Episode 01: An American Werewolf in London (1981) - Scene-By-Scene Breakdown
12:20PM Jan 19, 2023
Welcome to Just curious media. This is let's talk movies. And I'm Jason Connell, on the show. Today I'm joined by special guest, Sal Rodriguez.
Hi, Jason. Thanks for having me.
My pleasure. Sounds good to see you. And this is a different forum for us because Sal, as you know, and the listeners may or may not know, is my co host on Let's Talk Cobra Kai.
That's right. Which is
a podcast dedicated to the incredible YouTube series and pretty much all things and the Karate Kid universe.
Yes. So I want to know what what about this movie we're going to talk about today has to do with Cobra Kai or Karate Kid.
I'm not sure they're affiliated Sal. But we can try to find some parallels there. But this of course, for you listeners. This is the first episode of this new series. And every episode I'll be joined by a different special guest. Now hopefully we'll have Sal back. But we'll be discussing different movies on every episode. And I'm super excited to kick things off with one of my favorite movies. And American Werewolf in London.
Yes, big time excited.
So this movie came out in 1981. Written and directed by John Landis. And I always like to give the ratings for things the IMDB and the Rotten Tomatoes ratings. So I'll quickly do that. It's 7.5 rating on IMDb and 87% on Rotten Tomatoes. And their actual release date for this film was August 21 1981. And Sal, I did not see this when it first came out. I would have been 10 years old. And there's no way my parents were letting me see that at that point in time.
Well, that's where our childhoods differ, Jason because you see, my mother would take me to any given inappropriate movie. At this time. I would have been I think eight because I was born. Yeah, I think I would have been eight years old. My mother had zero problem taking me to see movies that would be considered inappropriate for child. All throughout the 70s. Yeah, all throughout the 70s and the mid 80s.
Sci Fi saw Midnight Cowboy and the theater.
You name any given horror movie, particularly harm. My parents were big on horror, actually. You name any horror movie, or sci fi movie from the mid 70s to the mid 80s. And my parents took me to see it.
Wow. So did this movie frighten you at eight years old?
Oh, no, I think I sort of thought of it. And I'm sure we'll get into this. But, you know, is it a comedy? Is it a horror comedy? I think that they talked to John Landis about this. I could have sworn I read an article once where he addressed that very question, is this movie a comedy? And I think that as a kid, I was kind of able to separate this movie, kind of compartmentalize it and kind of think of it as sort of a comedy horror. So I I wasn't as afraid of it as I was, let's say the exorcist.
Well, I will say do not ask our tell John Landis that this movie is a comedy. You think it's one because he does not take kind to that.
Wow. Well, how about a comedy horror, isn't it? Wouldn't it be a comedy horror,
he says and although we'll get into meeting John Landis, and all of that, I have read that John Landis has said that it's a horror movie that has funny parts. Okay, I will not be mistaken. This is a horror movie.
Okay. It's not a comedy. It is a horror movie with some comedy. Exactly. Oh, go for that. I will totally agree with that, then no problem. So
I didn't see this movie until VHS in the late 80s. But I do remember when it was on HBO, and hear my grandfather talk about it. And he said that it actually scared him and not many movies ever did. So I thought, wow, as a young kid, I thought man if it scared him. Forget about it. I'm not ready for this.
Wait, was your grandfather from the old country? from Ireland? Well, I mean, like, was your grandfather American? Or was he from like a superstitious village or something?
No. Good point. No, he was from America. Oh, my, my mother's side. They were from Ireland. Okay. So, yeah, no, it scared him. And I just, you know, it stayed with me for years, until I finally did see it and then it frightened me. Real quickly, the budget was $10 million. And the US gross. Now again, this is just IMDb numbers, who knows when it was updated last, but it shows that it grossed 30 and a half million dollars. I'm sure it made more than that over time, but it was successful.
But you know what, one thing that always bothered me and I tell you the truth. It always bothered me from when I was young. It always bothered me that this movie did not catapult David Norton to huge stardom. Why didn't David not and become a huge star after this? movie.
Yeah, I don't know that answer to be honest, it could have been something with David not and I'm not sure.
Maybe he has some problems.
So just quickly, if you don't know what this movie is about, we're gonna give some spoilers away, so I highly recommend watching it first but the real brief elevator pitch or synopsis is to American college students on a walking tour of Britain are attacked by a werewolf that none of the locals will admit exist. Sal, what do you think? Is that a good synopsis for this film?
Yeah, I really like it. I like movies that have what you have these contrasts, if you will. So you have like, for example, the way that it opens you have American music playing over English countryside. I mean, two things that don't really go together officially and yet they blend them together. It's a merger of two worlds. I like when two worlds collide in movies.
Yeah, no, I totally agree. When Landis he wrote the screenplay following something that he observed while working as a PA on the film, Kelly's Heroes, while driving in the countryside of Yugoslavia, he came across a group of gypsies who are performing a ritual on a man being buried so that he would not rise from the grave. This gave land is the idea for a film in which a man would confront the undead. Yeah, so interesting. I think he was successful in that what an interesting thing to observe. Although when I think rise from the grave, I just think of something like Weekend at Bernie's.
What Yes, yes. Or I
guess he never went to the grave yet. I guess in that in that I know he
never made it. But you had a member serpent in the rainbow, right? Yeah, very scary. I love I loved that movie. Never saw it again. I only saw it once. But I love that movie. And I remember him being there in the casket. So yeah, this movie has an element that you would say the Lon Chaney Jr. Traditional. The Wolfman doesn't have and that is his friend Jack. Yeah, coming along as his what his conscious his voice of reason. I think I want to get into what who we are what is Jack later on in the film?
Absolutely. It's a wonderful device in the movie. And it also helps bring that comedy element to this film, watch it now. It's not a comedy. It just brings humor in the movie. And so you spoke about David Norton, who plays David Kessler, the lead in this movie. There's also a wonderful performance by Griffin Dunne who did go on to do a lot of movies and TV, credible actor he plays Jack Goodman. These are the two Americans off on this journey, this backpacking journey, if you will. And then really the cast is not that much bigger as far as key players, Sal. I mean, John Wood Vine plays Dr. J. S. Hirsch. Yeah,
I like and then like, he's great. And I like him a lot. He's like a mix of sort of a Malcolm McDowell, sort of a Donald Pleasance. Halloween doctor,
Yes, you know, this, this doctor who, who's intelligent, he sees and he goes for what he thinks is the proper direction, medically and socially.
And he doesn't judge. He takes things for what they are. And he's very led by science, you know, as far fetched as the concept is, he's, you know, he's sifting through it and just trying to get answers, although he never says he's a werewolf. No, he's hot on the trail. He's very Sherlock Holmes.
And when we first meet him, there's that brief encounter with the two nurses chatting, saying inappropriate things He hears, and he gives a little bit of chastisement. But he moves on, he doesn't make a big thing out of it. He doesn't call HR. Now, you know, he writes through it. I really like his character. I think that he's got a little bit of a little bit of tongue in cheek Enos almost to the level of Leslie Nielsen. Almost.
Oh, yeah. Without without the slapstick.
Yeah, yeah. Yeah, that's what I'm saying. He's almost there. He's, he's right on that edge, where any second, I think he's going to crack a smile or give a a little aside, like Mr. Roper or Benny Hill, you know, but but but he doesn't, he's right there on that edge. I really liked this character a lot.
If I would have been a different choice. If Leslie Nelson was the daughter, then we might have to reassess if this is a comedy or not, I would say. So to round out the cast. It's Ginni acheter, I believe is the pronounciation and she plays nurse Alex price, so she's fantastic. Oh, yes, she is very sexy. And then there's kind of a cameo. I don't know if you caught this or not. But Frank Oz plays Mr. Collins who comes in the hospital on the one quick scene and Well, Frank Oz. is a very famous director. And he also does the voice of Miss Piggy, who was also in the film on the TV. But we'll get into
that later wick and Kermit the Frog.
Yeah, but he didn't do Kermit. That was Jim Henson. He worked with Henson for years, and he did Miss Piggy. And he also directed lots of movies from Dirty Rotten Scoundrels to in and out to the score. He's still directing movies as far as I know.
Yes. Okay. I got it.
And I'd be remiss if we didn't talk about a couple of key components, a couple of key players on the crew, one being Rick Baker, who did all the makeup and creature design work, which is outstanding, and we'll talk more about that, I'm sure. And he actually went on to win the first of his seven Oscar for this movie. And one thing I had noted was that John Landis and Rick Baker had several disagreements over the design of the werewolf itself. Oh, and Baker had really wanted a two legged werewolf, which is what we're used to seeing, you know, from silver bullet to any of the old werewolf movies, and Landis really wanted a four legged hound from hell, quote, unquote. And he got one
was this movie before or after the howling?
Well, that's an interesting thing you brought up So Rick Becker was set to work on the howling and decided to work with John Landis instead. So I don't know if they came out together, I'd have to look it up or which one was ahead of the other. But Rick Baker was going to design that werewolf and chose to work on this movie instead.
Well, because in the howling we have the two legged werewolf obviously, a very different look doesn't work clothing. The original The Wolfman with Lon Chaney Jr. becomes a werewolf still wearing pants. Well, in the howling when you become a werewolf, your clothes fall off you or rip off you same as in an American Werewolf in London.
