so i do think this U.K. transfer is exactly the same as the U.S. blu-ray version
more clearer more sharper picture quality for sure better than the dvd release
plus the sound quality has been boosted up to a new 5.1 Master audio mix
so it definitely sounds Great on my surround sound system, better than DVD
all the special features, and i mean all of them have been carried over to this 1 blu-ray Disc from the 2 Disc DVD set
BEWARE THE MOON, all new 90mins Documentary with new current interviews
I WALKED WITH A WEREWOLF which is a new personal interview with Rick baker
he talks about his recollections on the special effects make up in the film
plus the Deleted scenes, outtakes, TV broadcast promo, Stills Gallery
plus the old DVD Audio commentary by John Landis is on this blu-ray aswell
incredible all this on 1 blu-ray Disc
so forget the old dvd release, get this new blu-ray version
5 stars i gave it for sure.
on 31 May 2011
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.
WOWSER! This is a true masterpiece. I watched this back in the day when I was 11, (1983), and it scared me witless. I have to admit that it STILL scares me witless!!! It's a true horror fans delight. John Landis certainly knows how to do his job!
It tells the story of David and Jack, two American back packers on a trip around Europe. They end up in Yorkshire on the moors where they are attacked by a savage beast and Jack dies. David awakens three weeks later in a London hospital being nursed by a very young Jenny Agutter. He's plagued with horrible nightmares and visits from his pal Jack who decomposes more every time we see him! Jack warns David that they were attacked by a werewolf and that David is now going to become one at the next full moon, only a week away.
The transformation scene is brilliant. Landis used bright lighting and such so that we the viewer misses nothing. It terrifies me to this day. It's the scene that scares me the most along with most of the others actually! I tried watching the extras showing how they managed to pull the scene off but it didn't help me to know how they did it at all. But I digress...although this scene scares me, it's got one of my favourite lines in..."I'm sorry I called you meatloaf Jack!"
This also has some truly laugh out loud moments in it too. Too many to mention here, but trust me when I say that it's funny
All in all then, this is a must see for all horror/werewolf fans.
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.
on 10 August 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!!
on 14 March 2014
I was put off buying this (one of my all-time favourite films) on blu-ray due to other reviews on here claiming the picture to be grainy and badly converted to digital. The transfer has been faithfully reproduced and looks the best it has ever looked. It does look grainy particularly during the opening credits) because that is how it looked - perhaps due to the process that was used to over-lay the credits on to the film? Anyway, i'm glad i got it at last, only wish i hadn't bothered to read the other reviews for this one.
on 12 February 2016
I first saw this movie on a late night movie review show. A bizarre mix of horror, humour and visceral action. For the time the transformation effects were really great, painful, horrifying in an almost David Cronenberg body horror fashion. This isn't just scary, it is horrifying, it's also very clever which a lot of horrors tend not to be. The balance of horror and comedy is a difficult high wire act and John Landis, a teenager when he wrote this, carries off with aplomb an act that many older writers have tried and failed. This delves into the psychology of the lycanthropy and not just the throat ripping action. We feel for David as he descends into bestial horror and see the effects it has on his victims. This could have been a cheap, exploitative horror, but in reality it's more a study of the beast within man and what happens when it gets out of control.