James Rolfe: It's Cinemassacre's "Monster Madness"! 1981 was a big year for werewolf movies. There was "The Howling", "Wolfen" and "An American Werewolf in London", which I think is close to be the all-time best werewolf movie, second only to "The Wolf Man". It's directed by John Landis whose resumé at the time included "Animal House" and "The Blues Brothers". And even though this is a horror film it has a lot of comedy.
Alex Price: David, please be rational! Let's go to Dr. Hirsch.
David Kessler: Yeah, be rational, sure! I'm a fucking werewolf, for Christ's sake!
James: The plot concerns a young man named David who's on a hiking trip with his friend Jack, when they're attacked by a werewolf. Jack is killed but David survives. He's taken to a hospital in London where he has a series of nightmares. These scenes themselves are genuinely shocking, with dreams layered within dreams to the point where it becomes hilarious. He's visited by the ghost of his friend Jack and as a ghost the first thing he says…
Jack Goodman: Can I have a piece of toast?
David: … Get the fuck outta here, Jack.
James: Is that the kind of conversation you have with a dead person? So Jack tells him that he's been bitten by a werewolf and now he's gonna become a werewolf every night there's a full moon – typical situation.
So he goes home with a hot nurse. There they are in the house. At this moment there's nothing romantic, nothing sexual going on – just having a normal conversation. And in one of the most abrupt transitions I've ever seen in a movie… they're shower-shacking. What I wanna know is what happened in-between?! Did he just say "Can I come in the shower with you"? But that's what makes it so funny that he's becoming a wolf in every definition of the term.
One of my favorite scenes is a montage where he's just hanging around the house doing nothing. There's a shot where he just paces back and forth for about a minute. All the music is upbeat which clashes hilariously with the horror aspect. And the songs were chosen just because they all have the word 'moon'; "Blue Moon", "Moon Dance" and "Bad Moon Rising".
But the only way I can properly review this movie is to talk about every scene, so let me not spoil it. The last thing I must mention is the transformation scene. It's probably the best werewolf transformation scene ever. The special effects-guy behind it, Rick Baker, won an Academy Award. An Academy Award for a horror film? You don't hear that too often.
In the late 90's there was sort of a sequel called "An American Werewolf in Paris", but it has very little relation to the original film. With the upcoming remake of "The Wolf Man" it doesn't look like we're ever gonna see a transformation scene like this ever again.