Absolutely, it's good point. So whenever you come out of your werewolf state, you are going to be
naked. Didn't cat people remember cat people will?
vaguely remember that.
Yeah, Wasn't there some sort of element where you know you become a cat? I guess you're sort of aware of cat although I don't know if there used that term. And then I think one of the stars falls asleep in the zoo and wakes up in the zoo. I saw I don't know if they stole the element or they use the similar element. Before After this movie. I forgot if cat people was before after this movie.
Oh, I would say cat people is after American orphan London.
Okay, then if cat people use that same waking up in the zoo, naked element.
Yeah. Well, it was a hot trend back then. Yeah. And lastly, before we get into kind of the scenes of this movie, which really the heart of everything heart of this podcast, is the soundtrack. And it was composed by Elmer Bernstein, who is very well known composer. However, in the end, it was only about seven minutes of score. Believe it or not.
Yeah, because I was thinking most of the music was, you know, hits hits that we've heard before, right that they used in the movie.
Exactly. And not just hits that we've heard before. But every song and the soundtrack contains the word moon in the title. Yeah. There's three versions of Blue Moon. There's van Morrison's moondance. And there's Creedence Clearwater revival's Bad Moon Rising. Yeah. But little tidbit. I wish I could save this for the trivia but I'll just throw it in here. Now, land has tried to use the Cat Stevens song Moon Shadow, which is another great song. But Stevens objected to the subject matter of the film. And Landis thought this was hilarious because Moonshadow is about killing and dismemberment.
No, but that's because Cat Stevens wanted his song to be used in cat people.
That's exactly right. And the howling? That's exactly, that's a true reason. I'll, I'll tell Landis that later. All right, Sal. So now we're jumping into the movie. And so we start off with this beautiful country, and two Americans being plopped into it. And I just love how it opens with these guys in the back of a, you know, sheep truck, if you will.
Yeah, it's interesting that it opens with them already. On this truck, in this area, versus them maybe starting back home, starting at the airport. You know, like, for example, the Karate Kid. The Karate Kid starts with them leaving New Jersey, takes them through the country, then they finally wind up in receita. So this movie didn't do that.
Boom, there they are. The writing time is much shorter than Karate Kid.
This movie is so short. And by the way, I love when movies are short. I really do. Makes you want to see it again. Yeah, exactly. I'll say, You know what, I'll watch that again. It's only an hour 37 of my life. I'll do it again. If a movie is over two hours, I kind of go. I don't know.
Now you're right. They didn't mess around. And I like when a movie gets to the point, you know, here they are. You've got a nice setup. You get to know the characters. And then you know, we're at the next big pivotal scene in which we're about to talk about. I love it when movies do that I really do. So, this opening sequence with them kind of talking on the road side, leads us to the slaughtered lamb.
I do think when they are there in the opening sequence, along with the sheep, in particularly David's character, I'm thinking that's the metaphor for wolf in sheep's clothing. Could be Yes, or I wanted it to be.
Or they're in the back of a truck with lambs. And they come upon the slaughtered lamb. They are the lamb.
They are lambs to the slaughter.
Yeah, it's not subtle. It is on the nose. And just speaking of this, when I was in New York many years ago, the first time I met John Landis this is true. I went to a special screening of an American Werewolf in London. I've never seen it on 35 millimeter yet. I've seen the movie plenty of times by this point in time, this is 2008 2009 and John Landis was going to be there. And so I was totally geeking out like, I'm gonna go and I'm gonna, I'm gonna meet him. And I took a copy of my first documentary, which had just come out on DVD. I know Mr. Landis is a huge cinephile. And I go see the movie, there's a great q&a. And Michael Jackson had just passed away a few months earlier. And since he did do the Thriller video, after the movie and didn't have to the q&a ended, they fired up thriller, and John Landis, I could see when they started that he headed out of the theater, and I went around and said, I'll be right back. I told my friend, I'll be right back, watch my jacket. I'm gonna go meet John Landis before everyone gets out of the theater. And I ran into him in a very dark hallway and someone his escort had a flashlight and put it on my face. And I was like Mr. Landis, it's a pleasure to meet you. I'm a huge fan, I want to give you this as a gift. And so he was touched that I gave him a gift. And I didn't want anything from him just a moment of his time. And he said, This is so nice. I'll watch this, I promise you a watch this, give me your email, and I left my jacket in my seat. So I didn't have a card or I'm like, Oh my gosh, I didn't anticipate this. So he opened the DVD took the plastic off. And he had me write my email on the inside lining of the DVD. And I did and that was it. Okay, it's over. What a great moment. I'll never see or hear from him again. Three months later, I got an email. And he said, Dear Jason, I'm not sure where we met. But I watched a movie last night. And I loved it. And he went on and wrote me this great thing about how he was touched by strictly background, which is a documentary about movie extras. And I was on cloud nine for days. Well, I met one of my heroes. He actually watched my movie,
and he actually enjoyed it. Well, that's a fantastic story.
Thank you. I'm still excited to tell the story. It was thrilling. So here we are this amazing same and the movie there at the slaughtered lamb. If there was a record playing the record, Ito would have went off as they walked in. Yeah, the knee everything stopped. guy stopped playing darts, stories stop, everything comes to a screeching halt. And it's just to Americans, which is just too funny to me.
You know what makes them so American as those down jackets, did they? Did they were jet those puffy down jackets in England? Or is that an American thing?
I don't know. I love those things. I still have one to this day of Patagonia on but yeah, I don't know if they wore them there.
If you look at all the other people in the pub, none of them are wearing big puffy down jackets. They're dressed like old fashion. People from an old village back in the old country. This is how they're dressed with with their with their paperboy caps and everything.
Exactly, exactly. They're conducive to the climate where us Americans are not having visited the UK all over and Ireland. It gets quite cold there.
Okay, so I was thinking that because they kept saying as they're in and out of the slaughter lamb how cold it was. And I was trying to you know, I've never been to England, and I was thinking How cold is it? What is it? 1520 How cold is it? How cold Do you think it was that night?
Yeah, it could have been I mean, it also was wet. So I don't think it was at its coldest, but there are chilly nights. And the difference is it doesn't warm up that much. So it's always kind of a state of dreary and cold. It's probably very sick. More to the northeast climate. Yeah, you know, wet and a little bit cold. So I mean, I'm not saying doesn't get cold at places in the States. I mean you talk in Wisconsin or Minnesota shore would probably gets colder in those places with snow. But it just feels like it was always wet and cold when I was traveling abroad in those areas. Yeah,
well, not to mention these guys are without shelter. It's one thing to be cold in your hotel room or cold in your home. These guys are walking through the countryside. By the way, I do have a question. One thing I forgot to investigate as an American, I know the phrase, the Moore's, but I really don't know. Like, what is the Moore's what does that what does that mean? The countryside? Is that what that means? Yeah,
I don't know, either.
I know that they've referenced the Moore's in I think the Lord of the Rings and I think Led Zeppelin references the Moore's in one of their songs. I think they do. You're right. Yeah, but I don't really we should look that up. Yeah, let's look up. What what is the Moors? I think I think offhand, it would just refer to the British countryside. I would have guessed.
It sounds right. So I love the sequence. So I love the guy tone the story that obviously he's told 100 times but yet tells it was such conviction to everybody. The blind still to me, I just thought that guy was fantastic.
And I will say this as a person of Mexican heritage, incredibly excited that Mexicans are represented in an American Werewolf in
London. Yes, they are.
In the Alamo and the joke and the
joke. And that leads to them really getting ostracized out of the bar, and Jack asked a question about the star on the wall and that shuts everybody up.
You know what, when he asked that, you know, I'm a firm believer in timing. When When should you do something? When should you say something? His timing was so horrible. I mean, this this guy was enjoying his laugh from a great joke. You know, by today's standards, a very racist joke, but a very fantastic and great joke. He tells the joke, he's getting tremendous laughs and, and Jack asks about the pentagram. Hello, can you wait a few seconds?
What he should have done is just, you know, whisper to the waitress when she came back over. Sure. Sure. But no, he screams it out loud. Total Buzzkill. Yeah, and that's it. Like they don't want to share or divulge the secret of the werewolf. And I'm curious how, how long has this gone on? This whole werewolf because these guys aren't immune to the werewolf. But they seem like they all just holed up in a pub on a full moon. And they at least they know what they know. And they can get a gun and be prepared. You know, how long has this village been under siege by werewolves?
Well, that's one thing I'd like to know. I'd like to look at a map and look at where is the slaughtered lamb pub in relation to London, where he winds up I wish I'd like to see the geography. How far is this? Because if it's not that far, then it shouldn't be such a secret. Unless it's just, you know, 300 miles away from London. I mean, I we need to see how far away these two places apart from each other.
Yeah, I'd say it's pretty far. And I'm assuming that wasn't always the same werewolf. I had a feeling that it was a long bloodline. But who knows? Maybe not we don't get into that. No, we don't get into that.
