Movie of the Day – An American Werewolf in London
October 29, 2011 3 Comments
I need some form of a werewolf movie as part of my horror movie week. I already covered the vampire angle with Blacula and posting a zombie will probably be tomorrow’s post so now a Werewolf movie seems appropriate. There are a numbe (not really) of werewolf movies to select from, but I wanted one that made the biggest, lasting impression on my fragile mind. If you have never seen this movie, then you are in for a treat, but if you have seen this movie then you know exactly what I am talking about.
Two American students are on a walking tour of Britain and are attacked by a Werewolf. One is killed, the other is mauled. The Werewolf is killed but reverts to its human form, and the local townspeople are unwilling to acknowledge its existence. The surviving student begins to have nightmares of hunting on four feet at first but then finds that his friend and other recent victims appear to him, demanding that he find a way to die to release them from their curse, being trapped between worlds because of their unnatural deaths. ~ Source
One of the best werewolf movies I have seen, John Landis pretty much put all he had into some amazing set pieces for a movie like this. It’s brutal, sadistic, and rampant with it’s violence, the film is just one that sticks in your mind for a long time to come. I am not saying this is “the” horror movie, but damn does it come close. The story is interesting, but the whole movie itself seems like it’s incomplete with the pace, story and characterizations. To tell you the truth, I care little about all that as I am about to go into the one scene that makes this movie utterly terrifying.
So in our technologically advanced world, special effects are all done with CG. It’s sucks and while it is a bit cool to watch, there is no magic to be had anymore when being wowed as an audience. We are spoiled moviegoers and that is a shame. Considering that this movie was made in 1981, it has one of the most memorable special effects I have ever witnessed next to The Thing in terms of creature effects. Here is the clip:
How did you feel watching that? I personally, having seen this movie a dozen times, still cringe and wince at every little change that happens in that scene. So often we these metamorphosis take place off-screen or too quickly to have it make an impact to us. Here, we are watching a human being essentially being broken and rebuilt to complete his transformation. His bones are broken and lengthened, his skin is pulled and changed and his whole body is convulsing in sheer pain and panic. The single best scene of the movie plays out in front of your eyes and you are there for every agonizing moment.
I have to recommend this movie to almost everyone who wants to experience a scary movie. The film is filled with violence and gore (although scant) but its payoff is seeing amazing creature work and transformation from Rick Baker. It just changed and upped the game of all those in the makeup field and created the most memorable scene in horror movie history. Also credit where credit is due, John Landis proved that his comedy roots could carry over and create a horror movie is the terrifying and completely entertaining.