An American Werewolf in London

release year: 1981
genre: horror/comedy
viewing setting: home DVD, 1/23/13

synopsis: Two American college students wander in the wrong English moor one night, and the curse of the werewolf gets passed on.

impressions: David and Jack, two American teenagers, are romping across the English countryside. Ignoring all advice and common sense, they not only stray from the beaten path into the moors, but they get lost! Well, they pay for their stupidity as a savage beast rips Jack apart and mauls David. Afterwards, David must cope not only with his friend's death and the local authorities' ignorance of what really happened, he must also deal with the fact that he seems to be a werewolf himself now. Fortunately, he has help in these trying times: young, perky nurse Alex and Jack's undead corpse/ghost. See, when a werewolf kills you, you don't die - you're forced to roam the world as a spirit until the creature is slain. Thus, Jack tries to convince David to kill himself; David isn't buying it. This movie is both horror and comedy, a satire in many ways of the traditional werewolf legend. It's filled with bits of gore and humor (and sometimes, gory humor) and has some good special effects. Of particular interest are David's post-mauling nightmares, his wild hunt upon the first full moon, and the chase with all the police. Some of these parts are just plain hilarious. As for body count, at least ten people get mauled by one werewolf or another in this movie.

something this movie has that no other movie has: The undead victims of a werewolf, coming back to scold him for killing them.

Alex: "David! Let's be rational!"
David: "Rational? I'm a f**king werewolf, for Christ's sake!"

acting: David Naughton is the newly-infected kid; Griffin Dunne is his mostly-dead friend. They are funny, expecially when they banter about things that must seem impossible yet are really happening to them. Jenny Agutter, in her prime of cuteness, is the helpful nurse who falls for David. John Woodvine is an elderly doctor who tries to help.

final word: Highly entertaining mix of werewolf horror and comedy.

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