Sunday, 1 March 2020

An American Werewolf In London

DC Editor Adam conducts…


A Horror Movie Mini-Tour of London No.1 An American Werewolf in London (1981)



It takes a pretty special project to be a successful spoof, a genuinely shocking horror and a bloody good movie all at the same time. Pun most definitely intended.

An American Werewolf in London has a special resonance here at The Daily Constitutional: it teems with London locations; and our protagonist is bitten by a werewolf on (gulp) a walking tour



In writer/director John Landis’s 1981 film, Jack Goodman (Griffin Dunne) stalks the streets of London on a murderous rampage, leading a lycanthropic double life that is not without its lighter moments (!). 

The scene in the wolf enclosure at London Zoo, where Jack wakes up stark naked after a night of shapeshifting and carnage is particularly memorable. In an attempt to cover his nudity, Jack takes some balloons from a schoolboy. 

The little boy’s memorable deadpan complaint to the nearest (clothed) adult remains one of my favourite lines in any movie: 

“A naked American man stole my balloons.”


Here's the trailer…


For those of you as obsessed with London-spotting in the movies as I am, An American Werewolf is a particular joy. 

The usual suspects are here, of course: Trafalgar Square, Piccadilly Circus and the rest. But I'd like to pick two out-of-the-way locations…


One of the gorier scenes is set on Hampstead Heath, with Well Walk featuring in the build-up…

(Spoiler alert? Well, the smart money was always on the werewolf…)




Redcliffe Square in Kensington stars as the exterior of Nurse Alex Price's flat (as played by Jenny Agutter)…



But it is perhaps the chase scene at Tottenham Court Road Underground station that is of most value to us today, given just how much that station has changed in the intervening decades since 1981. Here's how Tottenham Court Road looked before the installation of the Paolozzi mosaics…







Book my Ghosts Of The Old City Virtual Tour…

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