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JOHN LANDIS UNLEASHES 'AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON'

Title: AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON Year: 1981 Rating: *****

Shame there were such bland DVD covers after years that finally made AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON a cult phenomenon: Like the howling wolf with Big Ben pasted cheaply behind; still the best image is the original: Two hikers beneath a full blue moon, spooked by what's unseen... 

Enter the perfectly suited David Naughton as David Kessler, whose idea it was to hike the English Moors in-step with reluctant scene-stealer Griffin Dunne as Jack Goodman, making WEREWOLF a sublime buddy flick... 

Arrow Artwork for AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON

Despite the latter being torn to shreds during act one, mostly taking place in a rural village's pub (The Slaughtered Lamb) replete with great British character-actors like Brian Glover as the barroom's boisterous yet superstitious lead keeping an eye on timid David Schofield while Lila Kaye pours the ale...

Then the hospital where David recovers (and Jack is dead), perfectly dotted with eerie, surreal nightmares leading to Jack himself returning in grotesque yet affably charming corpse form... One of several unique quirks comedy director John Landis was unfairly critiqued, years before humor and horror were inseparable, and, as an American director he made an incredibly British film, other than literally being filmed there...

Director John Landis doing a stunt in AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON

Meanwhile nurse Alex ala Jenny Agutter provides not only the gorgeous ingenue-girlfriend but is as strong-willed as vulnerable; and the wise doctor, played by slowburn exposition-spouting John Woodvine, brings an intelligent Hammer Films style investigatory aspect — a sophisticated ringer of sorts...

But it's makeup shaman Rick Baker who steals the show: His Oscar-winning man-to-wolf transformation has never been equaled since, leading to the inevitable body count massacres (like Michael Carter stalked in an ominous tube station) as each sequence feels like its very own ghostly, gothic, offbeat campfire tale.

Jenny Agutter in AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON
Return of the unliving Griffin Dunne in AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON
David Naughton in AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON with Jenny Agutter
David Naughton in AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON
John Woodvine in AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON
Lila "If you like" Kaye in AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON
David Naughton in AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON
Hissing cat from AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON
Rick Baker's David Naughton in AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON
John Woodvine in AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON
John Woodvine in AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON with Jenny Agutter
John Woodvine and Martin Clunes in DOC MARTIN (highly recommended)
John Woodvine in AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON with Frank Oz
David Naughton in the zoo from AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON
Tube Station Wolf in AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON with Michael Carter
Griffin Dunne and David Naughton in An American Werewolf in LONDON
Brian Glover and Rik Mahall in AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON
"What's that star on the wall for?" from AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON
Arrow BluRay American Werewolf in London with original flipside artwork
"You made me miss!" from AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON
Jenny Agutter in AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON
David Naughton in AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON with Jenny Agutter
David Naughton in AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON with Jenny Agutter
Nightmare Sequence with David Naughton in AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON
Alternate original AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON "bloody fox" poster
Christopher Scoular and Mary Tempest in AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON
Nightmare Sequence with David Naughton in AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON
Original artwork with leftover disco font American Werewolf in London
Opening of AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON
Director John Landis doing a stunt in AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON
Neon London street with moon in AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON
The wolverine-style werewolf in AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON
The wolverine-style werewolf in AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON
Artwork for AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON
First Restored version for AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON
Michael Carter in the tube station from AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON
Michael Carter in the tube station from AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON
Nina Carter on television in AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON
Mickey Mouse in AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON
"Walking Meatloaf" scene for AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON
From AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON
Griffin Dunne and David Naughton in An American Werewolf in LONDON

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