With David Naughton, Jenny Agutter, Griffin Dunne, John Woodvine, David Schofield, Rik Mayall, Lila Kaye, Frank Oz

Written & Directed by John Landis

Released in 1981, this movie actually came a very long way. Director John Landis wrote this in the late-'60s, but no-one seemed to grasp the combination of horror and comedy. This was just as well, since the stalling made it possible for one of the world's top make-up FX artists to rise to prominence and develop what led to the (still) amazing benchmark transformation effects.
On a full moon night two American lads (David & Jack) are attacked while backpacking through the moors in England. Jack is mutilated and killed, and David wounded. The attacker was shot - but while it was the corpse of a man, at the time of attack, he was everything but. Soon after, while recovering (and falling for the nurse taking care of him), David is visited by the hideous corpse of Jack, telling him he's a werewolf and that by the next full moon he will turn into a monster and kill people - unless he kills himself of course. That's easier said than done in any circumstances, and besides, if he'd done that we wouldn't get to experience the extraordinary (pre-digital) prosthetic special make-up effects by Rick Baker (winning an Oscar for his fantastic efforts). The sequence where David changes into a monster shows every detail and remains a cinematic landmark. Baker and Landis were destined to make this movie, having had their first collaboration on Landis' first movie Schlock (1973).
But, while unforgettable, make-up is not the movie's only feature - the pitch-black sense of humour Landis gave the piece further added to making it a movie unlike any other before it. This type of horror-comedy theme has become commonplace (like Zombieland for instance), but decades later, this movie is still so watchable, so funny, so entertaining and downright incredible. A true classic.
For those of us who endured dodgy VHS tapes watched to ribbons, this Blu-ray release not only gives it to you in the best picture and audio quality yet, but also bulges with fantastic extras. Some of these include a highly informative making-of documentary, which also featured on the DVD release. But, a great addition is the feature length retrospective documentary Beware The Moon (which won Best Documentary at the 2009 South African HORRORFEST Film Festival). It revisits many of the locations and cover in-depth interviews with the movie-makers, including actors portraying major and minor characters.

After its screening at the 2009 South African HORRORFEST Film Festival (where John Landis could unfortunately not attend due to being in production on a new project, Burke and Hare), both he and Rick Baker were inducted into the South African HORRORFEST Hall Of Fame.

6 / A
- Paul Blom

0 1 2 3 4 5 6
- A
- B - C

To win a Blu-ray copy of AMERICAN WEREWOLF, click here

- 6 - Volcanic
- 5 - Blistering
- 4 - Hot
- 3 - Smolder
- 2 - Room Temp.
- 1 - Fizzled
- 0 - Extinguished

- A: Multi-Viewing Potential

- B: Could Enjoy A 2nd Look

- C: Once Should Suffice

© 2000-2010 - Flamedrop Productions