An American Werewolf In London — 1981

What Howls In The Dark?

The week is near completion, and we are closing in with Favorite Horror Movie Week! Come by Gothic Bite Magazine to see what Dora Esquivel chose for this Friday!

An American Werewolf In London Official Summary

When two tourists, David and Jack, visit a local pub in Britain, they are attacked by a werewolf.

However, when David tries to explain the attack, the locals deny any knowledge of the wolf.

An American Werewolf In London Official 1981 Trailer

Uniquely Horrifying

We all have our favorite horror movies. Horror movies are as unique as everyone’s test. There are subcategories to grab anyone’s attention: slasher, comedy, folk, body, found footage, holiday psychological horror, science fiction horror, supernatural, gothic, natural, zombie film, and teen horror. My favorites are supernatural and psychological. 

One of the earliest horror movies filmed was done by French filmmaker Georges Méliès, with his short film Le Manoir du Diable French for The House of the Devil in 1896. The Japanese were next with films Shinin No Sosei Japanese for Resurrection of a Corpse, and Bake Japanese for Jizo the Spook in 1898.

A Recipe For Horror

A good horror movie needs five elements to make a terrifying story: 

  • Fear. At the risk of pointing out the elephant in the room, fear is the essential factor of a great horror story. …
  • Surprise. Getting someone to fear what you’ve created isn’t the hardest part, making the fear surprising is. …
  • Suspense. Building up tension and anticipation. 
  • Mystery. Not knowing what is going to happen next.
  • Spoilers. Being surprised by the ending or a character. 
An American Werewolf In London — 1981
An American Werewolf In London — 1981

Let’s take a look at one supernatural movie with these elements and what makes it great. 

American Werewolf in London 

It is a 1981 movie with elements of comedy and horror. Mind you back then, I was nine years old when I first saw this, and it fascinated me as much as it thrilled me. An American Werewolf In London.

The movie didn’t hold back on blood and guts, but it was also funny and severe. David Naughton played David Kessler, the unlucky survivor of a werewolf bite and his best friend Jack Goodman, who are backpacking through Yorkshire’s moors. 

An American Werewolf In London
An American Werewolf In London

Unfortunately, they stumble upon an unfriendly bar, Slaughtered Lamb, full of locals who are not too keen on seeing these two. As they try to warm up and get some food, Jack asks the townsfolk what the five-pointed star on the wall means. 

The locals become hostile and drive the two young backpackers out. As Jack and David leave, they are warned to stay on the road, stay clear of the moors, and beware of the full moon.

The Moon Has Eyes

Pretty soon, they are walking and lose sight of the road. You can see the thick fog, and the spookiness starts to creep into the film. There’s a full moon, and our two unlucky guys know something is dangerously wrong as they try to find the road, but they are being stalked by something. 

Then you hear this howl that made my skin crawl and still does. There is something primordial about this howl; it shakes your belief that you are no longer the top predator. I always wonder if this is how prey feels. 

An American Werewolf In London — 1981
An American Werewolf In London — 1981

David and Jack try to run from the creature but can’t. As they are running, David stumbles and falls. Both men feel a little better as they laugh together at David’s stumbling. And then, Bam! You get to see Jack grabbed and mauled by this horrific creature that you can’t quite make out because it’s so big and fast. 

David takes off and leaves his friend behind. Feeling guilty, he turns back and tries to save his friend’s life, but it’s too late. Then another, you see the creature attack David, but it doesn’t kill him as the townsfolk have come to rescue and shoot the creature dead with a rifle. Before David passes out, he sees a dead man instead of a beast. 

And The Movie Goes On

The rest of the movie is in London and shows David’s recovery. The film combines comedy with Jack reappearing as a zombie, who keeps getting worse as he starts losing skin. 

Jack explains that the creature who killed him was a werewolf and that David is one too. He tells his friend he needs to kill himself before he kills others. Of course, David doesn’t believe him and thinks he’s hallucinating. 

An American Werewolf In London — 1981
An American Werewolf In London — 1981

Eventually, we get to see David’s transformation to a werewolf. Back then, this type of conversion was not shown on film. We get to see and hear the popping of joints, the grotesque display of werewolf teeth tearing through his human jaw, the uncontrollable anguish as his body deforms to this monstrosity. It looks so painful, and this is what I imagine a werewolf transformation would look and sound. 

As the movie goes on, we see David murder his victims in gruesome ways.  

An American Werewolf In London — 1981
An American Werewolf In London — 1981

One of the most suspenseful moments that spooked me was the young man that got out of the tube into an empty station. He feels like he is being followed and tries to evade his pursuer but can’t. You finally see the giant werewolf, David, and how he stalks the poor young man on the escalator. 

We don’t know the blood, but we know what will happen, and it’s not right. Throughout the film, we see David lay waste to Picadilly square in all its awesome gruesome. You should watch this film. 

Bad Moon Rising

Lastly, our werewolf is surrounded by police in an alley. David’s girlfriend Alex Price, a nurse who helped him recover, is facing him and begging him to come back, but he lunges, and the police open fire, killing him. 

An American Werewolf In London — 1981
An American Werewolf In London — 1981

The films then cut to Blue Moon by The Marcels that seems to fits this movie. The soundtrack also has Creedence Revival, Bad Moon Rising

Everything about this movie was great. The actors, the locations, the music, the campiness, the sounds, and the suspense made this movie a classic in horror. Grab your popcorn and tune in to, An American Werewolf in London

Dora Esquivel

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