Director: John Landis Release Date: 15 September Review by Paul Metcalf I will not hide the fact when I start the review that an American Werewolf in London is one of my favourite horror movies. It started my love for the genre and it is a movie that still has not been bested to this day. Looking at the back of the DVD/Blu Ray box it’s easy to see this release is special. Not only are there the special features included in previous releases but also this time there is a feature length documentary included called Beware of the Moon. The story of an American Werewolf in London starts in the “North England” moors. Two American backpackers Jack and David are attacked by some kind of wolf; Jack dies and David survives and somehow finding his way into a London hospital. That part is never really explained and confuses me as the North of England has hospitals and I’m sure it did when the movie was made. What follows is the story of David’s “carnivorous lunar activities” and how he reacts to the fact that he changes into a wolf every time the moon is full. To help him on his lycanthropic curse Jack returns to warn him what is fate is going to be, yes that’s his dead best friend Jack. So if being a werewolf is not bad enough David is now being visited by dead people, or as Jack puts calls himself the undead. It’s revealed the reason for these visitations is that Jack can’t truly be at peace until the bloodline of the wolf is severed. So Jack and David are forever bonded by the curse of the werewolf. What made this movie unique when it first came out was the way it combined comedy with humour. John Landis the director came to this movie having previous comedy hits such as Animal House and The Blues Brothers and this movie follows in their steps. This is a buddy movie and a very funny one. These are the types of movie John Landis does best and I’d argue this is one of the reasons this movie is liked so much. Throughout the movie Jack shows that he obviously cares about his friend; offering his support while at the same time trying to get him to kill himself so the curse can be ended for the both of them. No review of this movie can be done without mentioning the wolf itself. The transformation scene was the best transformation scene of its time, and is still regarded as being the best. Rick Baker earned an Academy award for his work on creating the scene and even on Blu Ray where the level of detail in the scene is increased it’s still hard to see where it fails. It’s the perfect scene to argue that special effects don’t need to be all CGI to make them look realistic, quite the opposite. CGI makes effects more obviously fake and in my opinion should never be overused as it normally is nowadays. The only complaint about the wolf I could say is the wolf attacks are really not shown in much detail and when they are its sometimes obvious the wolf is not doing much other than being shaken at the victim. That would be just being picky though. As mentioned before, it’s the special features that make this release amazing. Beware the Moon by Paul Davis is probably the most informative documentary on a movie I have ever seen. Just make sure you watch the movie before watching the documentary as it provides major spoilers. Almost every major scene is talked about, actors and the production crew are all interviewed on what it took to make the movie. In some cases a documentary like this can go overboard with the level of detail provided; like for example Blade Runner’s Dangerous Days documentary, but luckily Beware the Moon does not fall into this trap. All interviews shown are very enjoyable and everybody interviewed show their love for the movie and the legacy that it has created. This DVD/Blu Ray is a must buy for any fan of an American Werewolf in London, horror fan or comedy fan who can handle some blood in their movies. This movie has definitely passed the tests of time and will always be a classic. The rumoured remake will not be able to live up to what this movie is, has Hollywood not learnt from the mess that was American Werewolf in Paris? Obviously not. My advice is ignore any remake that is made and stick to this movie you’ll never regret it. With such a good movie and excellent special features, this purchase is a must. Rating 9/10