There is a lineage when when you track I don't know, you can do the same with vampires. But you can track the bloodlines. You can track the lineage. You know, this person made me a werewolf. And this person made them a werewolf. And we see when we finally do see the werewolf who attacked David and Jack. Very average looking guy.
Right? Yeah. I mean, I guess if you were aware of in a village, you could just live a normal life until a full moon happens.
Well, I think that this is something that they came out with, I think later in probably werewolf movies anyway. Hey, I'm gonna become a werewolf lock me in this room and do not let me out. Right? Okay. Well, he didn't lock himself in a room you know, he allowed himself to to escape easily.
And entertain off he just went and played basketball. All the babes. So he really tapped into using his his wolf for good. And that movie
well that's when you get into some of the some of the folklore some of the Lycanthrope right because this was a lycanthrope productions. They named the production company Lycanthrope productions. When you look at some of the Lycanthrope folklore. Yeah, you have Teen Wolf, he played basketball. You have the howling. You remember Eddie in the howling? He loved becoming a werewolf. He practically got her Hasmik becoming a werewolf. And then now you have David becoming a werewolf. And it's very painful for him later on when he becomes aware of he doesn't revel in the way Eddie from the howling rebels and becoming a werewolf.
No. And speaking of so this opening saying how he became a werewolf as they leave the slaughtered lamb, and they go against all their advice, state of the road. Meanwhile, they did not stay to the road. We're in the middle of nowhere. They didn't avoid the moon, beware of the moon. Yeah. And that's a pretty amazing sequence. So as they're chased down in the dark, by the werewolf,
they did not heed any of the warnings. They were told, yeah, twice, for sure. Avoid the Moors stay on the road. Okay, fine. Later on. What are they doing? They're walking right in the Moors off the road. So right away, these games are kind of bumbling and clumsy. Because what are they doing? They are? Well, first of all, one thing you have to consider is they say stay out on the road. But what werewolves don't go on to the road? Why would be on being on the road? Be any salvation? I don't know. But anyway, the villagers saw that that was a safer place to be. And our tourists or two young tourists paid it no mind.
No, they were disoriented. They were called wet. But that's a great sequence when the werewolf sneaks up on them. You don't see it coming. And it's like a perfect moment when he falls down. Was it? David that fell down? Yeah, yep. And he's like, held me up. And so our guards as a viewer are down and then bam, you don't really see the werewolf and these early scenes, just a little bit here and there. But it's really the it's the audio, it's the noises that are just incredibly scary and terrifying.
I would imagine that there could be a parallel to jaws in the sense that because they use practical effects because they were not at the computer graphics era yet. They didn't show the werewolf or werewolves as much as they would today. Yeah, just like if they made Jaws today, they would show the shark more because of the CGI effects so that we don't we don't see I think when when you're done with this movie, you really didn't see the world with a whole lot. Saw it enough though. You saw it enough, but you could have seen it a whole lot more. For one thing in the living room when he first becomes a werewolf on camera. We see a lot of the hind legs later on. We don't see as much of the hind legs. I like seeing the whole body I want to see the torso the ribs. I want to see the back legs I want to see the whole thing when it later on when he's running through Piccadilly square. We only see sort of the the front half so I I am one who wants to see the creature and I want to see it often.
But I don't want to see a CG version of the creature. No,
no, no, God, no.
So this leads us to the hospital. You know, he wakes up was it two weeks later? Yeah, he's been knocked out. We're having these wild dream sequences, you know, which is fascinating in its own right. So we as viewers, understand that something's happening to David. He is changing slowly but surely.
Well, he's not only becoming an animal necessarily. He's kind of going insane. He's having some horrible nightmares. I mean, the one I don't know if you're going to lead us into this but the his house, he's having a nice, the zombie Nazis, zombie Nazis. He's having a nice family evening, everybody's home. We were reading the paper, you know, doing homework. And all of a sudden these horrible creatures come these Nazi creatures come and decimate the whole family. So what does that have to do with him and him
and him? They have him at knifepoint. He's dying and his own dreams.
They slit his throat. And I'm wondering what does that have to do with being a werewolf? Well, other than the fact that he's just kind of going insane is what's happening exactly.
And on that note, Sal, the zombie Nazis lead us into which I've never seen this before. A double nightmare. Yes, you come out of the nightmare and he wakes up all of his family has been slain, including himself and then there's nurse price and then she opens a curtain and there's another zombie not Yeah, and he kills her it's like oh my god enough. So I mean really great moments of terror and wonderful job Landis on the double scare.
Okay, so have they done or have they not done double nightmare before and have they done double nightmare since I know they've done it since?
Oh, yeah, for sure. Since I don't think before he would have been gone crazy if you triple nightmare to us. This shuffle nightmare been too much.
I do I do find it interesting that Landis now I'm going to assume Landis is G We wish only for the fact that the Kessler family obviously Jewish there is a menorah up above the fireplace in this scene the zombie Nazis come in and destroy the family before that there was the inappropriate comment by the nurse about him being Jewish. Now you know more Landis more than I do does Landis put sort of a Jewish theme or Jewish element into his movies? Or did he just do it in this one? And then why did he just do it in this one?
That is a question for John Landis, because I do not have the answer for that. And I'm thinking of all of his other movies that I adore, from trading places to Animal House to Blues Brothers to coming to America, and I don't think it's a common theme I'll you know, elements here and there, but I'm not sure. You know, funny he doesn't look drew ish.
Well, you know,
it was a Spaceballs line there in case you didn't catch that. Wait, but
he didn't own that was Mel Brooks. Okay. No, I missed it. I forget lines. I told you I've sent them amnesia.
It's true. You do and tell the audience what cinema Asia is.
Cinema amnesia is a rare condition a non treatable condition, where the sufferer forgets movies, forgets franchises, forget sequels. Maybe the movies blend together. Maybe you'll watch a movie twice for God, you watched it the first time. Cinema amnesia is a real condition. And unfortunately, I suffer from cinema amnesia.
So when we do these podcasts, I'll have to literally watch the movie right before because we wait too long. We got nothing.
I have to watch the movie three times leading up to it. But since you mentioned he's watching it right now. Since you mentioned Blues Brothers Blues Brothers had the Gospel Church. So interesting thing about John Landis is him putting sort of religious elements into his film, which I think is an interesting choice. Yeah.
So then Jack visits David in the hospital for the first time. And this is such a great device, as we just kind of talked about briefly, but the makeup is incredible. Yeah, Rick Baker really at work here. And he's even at that one piece of skin that kind of just flaps a little bit, you know, as he's talking, and you're mesmerized by it, because you really believe, wow, this is pretty authentic. And he really bring some humor. And now you really get to know some of the exposition about he kind of tells David everything. Yeah, you know, you've got to die. The lineage dies with you. So now David knows he's not going crazy. Or maybe he is, you know, maybe this is part of David can't get away from things either sleeping are awake. So he probably really thinks he's gone crazy now.
Okay, so I think we, as the viewer have to ask ourselves, Is this really happening? Is he really is his dead friend really visiting him? Or is it just a figment of David's imagination?
Well, I think it's a figment of his imagination, but I think it's really happening to him.
I did pay attention. Jack disappears when he becomes a werewolf. Why would jack disappear when he becomes a werewolf? And the reason I say this is because Jack is able to reach into our dimension. Remember, he grabs a piece of toast and dips it into David's eggs at the hospital, he is able to interact in our world, therefore, possibly, Jack would literally be able to slay the world, Wolf, since he's in the room. Yeah, that's
an interesting point.
No, so I'm thinking and this is what leads me to believe then. Jack is a figment of David's imagination.
But he's not wrong with his advice. No, he's
absolutely right. See, because David knows this. David knows this in his subconscious. So therefore, he's created this element of his dead friend telling him what he already knows inside of his heart. I mean, you remember, David, as a wearable have killed these people. So he so he knows who he killed or you know who the people are, in a sense, so when they reappear later Oh, yeah, of course, I killed all these people. Whereas he thinks his friend is providing oh, here's the people that you killed. But no, I think, and we may come around later on at the end of the toward the end of the movie, but I do believe that dead Jack is imaginary. Okay,
so now we kind of see Alex nurse price, really have a thing for David. I mean, she's openly coming on to him and keeps telling him how attracted she is to him and all of this and, and so I would say, here's an attractive, you know, professional woman. Does she not have any other options?
Well, like she alludes to later, she doesn't take young American patients back to her flat, you know, so, I would imagine that a young American backpacker is a novelty for her. Right. And also I think that they try to do a thing Hang where she's supposed to be a little bit older. Now in real life when this movie was made, David not and was 30, he actually looked younger, but he was 30 are actually plays. Dr. Price was 29. So she was actually younger. But I think in the movie, she's meant to be a little bit older. We're getting into a little bit of a cougar here. A little bit of a MILF here. I mean, she's already established in her career, whereas David was a college student, right? So this is a little bit of a of a May December romance here. But the fun fact is it. David was actually a year older during this interesting.
And I guess she does allude to it as well, because she says it, but she finds him not only sexy, but a little bit sad. Yeah. And I think she wants to help nurture him. She knows that he has no one, he lost his best friend. And she's there for him, which cracks me up that they just dismiss him from the hospital. And she takes him in. If I'm David, I think my family would have left the states flown over the pond and come and seen me in the hospital.
