Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997)
American Werewolf in London, An

US movie (1981). PolyGram/Lycanthrope. Pr George Folsey Jr. Exec pr Peter Guber, Jon Peters. Dir John Landis. Spfx Rick Baker, Effects Associates. Screenplay Landis. Starring Jenny Agutter (Alex Price), Griffin Dunne (Jack Goodman), David Naughton (David Kessler), John Woodvine (Dr Hirsch). 97 mins. Colour.

Hitch-hiking in the north of England, two US teenagers, Jack and David, are attacked on a lonely moor by a Werewolf; Jack dies but David, surviving, is taken to a London hospital. There he is visited by the Zombie-like Revenant of Jack, who explains David is now also a werewolf. At the next full Moon David suffers radical transformation, goes on the rampage, slaughters the innocent and wakes in nude ignorance the following morning in the wolf enclosure of London Zoo. He tries to give himself up as a werewolf, but the authorities are incredulous. On his next rampage he is shot despite attempts by Alex, the nurse who has become his lover, to awaken the human within the Monster. Mixing Humour with the conventions of the Horror Movie – and with spectacular spfx – AAWIL is an uneasy movie. Interesting, though, is its depiction of the transformed werewolf not as a sleek, erotic beast but as a heavy, swift-lumbering brute – far removed from the sensitive, soft-eyed David. [JG]

This entry is taken from the Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997) edited by John Clute and John Grant. It is provided as a reference and resource for users of the SF Encyclopedia, but apart from possible small corrections has not been updated.