August 14, 1981 [An American Werewolf in London, The Howling]

The happy singing-dancing guy on TV who asks us if we want to be a Pepper is stretched in agony until he becomes a big bad American Werewolf in London. Like those California self-helpers in The Howling a few years ago, English moors vacationer David Naughton just wants to take it easy--but the ghost of Lon Chaney jiggers them all to hell, and even a man who is pure in heart and so on--except now it’s one horrible hair at a time, teeth growing like painful roots up, not down--and somewhere in there Freud shows up, and the wolf gets sexy, firelight dancing in a get-in-touch-with-your-REAL-self woodland bop--or a flickering See You Next Wednesday, the skin flick poor David watches, sort of--distracted as he is by the rotting corpses of his victims--and that porn title stuck in my head, opening a little memory-drawer--and of course: It’s the last words Frank’s parents say to him in 2001, their birthday greeting sent into outer space: “See you next Wednesday”--but, John Landis snarls, it aint happenin, kid--and those Golden Oldies on the soundtrack play him off, dead in the alley, “Blue Moon” doo-wopping away--while in The Howling the nice news lady gets to howl on-camera as a cutely coiffed Thing. Some fun.


  1. Meh.

    This film DID have some of the best special effects of the decade...

    But other than that the plot itself felt uneven.

  2. Nathanael: Do you mean "American Werewolf" or "The Howling"? I think the former--and yeah sure the plot is choppy; but that's the tone of the thing, evil adolescent slapstick brutally unsympathetic toward its likable characters/victims. Maybe Landis is a werewolf.

  3. Whoops, my bad.

    Yeah...I was talking about the first American Werewolf.

    I have yet to see this one...

  4. Ah, the gaps in communication engendered by the interwebs! This is a piece on the first "American Werewolf"--but it also mentions "The Howling." I was simply wondering if your original comment referred to "AW" or "The H." Nevermind--and have a good New Year.


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