Especially considering you were brutally attacked, and your best friend was killed.
Yeah, they've already had a funeral for his buddy. And no one's come over to see him or get him. And when he gets out of the hospital, his first thought isn't to go home and see the parents.
Yeah, that's true. So they're there, I think, okay, the truth is when you finish it,
I know, we need to keep him here. I get that that's the name of this movie. All right. He is an American Werewolf in London. But I'm shot, no one came to visit.
But if you go into the whole device of horror, you have to rely on our characters making bad choices in order to be in bad places for things to happen to them.
It's true. I just wish someone had said something like, You shouldn't travel for at least two more weeks. You know, we're going to check you out every week. You know what I mean? It wasn't a full dismissal. It was like you're still under our care. We just want to keep an eye on you. And just throw that out there for me. Sure. So I know. But I wouldn't explain why visitors didn't come to him, but I get it would make it clunky. Yeah, it would have messed the storyline up. But you know, maybe even speaking to his parents one time not just catching one of his siblings on the phone, but we'll get into that as we go through the beats here. So that leads to a pretty steamy shower. sexing. Oh, Sal.
That shower scene I think was so hot. I think there's fantastic chemistry with our two leads here. But also reminds me so much of my own life. When I was a young man, I was a personal trainer working at the gym. I befriended a nutritionist 10 years my senior. And we had a hot summer together her and I and we had a shower. Night. That reminds me so much of this scene, I'm telling you, I lived that shower scene when I was in my 20s just like a David Norton's character in this movie.
Wow. What was her name?
Her name was Deena Oh, our 20s and 30s. God loves them.
So this begs the question, though, Sal, could Alex be pregnant with a werewolf, thus extending the bloodline even further?
Well, I've seen some other movies recently, which led me to believe that when the male character is infected with something he can pass it along to his lover during the pregnancy, so I think it's entirely possible that I did actually think that there was open to a sequel with nurse Alex price actually being pregnant with David's baby.
And that's probably not the most common way that a werewolf gets passed forward. I mean, mainly it's like, you know, didn't kill someone but injured them clawed them bit them and they became a werewolf. So this would be a way that I don't recall ever seen before in other movies. Sure, this device has been there. But I've never seen it like this. So but I'm assuming it's in his DNA now. So it could essentially be passed on
right way to say it. You're saying that you've seen movies where? Werewolf?
No, not werewolf movie. Okay. Other movies where it was passed on?
I see. Okay, sure.
But I'm just thinking, Is it possible? Well, sure. Anything's possible. It's all make believe anyway. So why wouldn't she be pregnant with his child? It's not like he's not aware of it doesn't have to be aware of woof and the moment of conception. It's already in him. Yeah. Right. So I stand to believe if I'm Alex, and if she did conceive that night,
it creates another element that they didn't visit, nor have now it's entirely possible. No one had thought of it at that time. But yeah, he was a werewolf and he did have sex. It's an tirely possible, he could have impregnated her, but I guess they didn't want to visit that.
And I didn't see any Trojans on the nightstand or anything like that. No.
And I also find it interesting. All their lovemaking. Not once did they do doggy style, you think that they would have?
You would have thought you would have? It would have just made
Yeah. And he would have held or she or they could have held in unison. Now we have Jack's next appearance and Sal, it's classic. This is now often replicated again. But it's the bathroom mirror trick.
Yeah, well, because they I think that it's a little bit a jar, the the medicine cabinet is a little bit of jar. And then David pushes it just to close it. And then it reveals jack there and all his Grimsley corpse. See, definitely.
It makes you jump. It's a great moment. And then you see Jack and he's, he's decaying, even more so from his first visit.
Yeah, I liked that. I liked that he's decaying. Yeah, as a matter of fact, recently, they tease that a toy convention, action figures based on the American Werewolf in London. And we were excited to see Jack and David. They're in action figure form. And we see them as they look at the beginning of the movie nice and clean arriving at the slaughtered lamb pub. But I think it would have been cool because sometimes with these action figures, they give you multiple heads. If they would have had sort of a decaying series of heads with the jack action figure would have been perfect. Now I like that. I think it would have been great. It would have fit into action figure form today. The problem is these action figures never came out. But we did see I believe it was a bout 1015 years ago did release American Werewolf in London action figure, but it was specifically one of those Nazi Zombie creeps, that does the home invasion. And I'm thinking of all the toys to make from the movie. That's the one that they made. That's hilarious.
They might as well this time, David siblings. Yeah, let's say yeah, okay. These are nondescript people from the movie. None of the Nazis a cool character. But I would have started with, you know, David and Jack and the werewolf. Yeah, right. How about that start there. You know, maybe there's a doctor, nurse price would have been nice, maybe a little shower, seeing, you know, clothing optional for those figures. So now we have Dr. Hirsch. And he's off investigating in our because he's taken this information and things aren't computing, David's having some probably some things he's never seen before. So Dr. Hirsch is off to go to the slaughtered lamb. And it's a really interesting sequence because he's kind of poking the bear. And what's going on when this is happening?
I see. This is one of the reasons why I like Dr. Hirsch, because probably because it reminds me of myself. He's a doctor, but he he's kind of being a detective here. Yeah, he's going beyond his realm, right? Because he could have told police, they could have maybe sent a text as well. We saw these two Bumbly detectives, these detectives,
they didn't have that same with the cops come to him. Right. Yeah, they're like the Keystone Cops.
That scene. Okay, this is where we see horror with comedy. But that scene where that guy, Inspector clues Oh, is who this guy is. And so that reminded me of Clue so.
And Detective sidekick just runs into things. Oh, yeah.
Fantastic. So I love how Dr. Hirsch goes outside of his job description becomes a detective, to go investigate and find the truth of what's really happening, because, and it's not that he's necessarily believes in supernatural. But he sees things don't add up. And that's kind of how I think, you know, you look at all your information you go, these things aren't connecting here. So it's not about you believing in spooks, but then don't things don't add up.
So he goes and talks to a lot of bars less packed, because people are probably working. But the guy telling the funny story. And the dark player are there. Yeah, of course, it's raining. And he's in there for a while he sees them playing chess. And he goes outside to leave and he talks to the guy, the dark player who's trying to share something, you know, he's, you can tell he's burdened by the secret. And then the joke teller comes out and basically says don't use anything and kind of shuts him up and the doctor then goes, something happened here. Not quite sure what but it definitely traumatized David, and there's more to this story.
You can tell that that dark player wanted to spill his guts. Yeah, he wanted to spill his guts to somebody and think having the doctor came could have been somebody else maybe if it weren't for the doctor. But the interesting thing about the darts is so there's a lot of darts there at the slaughtered lamb. Later on. David is watching television, and there's some darts plank, so I'm wondering if Does John Landis have some sort of affinity for darts? No, but
the Brits do. Do that.
Is that where darts darts
is a big deal? Okay. Oh my gosh, yeah. Pubs have real darts and misses before they had those crazy trivia games in the 80s. And 90s. Yes. So darts are just more of a gentleman's game, if you will. So I love the sequence that happens next is David gets locked out of the apartment because he's staying with Alex and she's going to work so he's just gonna stay around. He gets locked out. And so this cat that's on the ledge that sees him. That sense is, something's wrong with Dave. Oh, you're not a normal person. That cat deserves some sort of Award for acting.
This cat. Yeah, hisses. And I don't know how you make a cat hits on cue. In fact, I have seen a cat circus. There's a cat circus that travels around town called the acro cats. Believe me, they're lucky to get a cat to climb into a cat tree. How do you make a cat his I don't know. But also bread before the cat is fantastic is the cat was were those two little girls, I think I think are credited as like creepy girls, reminiscent of the two little girls from The Shining, just sort of a creepy Omen coming toward you.
But happier, they at least smiled and laugh.
These girls were laughing that their dog was barking at this strange man.
So immediately animals and they have a sixth sense. We know are picking up on David's vibes. He's not what he appears to be.
What because he's not just some sort of man animal hybrid, because it's one thing to be part animal. But when he becomes an animal completely, he is a vicious killer. Yeah. And that's one thing. If you think about werewolves, whether they be The Wolf Man or the howling or American Werewolf in London, these werewolves only have one thing in their mind. And that is kill. Right? They're not they're not like becoming our werewolf and then hanging out.
That's when they eat David's never hungry. So that's it. It's killing. It's eating. You're absolutely right. It's kind of like a vampire.
Yeah, there's only one thing on your mind. You don't hang out with a werewolf.
No, vampires can just play it off and be a human and human clothing. They're very methodical about their kill.
I think that a vampire can kind of decide when they transform when the fangs it's up to you. A werewolf a person under the Lycanthrope curse has absolutely no control. You can't decide when you become a werewolf.
So I like this whole sequence though, when he gets back in the apartment, because he's just bored to death. And it's just such a great sequence. He's gone to the refrigerator. I'm not even hungry. He's going around the apartment. And that's a guy that's stir crazy in a way because his body's changing. He's got nothing to occupy him. It's just a really well acted well conceived same. And I just I loved it.
