“The wolf’s bloodline must be severed; the last remaining werewolf must be destroyed. It’s you David” Whenever I think about American Werewolf the exchange between David and Jack is always what comes to mind. Two best friends having a nice conversation, except the fact that Jack is now a member of the undead and David is unwittingly changing into a werewolf.
From The Howling to Dog Soldiers, there are plenty of decent werewolves flicks out there to choose from. The one film that receives praises higher than any other werewolf flick, however, is none other than, An American Werewolf In London. Let’s look at just why this movie is so beloved, and why it stands out as the Alpha Male in the pack of werewolf films.
Creative Take On Werewolf Lore
It’s no secret that there are plenty of werewolf films out there to sink your teeth into, so what makes An American Werewolf In London so special? One move that worked out incredibly well for the project was the interesting and creative take on the werewolf lore. The standard transformation under a full moon is present, but the writers also took a few creative liberties to help their work stand out from the competition.
The biggest example of this being Jack’s ghost as well as the ghosts of David’s other victims throughout the run-time. With each victim, David takes under the full moon, that person’s soul is trapped on Earth for as long as the werewolf that killed them still lives. Doomed for eternity to slowly rot and decay away.
Part of what makes the spirits work so well is that they ultimately add to the comedic aspects of the film. When An American Werewolf In London isn’t trying to tear your throat out, it can be pretty damn funny at times. The ghosts were an interesting idea to add to the script and in the end, absolutely paid off and only helped to better the film and deliver the necessary exposition without boring the viewers.
Absolutely Stunning Transformation Scene
For a movie that was released almost forty years ago, the special effects used are stunning and still hold up to this day. The makeup effects, as well as the camera work all, give the viewer an uncomfortable front row seat to view David’s agonizing transformation. There have been several on-screen werewolf transformations but none carry the weight that American Werewolf showcases.
The practical effects used still put many CGI moments to shame, even by today’s standards. And not to mention the emotionally bleak ending to the overall film, showcasing that even with the comedic aspects An American Werewolf In London is still a dark horror movie.
An American Werewolf In London is and will continue to be a horror classic. It blends horror and comedy almost seamlessly and still is able to achieve an utterly bleak ending. There may be too many werewolf films to list off, but for myself, An American Werewolf In London is the alpha male of werewolf films.