An American Werewolf in London is a classic; it stands up against any other horror movie ever made in any decade or any country. It’s also very funny and has Jenny Agutter in the shower.
I remember seeing this (like many other people) on VHS in the 80s. I was probably about 12 or even 13. I might even have been a lot younger. It made a massive impression on me, scared me senseless and made me laugh. It was also set in an England that I obviously recognised.
Now, everyone harks on about the brilliant special effects (and they are brilliant) in the transformation sequence. I want to sing the praises of the sound effects.
When I look back on my first experiences of the film – it’s the sound effects that are truly terrifying. Remember them walking on the moors with the creature circling? You don’t see anything at first, but the roars and grunts of the creature in the darkness are the scariest thing about the scene. Also, in the famous transformation scene – it’s the sounds of bones cracking as David becomes the werewolf that I will never forget.
Landis was on a hot run and having great fun, he apparently wrote the first draft of the script when he was 19 and I believe that. It’s a great film for teenagers. And the music is brilliant too…
Finally as a horror script writer for hire I’d say the screenplay is near perfect. Landis is obviously a fan of the genre and he pushes all the right buttons, and he’s served well by a clear knowledge and love of all the horror cinema that came before. Great script, great film…
Matthew Cooper has been a script writer for hire for over 20 years. He’s written for most of the UK soaps, including writing award winning episodes of Emmerdale, Eastenders, Hollyoaks and Family Affairs. Matthew was winner of the first ever Lloyds Bank Channel Four Film Challenge, the Oscar Moore Screenplay Prize and has been BAFTA shortlisted and Royal Television Society nominated as a script writer. You can find some of his broadcast credits on the IMDb. You can get in touch with Matthew on firstname.lastname@example.org