I also enjoyed some of the television he was watching not only the darts, which I mentioned earlier, but that naughty Nina what what the hell? What was that? I'm thinking like, yeah, like, Why is this here? In its entirety? Like we saw the whole production of this naughty Nina gossip tabloid commercial. What was the point of this? Like, why is John Landis just messing with our heads for this commercial?
I don't know. It's funny. Oh, and I forgot to bring up during the Nazi dream. On the TV. David and the family are watching them up at show. Yep. And that's where we see Miss Piggy, which was voiced by Frank Oz. Who is me earlier saying so and the credits it does say Frank Oz, Mr. Collins, slash Miss Piggy. So now this leads up to this incredible, iconic scene that literally comes out of nowhere. You got Van Morrison playing Moon dance, and this lit up apartment. David's transformation happens.
Yeah, and it does not happen during Bad Moon Rising. I think that there's sort of something in the American consciousness, where we think that he transforms during Bad Moon Rising, but it's not Bad Moon Rising that is playing when he transforms.
Now it's this real subtle, beautiful song. So it's catching you out of nowhere. This movie has a lot of those moments. And what I've read about what John Lennon had to say about this was he wanted to show how having your body transformed would be painful. And he was driven by that and wanted to show that it's excruciating pain. And he did it in a very lit place not in the shadows, like all the movies beforehand, done. They kind of hid it in the shadows in the dark and you see a little bit of this and that like you did in the original werewolf. know it's there for you to see. And it's mesmerizing. So
you Yeah, and we also get to see, like you said how painful it is to become a wearable of contrasting Edie from the howling, who got off on becoming a werewolf. He liked it. So this shows how painful it is almost reminiscent of growing pains. Like they talk about little babies, right? Growing Pains, like your body is actually in pain from growing, so I can see that word. So here he is having Growing Pains over a five minute period, as he becomes this beast. Yeah, right in the middle of living room. Yeah, not in the alley, right in the middle living room. And the thing I did wonder, though, is once he becomes this beast in from this iconic scene, which to me becomes the standard and template for all transformation and metamorphosis scenes in horror movies. This is the template as far as I'm concerned. One thing I'm wondering is, how does he get out of this apartment?
I know I thought about that too. Well, he kept opening up the door a lot, because the way they set it up was besides his boredom, and maybe his mind was racing, he started to get really hot. Yes. And he couldn't cool off. And you know, his pie burning up inside. So that's when it's kind of fair. And it was a full moon. Let's be fair. It was, I guess the first of back to back days where it's a full moon. And I thought this very same thing, because nothing was broken or a jar later. But the door could have been open,
the apartment door was open. It was a jar, the the main door, the main building door, I think is usually closed. But I did think as he's going through the metamorphosis, and screaming in agony if someone could have come in and don't any neighbors hear any of this so so I'm just wondering where the neighbors are. So there was a little a couple of little holes, I think and where, well, where are the neighbors weren't there here in the screaming and then once it becomes a beast, how does he get out of the apartment? So those are the only little things but I'm willing to overlook those little tiny things.
If someone didn't say, Hey, Alex, there was a lot of screaming in your apartment last night I came down and there was a huge werewolf changing. That didn't happen. Yeah, yeah, you're right.
He was there was this world wolf scratching at the door. So I opened the door.
I didn't know you had a dog, but I hope he's okay. Yeah, exactly. So this leads to night of terror. I mean, this is it besides the next night, which we'll get to. This is night, one of two nights of David turned into a werewolf and terrorizing London. And this leads to another, in my opinion, incredible scene in this movie. It's the London Underground tube, if you will. And you can see this guy running through the tube. It's like a Steadicam shot you're running. You know, it's the werewolf. You don't see the werewolf until he's on the escalator going up and the werewolf for the first time. We see him walk into frame. And so I have rewound that scene over and over again, because I'm blown away by that shot.
Yeah, because it falls into the category of contrasts or dichotomies, because if you're in the tube, or let's say the LA Metro, well, okay, I might get mugged or jumped, right? I'm not gonna get attacked by a creature, you're not thinking that. So here's this four legged creature in an urban environment. So it just completely out of left field. And it's such a contrast there. And yeah, I did like those moments where you're looking from the POV from the werewolf. Recently, when I saw it for this last time today, when he's coming in, you see it from the from the top part of the screen, slowly coming in from the top part of it. Oh,
and stopping. Yeah, because obviously, they didn't have this wearable of so functioning much like the shark in Jaws, which you talked about earlier. Not only they're not show it too much, I probably wasn't always working at full capacity, meaning they didn't have an animal that could run around on all four. So they were real deliberate in their moment, but they just showed you enough to think wow, that was it. It's massive. And it was so menacing the way it came into frame there. Obviously then we're watching the man, his POV, and it's this the camera and it's on top of him. That's all you need. Our minds fill in the rest.
I was just gonna say I was very disappointed in this guy, though. Because first is getting the candy bar. Then he gets the scare. Then he starts to walk quickly. Then he starts to run and we're thinking, okay, he's running. And then he just kind of collapses on the escalator, like into a hammer tried
to get up again. You're right. No,
it's like he was he was overcome with fear. Is that what it was? But yeah, he's Why did he stop running? I'm thinking that it's entirely possible. He could have gotten away from the I mean, we don't know how the werewolf will handle an escalator. So it's it's entirely possible that he could have gotten away.
I think by that moment in time, he was fearful, mesmerised and yeah, maybe hurt his ankle.
And I did want to know, why did he ditch The umbrella which could be somewhat of a weapon, and then it keeps the briefcase What the hell is in the briefcase. It's so valuable.
And what time is it that he's the only person in the tube?
Yeah, there's no one else around not even the punk rockers. Nobody.
No, no. I've actually written the too many times, and I was never the only person there. Now I've been in New York subway late at night before where I was the only person and that's kind of creepy. Yeah, I
would not want to be alone in the subway system in any place on Earth.
Okay, so I love how we leave this intense moment. And we cut to David naked at the zoo.
He had to do a few nude scenes in this movie. I gotta hand it to him. This this movie makes me want to see some of David Norton's previous work well, wouldn't it David not and work on before this movie? Because he does some real risque scenes. I mean, you pretty much see his pubic hair. In fact, I if I would have paused it I probably would have seen is his penis in the willst enclosure.
Yeah, I mean, he will see his penis RSPB care and the Dr. Pepper commercials that he used to do
that I can assure wouldn't you want to be a pepper to Dr. Pepper was after this or before this.
I'm assuming that's what got him this gig. But I could be wrong. I haven't looked that up. But anyway, I like that we wake up here he's naked. And you're right. He's naked a few times in this movie. But it's a great sequence because he's not just at the zoo. He's in the wolves den. Yeah. And these wolves have a real sense of respect for him. Unlike the barking dog and the hissing cat. They saw him I'm assuming come into this dwelling as a werewolf which was fascinating to me to know that the werewolf would find refuge with the wolves here at the zoo. And they lay down together all night. And when he woke up as a human, these wolves still have a sense about him. I thought that was fascinating.
Yeah, you know what? Interesting, I hadn't thought about it that deeply. But we're getting into the pack mentality, the pack animal mentality. And I believe that then David's werewolf would have went into that wolves den as the alpha and tame I'll absolutely tame the other wolves spent the night with them. And they still respect him in the morning.
Very much so very much. So. I thought it was a great sequence. I also have an incredible white German shepherd named Nico. Yeah, who looks very wolf like, Well, I mean, he is huge. And he looks like a wolf. So anytime I see a wolf of any type in a movie or in real life, I get excited. And yeah, I could see the expression on their face like, wow, yeah, that's one of us, which was good acting by the wolves. Because Stephen not turns out. So that had to be kind of scary for him as a as an actor. You're going to be naked in this cage with two wild wolves. So here we go. Yeah. But you know, that was a good moment. And then that leads to yet another humorous scene because he's a naked guy, zoo. And he becomes a balloon and a co thief, and a hilarious sequence.
Oh, yeah. And that scene with the little boy. And the little boys is one of those little schoolboy uniform. I mean, look, I'm an American. I grew up in America. What do I know about England? Not much, but I do know that the guitarist from AC DC dresses like a British schoolboy, or like some of the characters in Pink Floyd's The wall. And that's how this little boy lived. He was wearing a little British schoolboy uniform. And then David notton pops out of the bushes and steals his balloons. And then I love that scene with a little boy goes to his mother. A naked American stole my balloons. I love that. I do not do a
British accent. I think it was more like a naked American man just stole my balloons. That was good. And his mom. She's like, What? It makes me laugh every time I see it. Yeah, it is. It's amazing. And that is Landis this point. You know, you're It's a horror movie. And as a moment of relief when they bring in some humor. Yeah. And they do a great job of that because you don't even need that scene in the movie. But just to have it. It lets us breathe. Yeah, you know, like, oh, okay, who? And it's a bigger laugh because you're so tense from this movie. So now David knows something's wrong with them. He's trying to tell Alex like they're in the cab and he hears that there's been six murders a night before and David just knows that he woke up at the zoo. Why? He tries to confess He's a murderer. Yeah. And London when you confess to being a murderer. They just tell you to move along.
