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An American Werewolf In London

An American Werewolf In London

By Patrick Samuel • January 9th, 2013
Static Mass Rating: 4/5
Universal Pictures

Original release: August 21st, 1981
Running time: 97 minutes

Writer and director: John Landis

Cast: David Naughton, Jenny Agutter, Griffin Dunne, John Woodvine, Brian Glover, Rik Mayall, Frank Oz

An American Werewolf In London

I think we’ve all had our fair share of walking through the night and not knowing what those sounds are, where they’re coming from and whether or not they’re really getting closer. Through the mist and fog it’s almost impossible to see what’s lurking out there and there’ve been a few occasions when I’ve strayed from the path and ended up lost and a little afraid. Yet inner city areas don’t seem that bad when compared to a walk at night on the Yorkshire moors under a full moon.

In this classic cult horror comedy, written and directed by John Landis, that’s what happens when two best friends, American students David Kessler (David Naughton) and Jack Goodman (Griffin Dunne), go backpacking in northern England. After walking for miles with nothing in sight but hills and sheep, they come across The Slaughtered Lamb pub where they hope to get some food and shelter. Instead they’re met with a frosty reception by the locals. When they enquire about the pentagram on the wall and the burning candles, they’re told to leave but are warned not to stray from road, and “beware the moon”.

The two friends end up doing the opposite and while Jack’s torn to ribbons by a large creature, David runs for his life and escapes with a bite. Doomed to roam the earth as one of the un-dead, Jack returns from the dead to inform him he must kill himself or he’ll turn into a werewolf. David slowly but surely comes to believe the truth. His nurse, Alex (Jenny Agutter), who’s taken quite a shine to him, offers him a place to stay while his doctor makes a trip to The Slaughtered Lamb to find out more about the attack. This all leads right up to the full moon and with David right smack in the middle of London, it’s tantamount to nothing less than a massacre.

An American Werewolf In London

As wolf-David rampages through a porn cinema in Piccadilly and then onto the streets, An American Werewolf In London amps up the carnage while we’re still recovering from the excruciating transformation earlier. The humour is pitch black; Landis injects the film with some of the qualities he admired in the old Ealing Studios comedies he grew up with. Peppered with lines such as Jack saying “Have you tried talking to a corpse? It’s boring” or the hilarious scene when David makes a naked escape from London Zoo, it’s a film that knows how to pick its moments to make you scream or laugh.

The cameo from Frank Oz is absolutely wonderful and Muppets fans will immediately recognise him as the voice of Miss Piggy and Fozzie Bear in The Muppet Show as well as Cookie Monster, Bert and Grover in Sesame Street. Despite being over 30 years old, An American Werewolf In London feels just like seeing it for the first time again. The humour and horror is just as fresh as it was all those years ago and in spite of its abrupt end, there’s so much to love.

So, whether you’re out for a stroll, on your way out or home, remember: Stay on the road. Keep clear of the moors. But most of all…Beware the moon!

Patrick Samuel

Patrick Samuel

The founder of Static Mass Emporium and one of its Editors in Chief is an emerging artist with a philosophy degree, working primarily with pastels and graphite pencils, but he also enjoys experimenting with water colours, acrylics, glass and oil paints.

Being on the autistic spectrum with Asperger’s Syndrome, he is stimulated by bold, contrasting colours, intricate details, multiple textures, and varying shades of light and dark. Patrick's work extends to sound and video, and when not drawing or painting, he can be found working on projects he shares online with his followers.

Patrick returned to drawing and painting after a prolonged break in December 2016 as part of his daily art therapy, and is now making the transition to being a full-time artist. As a spokesperson for autism awareness, he also gives talks and presentations on the benefits of creative therapy.

Static Mass is where he lives his passion for film and writing about it. A fan of film classics, documentaries and science fiction, Patrick prefers films with an impeccable way of storytelling that reflect on the human condition.

Patrick Samuel ¦ Asperger Artist

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