I love this movie. I’d make it No. 1 if I didn’t think I’d lose a little credibility. “An American Werewolf in London” is the best werewolf movie to date.  Bottom line. Between John Landis‘ directing and Rick Baker‘s makeup, it’s truly a good movie.

Best friends David and Jack are backpacking through Europe. One night they get sidetracked from the road and end up in werewolf country where they are attacked. Jack dies a grizzly death but David survives. He ends up in the hospital where he meets and falls for his nurse Alex. A dead Jack soon visits David to warn him that he will turn into a werewolf during the next full moon. He also informs David that he is the last werewolf in the bloodline and must kill himself so Jack and other victims can rest in peace.

David first thinks he’s going crazy. Then the full moon comes out and does David’s inner beast. From then on, David goes on a two-night killing rampage but has no memory of doing so. He does figure out that he is responsible for all the deaths turning up in the newspaper. He doesn’t handle it very well, of course.

The movie is a nice mixture of horror, gore and humor. There are almost as many laugh-out-loud moments as there are gory moments. As I mentioned earlier, Rick Baker’s makeup work is superb (he won an Oscar for it), particularlly David’s transformation. Set to “Blue Moon,” David goes through a very painful and graphic transformation. That’s definitely one of the greatest scenes in horror film history.

Another favorite is the job Baker did on the various stages of Jack’s decomposing body. When he first shows up, the wounds are fresh. The second time, the blood has dried and he’s turning a little green. By the third time, he’s a rotting corpse. Awesome.

“An American Werewolf in London” 1981

Memorable Quote: “The undead surround me. Have you ever talked to a corpse? It’s boring! I’m lonely! Kill yourself, David, before you kill others.”

Best Scene: Do I even need to say it? The transformation, of course. Pure genius.

Did You Know? This is the first film to earn the Academy Award for Best Makeup. That category was created in 1981.

See the rest of the 31 Great Horror Movies.

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