An American Werewolf in London (1981) :: A-to-Z Movies :: Spooky October Edition :: My Top 5


An American Werewolf in London (1981)
Written and Directed by John Landis

Stay on the road. Keep clear of the moors.” ~ Dart Player

Beware the moon, lads.” ~ Chess Player


1. All the songs in the movie have the word moon in their titles. Just that fact makes me want to makes the music geek in me smile, and, well, also makes me want to make a lunar playlist for this “spooky season“.

Per IMDB’s keen “trivia” section I learned that John Landis wanted three other “moon” songs on the soundtrack. First, Cat Stevens wouldn’t allow Moonshadow to be used as it was at that time that he’d stopped allowing his secular music to be licensed for films following his conversion to Islam. Second, Bob Dylan wouldn’t allow his version of Blue Moon to be used in an R-rated film, as he had just begun his brief conversion to Christianity. Lastly, Elvis Presley’s version of Blue Moon was unavailable due to ongoing lawsuits involving his estate that were going on at the time.

What other “moon” songs can you think of?

Blue Moon :: Sam Cooke

2. I am a big horror movie fan, and have quite a few favorite horror sub-genres. Horror mixed with comedy is definitely high up on the list, probably tied with haunted houses and zombie stories. A little bit of laughter with my jump scares and chilling turns, that wins me over, and it is the wit, as well as the gruesome special effects, that stuck with me long after I first saw this film.

“Jack’s warning”

3. Did you know that in the credits the undead are mentioned? The typical “all characters are fictitious” disclaimer name checks not just the dead, but the undead. Nice that no zombies or other alive/not-alive beings were represented here without their permission.

“All characters and events in this film are fictitious. Any similarity to actual events or persons, living, dead, or undead, is purely coincidental.”

3. I saw this movie on cable when I was a teenager. I don’t remember the exact age (I didn’t see this in the theater, at 12 years old I don’t think my mom would have allowed it) I was, but I vividly remember the werewolf transformation. The effects were of a caliber that I’d never seen before, and the vividness of it had a big impact. I still think it is one of the best shifts from man to wolf I’ve ever seen, and probably the most gory (though Hemlock Grove’s transformation may take the title for gore).

An American Werewolf in London was the first film to earn the Academy Award for Best Makeup. That category was created in 1981.


4. It was this movie, and his enthusiasm for it, that made Michael Jackson want John Landis to direct the video to Thriller. Though I knew Landis directed the notorious video, I never put two and two together until looking into the movie today. It seems so obvious now.

Thriller :: Michael Jackson

5. Can this please be a horror movie that isn’t remade? Please? I know there was a “sequel”, but no remakes please.

Oh no, am I too late in my wishing and pleading? See this.



5 Replies to “An American Werewolf in London (1981) :: A-to-Z Movies :: Spooky October Edition :: My Top 5”

  1. The special effects makeup is remarkable too. It holds up amazingly well for how much time has passed and how much innovation there’s been with makeup since. It’s one of the best. I LOVE werewolf movies in general and there’s a shortage of excellent ones but I love this movie, it’s in my top 10 horror movies for sure<3
    Hooray for spooky stuff on WordPress!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, I meant to mention the make-up. I love werewolf stories, too, but there are SO FEW GOOD ONES!!! I’m reading a werewolf/shifter book right now…I expected it to be super cheesy (and sometimes I need something mindless and cheesy) but I’m actually enjoying it for more than that.

      What other werewolf movies do you like? Any you’d recommend?


      1. Not joking but I love Teen Wolf (the movie of course, not the series.) There are some decent movies that feature werewolves but for straight up werewolf movies my favorites, besides American Werewolf, are: Dog Soldiers, Silver Bullet and Wolf. If you haven’t seen those I recommend them. What about you? I’m watching Bad Moon right now! I haven’t seen it in yeeeeaaars & it’s as melodramatic as I recall but it’s a fun one anyway.
        Why is the werewolf subgenre so neglected?? Werewolves need their due! I think I shall post about this topic soon. Thanks for the idea=)
        What’s the title of your book if you don’t mind sharing?


  2. This is my favorite movie, I’m glad there’s more people out there that seem to appreciate it just as much as I do.
    I hope they never get the horrible idea to remake it, the charm of the movie is in the atmosphere and the actors, which they would never be able to recreate.

    Liked by 1 person

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