It is such a simple thought to incorporate a horror movie with music, but rarely does it come together so masterfully as it does in An American Werewolf in London. Every song references the moon, which is obviously fitting for a werewolf. Nowadays kitschy is in and this is as kitschy as it gets. The plot starts off with a duo of wily teens who are backpacking across Europe. Naturally they chose Northern England first (as you do) in lieu of countries with better weather and more to do. Nightfall strikes and they decide to warm up and get some grub in a local pub called “The Slaughtered Lamb”. Boy was that a mistake! Not only are the patrons of this bar frosty, but they are also covering something up. A couple of mistakes later and we've got an American werewolf in London.
What usually bothers me the most about horror movies is how stupid some of the characters behave. This film isn’t void of that as both David (David Kessler) and Jack (Griffin Dunne) clearly have some mental slips. Furthermore, a nurse (Jenny Agutter) becomes involved midway through the film and is the epitome of an idiot. Still with my biggest pet peeve flaunting itself throughout the film, I couldn’t help but love everything about the movie. It gets away with its mistakes by not taking itself to seriously.
Some may say it is too funny for its own good and that it takes away from the horror of it all. I beg to differ considering some of the iconic moments in the film. After all these years, the transformation of David into a werewolf is flawless. The blood, the gore and everything in between are realistic. There are also scenarios throughout the film that are terrifying. Whether that be stranded in the moors or stranded in a subway stop, there are numerous moments where the viewer will feel scared for themselves and the character.
An American Werewolf in London may have shades of humor, but it is also sophisticated in its craft. Besides the incredible effects, there is also a social commentary thrown on top. The idea of an American causing mayhem in London automatically has some implications. There is also a strong link between sexual deviancy and the werewolf. That can be seen in David’s behavior the day after “werewolfing”. Throw in the pornography theater and you have some riveting material that makes you laugh, but also makes you think.
Intelligent and terrifying. What more can you ask for? Do the characters act stupid a lot of the times…yes, but that won’t stop you from smiling while being scared at the exact same time. Turn off the lights, have a nice steak dinner, and turn up the volume. No matter what kind of horror fan you are - you're going to be enthralled by this film.
Horror island is receiving a werewolf who not only has the power to kill, but also the ability to really populate the animals on the island. I have no doubts all the other creatures on horror island recognize the strength of this werewolf, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they enjoy the music, effects, and overall film too much to do anything about it. Looks like we have a true American werewolf in horror island.
If you liked An American Werewolf in London, you might also like Night Wolf.