Yeah, this this shows you how difficult it is to become arrested by a London Bobby. Right in the early 80s. Like like these guys, they don't want to arrest you. They will do everything to not arrest you. So here he is insulting the Queen, insulting Western Churchill and assaulting Prince Charles. He just desecrates the entire British Empire. And nothing. They're like, yeah. Move along, sir. Move along, sir. Here. Give me a better one. Give me a better accent. Look, the only British accent I can do. Is this. Ready? Here we go. Good day. God. That's it. That's it. That's all I got. That's
a cartoon character. I like that. Move along. Nothing to see here, folks. Nothing to see here. That's pretty good. He can't even confess to him. Alex doesn't know what's going on with David. So what do you do? So in this moment, what does he do? Of course, he proclaims His love to Alex.
Yeah, amid this horror movie with elements of comedy, is a love story. A real sweet love story with this MILFy nurse who falls for this young, quirky American who suffered a tragedy? And yeah, you follow along there. It's a quick love affair. By the way, again, if I didn't say this earlier, tremendous chemistry with these two, tremendous chemistry. I mean, you know, you watch movies, and they show you the love seeing you're like, I don't get it. I don't buy it. Exactly. No. Oh, my God. Totally buy it totally buy in the chemistry with these two. So yeah, he he professes his love, because he knows he may not have many opportunities to say that again.
So this leads to him calling home because he just knows, like you said, Something's not right with him. So he calls home. And
yet David is in one of those old fashioned British phone booths, calls the operator asked to call on distance and reverse the charges, which means that the recipient, it's kind of like a collect call. Yeah, if you're if you're away, are we dating ourselves? If you remember what a collect call means is when you get on the phone, and you call somebody and they take the charges, the person you're calling takes the charges. So that's sort of a reverse the charges Meaning I'm not going to deposit money,
but sometimes you would call collect, and you would make something up so your parents would be clued into come pick you up for something.
Oh, yes, yes, yes. Or you have a collect call from? I'll be there at nine. Yeah, I remember that. I remember. So So he calls and I made it a point to acknowledge the area code. He said 516. And I do see that that is a New York area code. So that's where he's from, I guess, originally, do we know that originally that he was from New York? Or do we just know,
it was but I think the area code probably gave it away.
So he calls home reaches the little sister. parents aren't around a nice sentimental scene where he tells her that he loves her tells the family that he loves them. Because yeah, he doesn't know how much longer he's going to be around. So it's sort of a goodbye. So goodbye in a phone booth calling back to America. Yeah, kind of kind of sad. I mean, look, you know, this, this movie doesn't end on a happy note. And we're already seeing that our main character is saying goodbye to his family. After his friend died. Yeah, he's uh, he gets a little bit of lovin from this beautiful British nurse. But yeah, he's not on a road with a a nice finish. He doesn't know
if he's crazy. Or if he's living a double life, he doesn't know what's going on. So what do you do? So, to clear your head, what does one do in the 80s? But of course, you go to a porn theater.
Now. Wait, hang on, hang on, hang on, you gotta let David off the hook here. He did not just go into a porn theater. He comes out of the phone booth looks across the street and sees jack there in his dilapidated decomposition. Standing outside the porn theater, beckoning him in now, by the way, I just want to say this, just as a fun fact. I myself have once visited a porn theater. There used to be a place on Western in LA right off the 101 freeway. And this going back about probably 1520 years. And you know, I had heard of porn theaters I've seen passed by I said, I'm going to visit a porn theater. I want to see I'm all about trying anything once. So I went to the porn theater. And I don't recommend this sort of a, an icky vibe in the place. And I think that this movie portrayed that well, like, first of all, you feel judged by the person you buy the tickets from right away.
Exactly. And Jack at this point in time is almost completely decomposed. I mean, he looks like they just dug him up out of the grave.
Well, at this point, we don't even deal with an actor anymore at this point. It's animatronics, right.
Yeah, it shows more of the incredible work by Rick Baker. Yeah, you know, every time we've seen Jack, that was three times. It's more impressive than the last. And there's a hilarious moment and the porno itself this guy and a girl are making out they're not having sex, Sal. They're making out girls topless, if I'm not mistaken. Yes, yes, yes. And then bigger guy kind of a hunky guy come I'm not naked either. But he says what you do, and he told me never do anything like this again. And this little scrawny guy says, I never told you I wouldn't do this again. And then he was like, not you her. And then the girl looks up and she's like, Oh, I don't even know you. Oh, I'm sorry. And he dismisses himself. I was crying. Well, I watched the scenes. That scene
was hilarious. And this is amazing. Landis will give us things that have absolutely zero to do with the movie itself, zero to do with the plot. And yet he goes, here you go.
And it catches you off guard in such a way that it's fun. It heightens the the humor for sure the state that we're in, because we've gone from, oh, my gosh, what's happening anytime Jack's around this. And then it's like, a last thing you expected to do is laugh at the screen. But oh, my gosh, it was so funny. And I hope I did a little bit of justice for it. But Jack does something pretty interesting, because he introduces all of David's kills. Yeah. And they're all pretty much encouraging David to kill himself.
Yeah, imagine that. I mean, especially today, coming in from a 2020 mindset, having all these dead people that you've killed, telling you to kill yourself. Holy cow, I think I just might kill myself.
And Jack is, as he's done all along, and he's encouraged him to kill himself, but in a nice way. He's still his friend. And he wants him to do it in a respectful, non painful way. And he's defending him against them, like, not be too much. He's still my friend. We've never seen this kind of scene before or sense. No, it's really unique filmmaking.
Yeah, I like storytelling. They tell him how about hanging yourself and then jack in his decomposed state, no, no, no, that might hurt too much. You'll choke to death. Like he doesn't want his friend to suffer. Like he wants his friend to kill himself. Yes, but he doesn't want his friend to have to suffer to kill himself. So he's still a loving friend.
So they can all die because they're all essentially undead. Well, yeah,
because what happens is all these people, Jack, and these other victims that are now in this porno theater, are all in this state of limbo. They're the Walking Dead, where they're not in heaven. They're not in Hell, they're not completely dead, they cannot be at peace. As long as the werewolf curse continues. David needs to die for them to move on to the next realm.
The reason Jackson Lee went so decomposed is because he died weeks and weeks ago, they all just died last night. Yeah,
yeah, they're fresh.
And that's why I know they're not physically there. They unlike Jack, Jack was flown back to the States for a funeral. Yeah, and their bodies are probably all the more being in bombed now. So that's where they physically are. But I believe their subconscious level is in this dream state with our protagonist, David. And so I don't physically think they're there as the Usher comes up to him. He doesn't see any of these other people. Right, David's alone, but he sees them. He's having a conversation with them. And it's a really interesting sequence, I would say, and, and that leads to the Usher coming over and David starting to get the sweats because it's another full moon. And I love that the movie reframed in a way, and we have another transformation, but it's very abbreviated. Couple of quick shots. We've already seen it, we've lived it. We don't need to see it all again, and diminish how amazing the first time was. But he's changing right then and there. And he's trying to tell the Usher who's coming around, I guess for a tick. I don't know what that guy's do. Because the shins we always use this as a train. You've already paid your money. But maybe in that day, they would go by your check your seats later. And Dave is trying to tell him, just get away get away.
If I were an usher in a porn theater. Well, first of all, the cost of being an usher in a porn theater is hilarious. But if I were an usher in a porn theater, and I approached a guy, and he is writhing back and forth in his seat, and he's sweating, and he says to me, get away. I am getting the hell away.
You wouldn't say Excuse me, sir, can I say your ticket?
Can I see your ticket governor?
Come back in a moment.
Here's why I believe that Jack is a figment of David's imagination. Because in the theater, there's everybody. There's all the recent victims. There's David, there's Jack. And by the way, thanks for mentioning that Jack was actually in America. His body is in America. I hadn't thought about that. But yeah, his body was in the States already. So that makes it even more interesting that he's now back in Piccadilly Circus. When David begins his transformation, everybody's gone. Okay, if if they were real meaning they were not a figment of his imagination, why do they leave? Why did they disappear? Why does everybody disappear when he becomes a werewolf?
Because I think when he is a werewolf, he's not. He's no longer David and you can't have a rational conversation with him. So he they just fade out. It's when he is in that weird state. You know,
it's like the in between. It's like, it's like an in between state. Yeah, I
just think it's at certain time, once you're aware of he's no longer David. He can't even remember what he did. Yeah, they didn't present that they could have. Yeah, you're right. And maybe they could have tried to kill him. But besides, Jack's grabbing the toast that time none of them ever tried to cross over the world. Like you had said earlier. Yeah. So yeah, they're not all teaming up to kill him. I don't think they have any strength. They're just kind of they're they're just kind of beans, offering encouragement to kill himself. That's about all they do.
Yeah, yeah. With smiles on their faces. And I liked that one was one of the hobo guys, when Jack's like, he's my friend. And then the hobo is guys like, why he's not no friend to me.
Exactly. Exactly. Now, we're at London's famous Piccadilly Circus. And let me just say this now, when I used to run the London United Film Festival, it took place at Leicester Square, which is very close to Piccadilly Circus. And we were at the Prince Charles theatre over there playing our movies. And I know that's one festival you never got to come to. But it was amazing. And I would walk around Piccadilly Circus and think, Wow, this is where they shot American Werewolf in London.
