Movie of the Week: An American Werewolf in London (1981)

John Landis directs David Naughton, Jenny Agutter and Griffin Dunne in this horror comedy where a tourist survives a werewolf attack only to find himself staying in a sexy nurse’s Chelsea flat the night of the next full moon.

I’ve cherished this film for nearly all my life. The mixture of extreme gore and sarcastic humour is exactly what I want from a movie. The brilliant ironic soundtrack of moon themed bangers… all are favourites. The chillingly unwelcome atmosphere on the moors, in that pub (The Slaughtered Lamb), featuring one half of Bottom. The League of Gentlemen boys invented Royston Vassey in those two brooding, ridiculous scenes. The London alleyways, tube station corridors and hospital workings are how I remember the London of my youth. Jenny Agutter’s love interest is beautiful and charming and confident in a way that I would want all the women I fall in love with to be. I watched that sex scene too many times as a teenager. The jerking jump cut scares of the dream sequences and first night of lupine rampaging. Rick Barker’s brilliant transformation effects. Griffin Dunne’s slowly decomposing best friend. “A naked American man stole my balloons” and “NO!”. The fresh kills offering friendly advice. The terrible porno that also looks like the greatest porno of all time. SEE YOU NEXT WEDNESDAY. The pervert staring at you as you transform again. The jolting chaos on the streets of Piccadilly. The second it abruptly ends I want to watch it again. Thank you, John Landis.

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