Best of ILHM: An American Werewolf in London (1981)

With the exception of the Universal classic THE WOLF MAN, AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON is the greatest werewolf film ever made. John Landis strikes the perfect balance between horror and humor in this biting black comedy, while the special effects world would be changed forever by a young Rick Baker, who would bring home the very first Oscar for Best Makeup thanks to his genre-defining transformation sequence.

AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON begins as David and Jack set off across the misty moors on a backpacking trip through England. After they fail to heed the warnings set by the residents of the local tavern, the pair are attacked by a ferocious beast that kills Jack and leaves David hospitalized. As David deals with the grief of losing his friend, he begins to experience horrifying nightmares where he is transformed into a wolf, himself. Now, with the full moon fast approaching, David fears that he may actually become a werewolf in the light of the moon!

David Naughton plays the lovable lead with an enormous amount of enthusiasm, creating a reluctant and sympathetic monster with whom the audience can relate. He is just as tragic a character as Larry Talbot ever was, and is one of the most likable characters in all of the Horror genre. Griffin Dunne is equally enjoyable as David's undead buddy Jack, the wise cracking corpse who continues to decompose with each passing scene as he attempts to convince David to kill himself.

With his characters and light comic mood already established, Landis has primed himself for a surefire success, which is solidified by master of effects Rick Baker. Baker employs a number of cutting-edge latex and bladder effects that allow David's body to stretch and contort as he turns into the four-legged beast right before our very eyes! No amount of computerization can ever stand before the practical effects that were perfected in AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF, and Baker's transformation scene remains as the most visually arresting and effective sequence to date.

Beware the moon, but not AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON!

Rating: 9/10.



  1. One of my all time favorite movies! Thanks for posting!

  2. I'm the biggest fan of Rick Baker's Special Makeup Effects, and Special Creature Effects, and love the Rob Bottin's Special Monster Effects. I especially love how the way Rick Baker and Rob Bottin did on the movie 'The Howling' because the werewolf beasts are very creepy and horrifying. Love a lot of Bladders FX on the transformations on both 'An American Werewolf In London' and 'The Howling.'

    I say the new Special Makeup Effects artist ought to do an over millions to billions of air-bladders FX, puppetry FX, and makeup FX for the upcoming horror movies, but really they should make Good horror films like ones from the 1980's and the early 1990's.

  3. New horror film directors really should do billions and billions of many air-bladders special effects and should make thousands of new strange werewolf movies. Hope they'll do more than many of the special bladders makeup effects werewolf transformations soon.