Did you see the location of where the porn theater was?
Well, it's harder to tell. It's like going to New York. Now. It's like watching taxi driver, and there's porn theaters everywhere and then go on to New York and trying to spot them. So no, it's very different. Now. It's more whitewashed. You don't see porn theaters there. Okay, because that'll be our restaurant now.
Because that porn theater that I mentioned that I visited in Los Angeles off of Western in the 101. That porn theater today is the church.
I know exactly what you're talking about. I've seen that church. Yeah. So no, it's not there. But I just inside knew that that's what they went around and all the sequence, which leads to this incredible scene. So the werewolf comes turn out of the theater killed that Usher, by the way,
oh, hang on, hang on. As, as he comes out of the theater kills the cop kills the Detect cop,
that attack comes up. They're trying to board you know, pour those gates down and keep the trouble inside. And it comes tearing through and bites off the detectives head. Oh, and then just chaos ensues. I mean, you've got quick cuts, too, which really leads to the pace and you have double decker buses spinning out of control, cars, crashing, people getting run over. And all this while the werewolf is just running around, you know, terrorizing the city. It's a great sequence.
You know what, though, but at this moment in time as the werewolf is there on the street, and the cars are swerving and crashing, and yeah, horrible things are happening, people are flying through windshields. At that moment, though. I have sympathy for this. Wolf that is effectively at this moment, an animal. So to me, I'm seeing an animal in the street, freaking out, the animal is freaking out. Sure the people are freaking out, but the animal is freaking out. So at that moment in time, there's this little brief moment from when he busts out of the porn theater to when he's finally cornered in the alley, where I'm feeling sorry for this wolf. And he's almost not even David at this moment. He's just this poor dog that's in the city, almost being hit by cars, and he is flipped out. So I have a lot of I have a lot of sympathy for the werewolf in this moment and in Piccadilly Circus.
I couldn't agree more. I'm a huge lover of animals, all creatures, great and small and particular dogs. And most dogs are probably 99%. Wolf anyway. So yeah, I'm very sympathetic for the wolf at this point in time. And we should also say why this is going on. And just right before the doctor, one of my favorite characters has gotten back to the hospital always looking to fine, Alex, because he knows something's a mess. And then he hears of this chaos, and they both just know, it's David, something's going on. So the nurse price is booking into Piccadilly Circus to try to get there.
So they don't know or think that he's literally becoming an animal. Nobody's gone crazy. Yeah, they just think that he's flipping out. So it's like, Oh, my God, this young American that was just went through this trauma. He's now in London flipping out. So that's what they're expecting to see. They're just expecting to see this young American flipped out. They're not expecting to see a wolf.
No, they have not heard of any wolf Saudis. Anyone that saw the wolf the night before is dead. Yeah. And this is the first time people live arrived to tell what they saw. Yeah. Which we don't follow that storyline. But people have said no, I swear to you it was a wolf that went crazy in here as a werewolf. It was this huge Wolf. So finally, we don't get that the movie ends really abruptly. And rightfully so in a great way. It didn't just drag on. And so now the wolf is run down this dead end street, I guess.
Yeah, one of his pen den. Yeah, one of the Bobby's says something like, that is a dead end. So he everybody knows that that wolf is stuck into a dead end alley.
And gunmen are lining up, but nurse price runs down there in front of other people just because she wants to reason with it. She doesn't know what he is, at this point in time. She's not seeing him as a wolf. Yeah, she assumes Dave is down there a lot of his mind. And we see the wolf. He's kind of hidden. And do you think at this point in time, I mean, honestly. So I think that he was going to kill her. I don't think David is in his rightful mind when he's the wolf, as we've talked about. But what do you think?
Well, I think when someone becomes a wolf, or if someone did go back into other supernatural phenomena, if someone were possessed by a demon or whatever, there's still a party there. So remember when she's there, and it's just her and David, one on one at the edge of the alley at the dead end. And she says, I love you. We see a change in David's expression in the wolf's expression. We see him acknowledge the receipt of her saying, I love you.
Yeah, that's a good point.
I mean, and I'm like, Yeah, you're right. I'm a human being. And I can barely handle when somebody says they love me, let alone if I'm an animal trapped in an alley, but we see the expression, his eyes, do a little shift, just enough where we see that he acknowledged her statement, but not enough to overcome the inner beast. And then he goes to strike. And that's when they shoot.
Yeah, that's a good point. I saw it in his eyes, too. But it was only a moment, because then he growls and he starts to lurch and he's lit up. Now, my only question on that Sal is, here's a rare creature that we've never seen or heard from before. Wouldn't they try to capture it? No tranquilizer guns, nothing. Like here's something that's never happened before. But nope, this blonde boy.
Yeah, I think they just wrote it off as being some wild dog or Black Wolf. I don't think that they saw it as any sort of crypto zoological phenomenon right before their eyes. Yeah, they just saw it as some sort of wild dog or rabid Wolf. I don't think that they saw it as any sort of specimen that they could take back especially. We do know that when you shoot one of these werewolves, they just go back to being their human form. Again, just like we saw on the Moors. And now we see in the alley with David rest in peace. Very sad ending though, I
think. But it's amazing how fast it happens. It progresses immediate immediately.
Yeah, it's instantaneous. As soon as a werewolf is killed, they immediately go back into their human form.
So then, as soon as he dies, boom, one more version of blue moon.
What this is one of my personal favorite versions. You had the slower one the more romantic one. But then you have this one at the very end. Baba Baba dang dang dang dang Dang day Blue Moon Blue Moon Blue Moon did dip dip dip blue, blue, blue blue moon did the Ebola Bob. Dag, DAG, DAG, DAG, a dog dag Blue Moon.
Very good. And I loved it. And you're right. It allowed us to have another moment of we're in shock. We're grieving. We're sad. We're sad for Alex. I'm sure the doctor shows up. They have an exchange. They get to the bottom of what he really was. He was aware of woof. But yet Landis gives us a great song. And we're out 90 minutes. Boom. Amazing. Yeah, fantastic. So I probably would have meandered around and some of his would have said nine months later and she's not some of us who had a hung around there longer. But man he didn't do that. It was breakneck speed and I loved it for that reason. And makes you want to watch it again. The whole pacing was fast, so you couldn't just meander?
No, yeah, it makes me want to revisit some Atlantis movies more because the way that he approaches this movie, bam, there we are in England. Bam, there he is dead. It's like it took us on this ride in and out. It's like is that whole is movies are diseases like bam, here we are in that at the end. Boom, there we are.
Well, first of all, you should absolutely revisit his movies. They're incredible. And I don't know if that's always the case, but the pacing is always right for the story.
Hang on. Okay, so the difference between movies that Landis writes and directs versus movies that maybe he just directs. Obviously, if you're just directing, you don't have as much as if you wrote it also. So what other movies has Landis Written and Directed besides this one?
So he didn't write all of his movies, you know, some of my favorites, like Trading Places or coming to America or animal house, he did write the Blues Brothers. He also wrote his scene that was in The Twilight Zone movie, which is very controversial, for sure, lots of reasons. He wrote the Michael Jackson Thriller video. So he also wrote schlock, his first movie came out in 73. But he didn't write them all. But still, his movies all had incredible pacing. I always thought they were what they needed to be trading places, to me is another perfect movie. And it's not breakneck speed, but there's not a lot of excess in it. And that's what I love about his films. And he's a master craftsman. And this movie, though, I'm telling you, you could watch it all the time and be sucked right in. And there's no fat in there. You know, you're not going to I know this wouldn't make it today, because you almost want more. I could see them in New York. Yeah, that I'd love to see that. See now, but it's not necessary. You know, I'd love to see another sexy with him and nurse price, but it's not necessary. But I'd rather leave an audience wanting more. And I'm sure this is his thinking than saying, oh, you know, okay, okay, I've seen it.
Well, you know, another cool thing about this movie is when we look at it from our eyes today, from the 2020 eyes and mindset, we look back on a movie that came out in 81. And everyone's still alive, which I think is pretty cool. You know, you look at a lot of movies from the 80s. And you're gonna go on to IMDb, look at the director, look at the writer, look at the main stars, and there's going to be some deaths. But I do think it's fun and interesting that everybody in this movie, the doctor, the nurse, the two guys, the director, the writer, all still alive.
Well, there you have it. So here's a little bit of trivia that I have, I'll throw out and share with the listener and yourself. In order to get the movie in our rating. Landis had to tone down the sex scene and cut out apart or a piece of toast fell out of Jack's undead throat. Oh, really interesting, which would have been very good test. And that one thing that we've talked about, yes, yes. So edited that down. And he also edited out a scene where the werewolf kills the three homeless men. After preview, audiences freaked out, and I read that Landis regrets cutting that particular sequence of killing the three men.
Interesting. It wasn't does that imply that there are these scenes that have never been released? Like the three homeless guys being killed?
So yeah, that begs the question, where's that footage? And can we see it another question? For Landis?
