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#20. An American Werewolf In London - Review

An American Werewolf in London PosterAnyone who knows me is well aware of my love for horror films. It doesn’t matter how stupid the plot sounds, or even how bad the cover art for the box looks, if it is supposed to be scary, I will watch it. Having this reputation also carries with it some baggage. Sadly, I have not seen every horror ever made. I am working on it, but when someone discovers my shame they always respond with nothing less then shock. So, when I disgracefully admitted to my wife that I had never watched An American Werewolf in London, she could only respond with a look of equal parts disgust and embarrassment. Luckily, I remedied the problem and watched the horror classic last night.An American Werewolf in London Poster

I did not expect An American Werewolf in London to be as funny as it is. I am not sure why I was so surprised; it was directed by John Landis, who made Animal House and The Blues Brothers. If I had to, I would probably classify Werewolf in London as a comedy, not a horror. Not to say it wasn’t scary… no, I guess that is what I am saying. I can appreciate what this film did for the horror genre. It’s special effects are spectacular even to this day, and the transformation/werewolf make-up is perfect. I don’t think I could call it scary though. Films like Stanley Kubrik’s The Shining and John Carpenter’s The Thing both came out within a year of An American Werewolf in London, are both considered classics in the genre, and both hold up better and are scarier than John Landis’s film. It was innovative, and I am sure terrifying at the time of its release, but I don’t think it deserves the prestige and reputation it has when you compare it to its peers.An American Werewolf in London

This is where everyone gives me shit because I didn’t like the film. I did find a lot to like about the movie, specifically the humor. I was laughing consistently throughout the picture, because Landis knows how to film gags. The make-up is the true star of the show. Even more so than the werewolf, I was totally blown away by the talking corpses. Their make-up looks as good if not better than any of the digital effects employed today.

I am glad I finally sat down to watch this “classic” horror film. Although it didn’t scare me as much as I had hoped (or anticipated), it still entertained. The comedy still hits, it doesn’t seem to have aged at all. The same thing could be said for the special effects. The make-up and cosmetics are astonishing, they look better than most horror films made 30 years later. Next up is the 1997 sequel An American Werewolf in Paris, from what I remember it is just a 2-hour music video for the band Bush. 

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