The year is 1981, horror is in full bloom, Tom Savini is killing teenagers left and right, while Rick Baker is working with the wolfs, leaving with us the single best transformation scene filmed today. Written and directed by John Landis ( who’s in every horror documentary I’ve ever seen, despite this being his only horror film) An American Werewolf In London ( AWIL) is a shinning example of why 1981 was such a good year for horror. So with that out of the way, let’s get down to it.
While on a walking trip through out Europe, David and Jack get attacked by a beast, leaving Jack dead, and David in the hospital, the report saying they were attacked by an escaped lunatic. David starts having some seriously fucked up nightmares which lead to a few fun death scenes. Jack comes back throughout the film as a zombie looking ghost, to warn about the werewolf’s curse. The werewolf’s blood line must be cut out, and theres only one left. David.
To say the werewolf genre is sad would be an understatement, almost all werewolf tales are in truth tragedy. Unless it goes through the same style that say vampire movies do, the main character is turned, so you kill his creator. Thankfully in the case of AWIL, the creator is killed, but the sickness still passes on.
About an hour into the film, we get our first scene of what I`d call real terror, sure some scary shit happens, but nothing is as memorable as the Werewolf transformation. It looks so painfully real, Rick Baker invokes the spirit of body horror such icons and David Cronenburg became famous for. It hits fast and hard, while not gory or even bloody, it is truely sickening to watch. In this case, I think waiting so long makes it that much better, your kept waiting for it, and when it delivers it really delivers .
There`s another transformation at work here as well, that`s the Zombie /Ghost transformation. Every time we see Jack, he’s been decaying over the course of the movie, and we get to see the rotting remains step by step over the course of the movie.
Well done werewolf film, amazing special effects, and some half decent laughs. Check it out
Score – 80%
Gore – 7/10