Classic Hollywood? "American Werewolf in London"

By the number of uniquely. As for the quality, among the pictures about vampires there are very often frank cheap stuff, whereas werewolves in the cinema, as a rule, always turned out to be an order of magnitude higher in the style of performance and elaboration of characters.

In addition to the film, which will be discussed below, well-known representatives of this direction can be considered “Howling” (1981) Joe Dante (who became the founder of a long-running franchise in 7 parts, the last part went directly to the video in 1995), “Silver Bullet” (1985) Daniel Ettias (after the story of Stephen King “The Werewolf Cycle”) and “Wolf” (1994) of Mike Nichols with Jack Nicholson in the lead role.

Also in February 2010, Joe Johnston's Wolfman appeared on the screens, but this tape, featuring Benicio Del Toro and Anthony Hopkins, is clearly inferior in style and passion to his predecessors.

“American werewolf in London” by the famous Hollywood comedian John Landis rightfully bears the title of a classic of the genre, although both before him and after this topic was addressed more than once. The story evolves according to standard canons - two young Americans, David Kessler and Jack Goodman, are sent to conquer the Old World.

In fact, their ultimate goal should be Italy, where Jack wants to finally put his former classmate to bed. How guys are brought to Misty Albion remains a mystery. But the fact remains that at the very beginning of the story the guys travel lightly through rural England, whose bleak landscapes openly remind the Russian audience of the Baskervilles Dog Igor Maslennikov. However, the heroes themselves are not thrilled with the environment and are in a hurry to quickly find shelter for the night.

In their desire to warm up and dine, they wander into the first pub (and, most likely, the only one in these places) pub under the “sweetest” name “Slaughtered Lamb”. What does the lamb have to do with it, guys guess, looking at the bloody wolf's head on the pub sign? But there is nothing to do, the choice is small, and the guys are inside.

They would stay there until dawn, but the locals do not shine with hospitality towards strangers. However, if my friend Jack did not want to become the champion of the game “I want to know everything”, young people could have avoided their fate. However, Jack did not shut up and asked too many uncomfortable questions. Feeling that the tension in the institution may soon turn into a conflict, David and Jack hastily retreat. And this is the biggest mistake they made that day. Having lost their way in the desert and dark wilderness, they stumble upon a werewolf who attacks them, kills Jack, and before dying (the "compassionate" pub guests decided not to leave the guys to the mercy of fate) has time to bite David, who is now destined to become the same a monster ...

Interestingly, such a dark and dramatic tape, constantly balancing at the intersection of the thriller and horror film genres, was shot by John Landis, one of the leading eighties comedy directors of Hollywood. Behind him are such tapes as masterpieces of the Blues Brothers, good comedies “Swap Places” and “A Trip to America” with Eddie Murphy on top of fame and very average “Spies like us” and “Three Amigos!”. Alas, since the time of the Oscar remake with the participation of Sylvester Stallone, Landis doesn’t mean decent work, so the audience can only reconsider his past successes.

What in the picture really touches? First, it is quite a strong and well-developed script, where there is no place for long boring conversations, as in the recent “Wolf Man”. The film takes place in London for literally one month, from which David spent three weeks in oblivion in a hospital bed. Heroes behave adequately to the situation: poor David David can not come to his senses and realize that the easy walk ended in a nightmare and the terrible death of his best friend. Moreover, when his already dead friend Jack, whose body, according to all the laws of logic, should be in the family crypt in his homeland, suddenly declares himself in his ward, David begins to seriously fear for his mind. However, to fully experience "in their own skin" that he is now not just an American tourist, but an American werewolf in London, our hero can only when the full moon rises in the night sky.

Secondly, of course, the special effects of Rick Baker, one of the best (if not the best) specialist in makeup. Thanks to Baker, the transformation of David into a wolf, and indeed all the visual nightmares of the film look very realistic and give odds to any special effects drawn using a computer. It is not surprising that it was he who was awarded the Oscar for “American werewolf” for makeup. However, Rick Baker was nominated for Oscar eleven times, and six statuettes he managed to take home.

Thirdly, a very confident acting game in the complete absence of well-known names. Surprisingly, Landis, who a year ago came to know the first triumph with the magnificent musical “The Blues Brothers”, where there was no passage from movie stars and music, didn’t take a single real Hollywood star in his next film. The main role is played by the little-known American actor David Naphton, who neither before nor after this film remembers anything special. The role of his friend Jack was played by Griffin Dunn, whose best acting characters in the films “After Work” and “Who is this Girl?” Also remained in the 80s of the last century; in the 2000s, Dunn closely engaged in directing (“The Accidental Husband” with Uma Thurman, etc.). Finally, the main female role went to Jenny Agutter, whose career also does not abound with great success, or rather, they are not there at all. Cameo Frank Oz, another famous comedian and good friend of Landis, who appeared as a representative of the US Embassy.

It's funny, but the famous “Thriller” by Michael Jackson, considered to be an unsurpassed example of the genre of music videos and also shot by John Landis, was born largely due to the “American werewolf in London”. Jackson liked the film so much that he convinced the producers to hire all its creators.

After as much as sixteen years, a certain Anthony Waller, according to the scenario, co-authored by the same Landis, released a sequel under the straightforward title “American werewolf in Paris”. This continuation is a vivid example of why it is not necessary to continue, unless there is a valid reason. The picture turned out pathetic, forced, secondary and absolutely useless in all respects. Compared with the original - complete zero. With a minus.

Nevertheless, the Hollywood experience does not teach anything, and next year they are going to launch in the dream factory in the production of remakes, both films at once.

I can only imagine what will come of this, but I always hope to hope for the best.

Watch the video: The Golden Age of Hollywood: Crash Course Film History #11 (December 2019).


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