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Showing 1-6 of 6 reviews(3 star)show all reviews
on January 11, 2004
John Landis crafts an enjoyable piece of horror hokum, a tongue-in-cheek werewolf thriller that gives an affectionate nod to the old horror movies and also manages to deliver a few scares.
The title says it all: The mainstay of the film's humour, at least for the first half, is the irony of an American finding himself in England. The jokes are as much a poke at American perceptions of England as jabs at Englishmen themselves, from the class-riddled consciences of the native characters (they are all either inferiors or superiors) to the grim, rural northerners ("Don't go out on't'moors" -- and we all know what happens next).
Special effects were pioneering, and still look pretty good today. Naughton transforms spectacularly into an actual wolf, albeit a pretty hefty one, rather than the half-wolf/half-man of an earlier era.
The soundtrack helps with the irony. Watch out for the alluring Jenny Agutter. If Amazon allowed half-stars, I'd have added an extra half to my three. Entertaining, if macabre, stuff.
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I must admit, I was extremely disappointed with this film.
1)It's not scary (although the scenes in the moors were excellent, and turn out to be the highlight of the entire film).
2)Since it's a John Landis (THE BLUES BROTHERS, TRADING PLACES, ANIMAL HOUSE), I had expected there to be a TON more humor . . . . . there was hardly any at all!
3)The ending is simply atrocious! It's so disappointing, that it's on the verge of destroying the entire film. I mean, the film wasn't very original to begin with (though the living dead segments were cool), but they had to go and use the ending that was used in THE WOLF MAN, THE CURSE OF THE WEREWOLF, and it goes on and on. Shoot the werewolf, see him in human form, flash to the credits!! The whole thing happens in less than 30 seconds (very, very sloppy and rushed).
One thing I must say in its defense, however: the transformation scene. It may very well be the greatest ever put to film! Rick Baker is simply the best makeup man who has ever graced the silver screen with his extraordinary talents.
Not all it's hyped up to be. You want werewolves? Go see the previously-mentioned two werewolf films, or SILVER BULLET and WOLF, and I hear that THE HOWLING is really good, too. It had at least be better than this overrated movie.
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on October 10, 2001
Director John Landis (BLUES BROTHERS, BEVERLY HILLS COP III) has a different view as to what a Werewolf should be. His lycanthrope stalks his prey crouched on all fours as opposed to the fuzzy face men of the past. It attacks without any hesitation and fills the crime scene with blood, guts and gore. And he attacks to the strains of "Creedance Clearwater Revival". This, and some great dark comedy is what make this horror film stand out. Additionally, it has what was once the most amazing use of make-up. This film propelled the man to wolf 'transformation' into our movie-going psyche.
Today, this film would obviously look different, as the effects technology has grown. But, its mix of comedy and horror has not changed since this film; in fact it has far from improved since this great film. David Naughton (The DR PEPPER guy) does well as the young fellah cursed with an overactive case of the late night munchies. He is practically overshadowed by Griffin Dunne (AFTER HOURS) as his young buddy with the greatest attitude toward his own graphically disfigured body. Sometimes the gore and the comedy go a bit extreme and scenes where ... zombies take over a homestead in an unrelated nightmare just seems excessive. But, this film influenced the creation of the now common horror comedy.
The DVD has a fair video transfer, sometimes marred in grainy darks. It has a great DTS sound transfer. It also includes a fun audio commentary by its 2 stars but offer very little interesting information; in fact they get caught up in the film and don't say anything for long stretches. There's also an 18-minute interview with Landis that offers some new insight. (Watch for Landis as a stuntman in Piccadilly Circus). There's also an interview with Oscar winning make-up guru Rick Baker (PLANET OF THE APES, KING KONG) and video diary of some of his work. Finally, there are some deleted scenes (one of which leans toward an "X" rating).
Enjoy the AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON. Incidentally, due to potential conflicts, they almost filmed this in France. The title was then going to be AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN PARIS. Of course, they cleared all that up and left that title for the inevitable ridiculous sequel several years later.
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on October 11, 2006
Great effects for it's time. Simple but straight forward story line. When a stranger in new teritory pay attention to what people have to say. Takes on two hikers wanting to see the country side of England who are visiting from America. I suggest reading old myths and legends about werewolves in England, for a lot of strange things were going on in this beuatiful country, ab0ut the sixteenth century and back. Hikers of foreign lands do have a lot of tales to speak about. I see superstition in the story (which accentuates the colorful country people), which you can find in this form of thought to this very day which makes this movie very appealing. Stay off the moors!! The crowd performace was perfect unlike some movies today where people only look like there pretending to be stunned. Something to think about this one. Movies, always see how the crowd reacts. It's the crowd that convinces you in real life so why not in movies?
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on November 21, 2001
This movie is a classic, First time when i saw it during the 80s it was so scary and the make-up effect was so impressive. However, this DVD release by Universal Studios is dissappointing.
The picture is so soft similar to a VCD/VHS transfer and the audio, though originally recorded in MONO and upgraded to 5.1 and DTS surround, the effect is poor and soft. The movie needs a better treatment absolutely. Video : 3/5 (the picture is so bad when watching in widescreen format), Sound : 3/5 Movie :4/5.
Other movie like Omen, Jaws 1, Close Encounter of the Third Kind, The Howling, I find the DVD picture are better than this one.
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on February 1, 2003
An American Werewolf in London disappointed me. There was too much humor, too many living-dead people, and the werewolf was too small. The turning scene was pretty good, but not as good as THE HOWLING.
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