Can we see it? Yes, I want to see it. And I also want to see the sex scenes that were deleted now that you mentioned it. And now that I look through what limited knowledge I have of John Landis. I think he does have a sexual element to some of his movies like if you remember, Animal House, in Animal House. bluedot is literally jacking off on the ladder outside of the sorority house. So a ladder Yeah, yeah. So John Landis is not afraid to push the envelope as far as sexuality. And this goes back to again. My mom took me to all the inappropriate movies when I was a little boy. And I saw this movie when I was like, eight. I should not have, but I did.
What can you do? And look how you turned out? Yeah, yeah, I
turned out okay. Turn. Okay.
So I'd also read that there hadn't been a film shot and Piccadilly Circus in like 15 years. But due to the success of the Blues Brothers, the city or the council, or whomever made the decision, granted John Landis that time to shoot there, and it was only a few minutes. They had like, I think it was three different intervals of one or two minutes. And that's why that sequence looks and feels the way it does. I mean, much like Jaws that had all these issues with a shark and they had to invent things with the yellow barrels and the that represented the shark, Lana's only out a few minutes, which makes him probably think how you do that scene. And you can see it you feel how wild and chaotic that sequence is probably because we only had a couple of minutes to do it.
Well, what's interesting is that you made that choice then to really be authentic and filming at Piccadilly Circus because you could have recreated that on some studio backlot had more time and breathing room, but instead you wanted to be authentic and actually film it at the actual place.
Right? Well, maybe it became Piccadilly Circus because they got permission. We don't know. But yeah, authentic. It was because it was exactly where he said it was going to be. But I have to ask John Landis if that was, if it was always Piccadilly Circus in his script. Perhaps it was Leicester Square.
Well, I think that porn when I say porn, I mean public porn as far as porn theaters used to be a bigger thing than they are today prior to the internet. You had more public porn theaters whether it be in LA New York or England. I don't think you have as many porn theaters out there today.
Yeah, we think not. I think all these cities got whitewashed and people can porn in the privacy of their own home now.
I mean, not me. I don't look at porn, but you know other other people. Other guys. Yeah,
exactly. Well, once Paul Reubens aka Pee Wee Herman got caught in the porn theater. It became very taboo to go see porn in public.
Yeah, Paul Rubens ruined it for everybody by getting caught. And also since we're talking Fred Willard, if you remember, also had, I've met Fred Willard. Yeah, he also had a porn theater incident, probably about 10 years.
That's exactly right. I remember reading about that. So yeah, good things don't happen in porn theaters, especially if your celebrated person or very recognizable. Porn houses aren't. They don't have the cachet they once had. So I would say. So one other fun fact, in this sequence in Piccadilly Circus is John Landis himself played a pedestrian slash stuntman, and was struck by a car that's going into a building in that whole sequence.
So do we actually see in the frame we actually see Landis?
Absolutely, really, he did us a lot. He was in one of his movies into the night with Jeff Goldblum and Michelle Pfeiffer. Yes, he played kind of a gangster. But his gangster role also had a lot of stunts. So yeah, he was known for that back in the day. So yeah, you see him he's got like a bandana on and I can spot him immediately off the show you later but it's a great sequence.
Interesting. I like that I actually am a fan of when directors give themselves a little it goes back to the Alfred Hitchcock thing. When directors give themselves a little cameo or little walk on or little extra roll. I actually liked that a lot.
Yeah, I do too. So wow, this is also a stunt man. It's kind of like a really cool scene. You know, not everyone wants to get hit by a moving car. But yeah, it's a great moment. So this other bit of trivia we've already talked about so cats out of the bag, but it was due to the film success that Michael Jackson himself hired John Landis to direct the infamous Thriller video, which to this day was such an iconic moment. I remember vividly watching the world premiere of it and checking my calculator, watch putting the stopwatch on so I can time it because it was supposed to be the longest video and it was like 14 minutes. Yeah. And it was remarkable. And that was John Landis, who also hired Rick Baker to do the special effects.
Now what did you watch that premiere on? Because out here in Los Angeles at that time, the premiere of thriller was on Friday night videos. What did you watch it on out there and Okay, TV.
We were one of the early markets for MTV, I guess Tulsa, Oklahoma was a good testing ground, I think for a lot of things. And we got MTV very early. And I that's why the Dire Straits song. I want my MTV. A lot of people across the country were encouraged to call their local cable providers to add MTV to the offering. So we got it early as maybe it's a test market, but a lot of places didn't have MTV right away. And I find it hard to believe that Los Angeles didn't have MTV right away. Maybe you just happen to see it on Friday night videos, because this is a huge market here.
I think that MTV was around at that time and had already exploded. We didn't have MTV, and at the dawn of empty maybe your
household didn't have it. No, no, no.
Yeah, our household Yeah. But also at that time, we did have a Friday night thing called Friday night videos. And I think that might have been local maybe because we would have a lot of the premieres of videos that premiered on MTV would have on Friday night videos and for sure. Thriller premiered on Friday night videos in Los Angeles. I don't know if that was an alternative to MTV, in addition to I don't know, but I definitely did not have MTV, yet soft thriller in its premiere
may have it. So last little bit of trivia, this has nothing to do with the movie, but it has everything to do with the director, writer director. And you were there so I think you were there. But I was lucky enough having met Landis as I did in New York and and I waited when he wrote me that email, I waited to write him back and finally I wrote him back and thanked him and then sat on that like, oh man, someday I'll connect with Landis I'll have a good reason and years later, it would come to fruition. I was running the Los Angeles United Film Festival. Well, which was at the Los Felice three as well as the VISTA theater, and I had already honored a few people Vilmos zigman, cinematographer of close encounters, we played close encounters and had him out. And unfortunately, he passed away a few years ago, rest in peace Vilmos he was an amazing man, incredible DP, but he put your hand prints in front of the VISTA theater they immortalize and cement. You know, various celebrities, much like they do on brahmans Chinese Theater, but this is much smaller and very cool. And I also had Carl Gottlieb out and did him and we had played jaws and he wrote the screenplay for JAWS and did many other things. And then it was what Dabney Coleman and mark right out we played On Golden Pond had them out. So I wanted to honor John Landis. And when I wrote him an email, I said, Hey, would you like to be honored at our festival, we can play one of your movies and put your hands in cement and give you a lifetime achievement award. And he immediately called me and I'm like, Whoa, my gosh, John Landis called, but he was super excited, because Sal, at that point in time, he had never had his hands and cement. And that way, he was not in front of grommets at that point in time. And maybe he's still not I'm not sure. So I was very fortunate to get him to come out. And we played Animal House. And we had a great evening and Landis came out. We did this whole celebration gave him a Lifetime Achievement Award. He didn't do a q&a, but we kind of spoke to him before the movie with the audience for I think it was like 3045 minutes. And it was just incredible night for everyone there. So that's my second John Landis story.
Now is John Landis local to Los Angeles or is he from somewhere else, or does he live somewhere else?
No, he lives in Los Angeles.
Okay. And what's I mean, it
could be Beverly Hills, but he's local.
And what's he working on lately? Or what is his recent careers shown us?
He had made a documentary called slasher, which is an incredible doc that came out, I don't know 10 plus years ago about a used car salesman. And having come from documentaries. That's what made me want to even show him certainly background knowing he's an incredible filmmaker, but he also has an appreciation for documentaries. But then it had Burke and Hare with Simon Pegg that came out. I think that was his last studio movie came out almost like 10 years ago as well. And then he started just popping up and documentaries being interviewed a bunch. And then his son Max Landis had wrote Chronicle, and was slated to do a remake of an American Werewolf in London. What not sure, yeah, remake and not like a beat by beat but probably a whole new script. And his son's a talented writer, his son actually came to our event, as did John Landis, his wife who works in the industry as well, but But no, I don't think he's directed anything. recently. I don't know what's in the works. But you know, he's still relatively young, and he's incredibly bright and sharp and charismatic. And I would love to see more from Mr. John Landis.
I completely agree. And I would also, maybe it's a little late now. But we look forward to seeing some more from David Norton. And like I say, and as I said earlier, I do not know why this movie did not make David nuttin a household name.
I agree. And I will say that that's unfortunate. But this movie got so much, right. And it's a movie that will live on for decades to come. generations who missed it, the theater, missed it on VHS, can now see it and appreciate it because it holds up. I mean, a good horror movie will work forever. And this one is such a unique blend of humor, and horror and pacing. It's just a wonderful, remarkable film. And it was a pleasure to talk to you about it. On our first episode of Let's Talk movies. And any final thoughts?
No, I do think it's a great film. I do think it's one of my favorite horror films, especially I'm one to dismiss comedy horror. So I do like putting it into the category of horror with a little bit of comedy. Not like you mentioned Simon Pegg earlier, not like Shaun of the Dead, which could be called comedy horror. Yeah. So that could be Yeah, so this is not like that. This is a horror movie with some elements of comedy, as a reprieve and release of tension. I do appreciate that. So it's been my pleasure talking about this movie. And thank you, Jason, for having me.
My pleasure. So thank you so much for listening. And please be sure to subscribe rate and review the show wherever you get your podcast. You can also follow us on social media at let's talk movies, or check out our other shows at just curious media.com. So without further ado, please enjoy.