Variety - 08/19/1981
"...A clever mixture of comedy and horror....Redolent with sharp dialog and offbeat humor..."
New York Times - 08/12/1981
"...Landis is...serious about making this a horror film that packs a wallop..."
Entertainment Weekly - 09/11/2009
"John Landis' giddy, gory 1981 horror comedy remains the lycanthropic gold standard." -- Grade: A-
Description by OLDIES.com:
"A Full-Blooded Horror Film That Happens To Have A Sharp Sense Of Humor!" -Leonard Maltin
It's a rainy night on the Welsh moors. Two American students on a walking tour of Europe trudge on to the next town, when suddenly the air is pierced by an unearthly howl... Three weeks later, one is dead, the other is in the hospital and the nightmare begins for An American Werewolf In London. David Naughton, Griffin Dunne and Jenny Agutter star in the contemporary story of the macabre which takes you from the Welsh moors to Picadilly Circus, Trafalgar Square and the ground of Windsor Castle. It is written and directed by John Landis, the man who brought you National Lampoon's Animal House, The Blues Brothers, Trading Places, Innocent Blood and Coming To America. To add to the chill, there is art direction by Academy Award-winner Les Dilley of Star Wars and Alien fame and special makeup effects by six-time Academy Award-winner Rick Baker, whose work includes Star Wars, The Nutty Professor, Tim Burton's Planet Of The Apes, Dr. Seuss' How The Grinch Stole Christmas and Men In Black.
In John Landis' (THE BLUES BROTHERS, ANIMAL HOUSE) dripping black comedy, two American students (David Naughton and Griffin Dunne) on a European vacation wander into a creepy local pub in Northern England and are quickly thrown out. Stranded and alone in the dark countryside, the pair get lost in their search for warm lodging. Little do they know that they are about to be changed forever by an ancient terror as they walk along the moors on a moonlit night. Only one of the students survives a deadly attack by a supernatural beast--at least he thinks he survived, until the next full moon rolls around. Terrific makeup effects (by Oscar winner Rick Baker), clever editing, and raunchy tongue-in-cheek humor made this suspenseful and thrilling horror effort an instant classic.
In this grisly black comedy, David Kessler and Jack Goodman (David Naughton and Griffin Dunne, respectively) are two American students on a backpacking tour of Europe. Wandering the backroads of gloomy East Proctor, England, they find a pub where the unhelpful locals act suspiciously strange. The unsuspecting boys flee the pub in search of lodging after being warned to avoid the moors. Lost in the dark countryside, the pair is attacked by a werewolf. Only David survives, waking up three weeks later in a London hospital. As David begins to regain his memory he is tormented by nightmares and is visited by his dead friend Jack, who warns David that he will turn into a werewolf with the next full moon--and that the only way to lift the curse is to kill himself. Because the town of East Proctor has covered up the real cause of the murder, David is forced to face the truth alone. Finally, he is discharged and taken in by his nubile nurse, Alex Price (Jenny Agutter). As Alex and David begin their steamy love affair, it is only a matter of time before the next full moon comes--when the truth will be revealed. Director John Landis has crafted an entertaining, funny horror story, featuring the terrific combination of Naughton and Dunne and a sparkling rock score in which every song includes the word "moon.".
One of the chief successes of the film is the inventiveness of makeup artist Rick Baker, who slowly transforms both Naughton and Dunne into werewolves.
Director (Landis's) trademark: SYNW (See You Next Wednesday) can be seen on a poster advertising a porn film in the London T tunnel where the werewolf (Naughton) kills one of his victims. The same porn film is the film being shown and advertised on the marquee at the porn theater in Picadilly Circus, where Naughton meets his zombie friend Jack and the undead victims of his murder spree. Later, Naughton turns into a werewolf in the theater.
"I'm not being threatened by a walking meatloaf."--David (David Naughton) to Jack (Griffin Dunne)
"Have you ever talked to a corpse' It's boring."--Jack to David