Two American college students are on a walking tour of Britain and are attacked by a werewolf. One is killed, the other is mauled. The werewolf is killed but reverts to its human form, and the local townspeople are unwilling to acknowledge its existence. The surviving student begins to have nightmares of hunting on four feet at first but then finds that his friend and other recent victims appear to him, demanding that he commit suicide to release them from their curse, being trapped between worlds because of their unnatural deaths.
An American Werewolf in London is a 1981 British-American horror comedy film written and directed by John Landis, and starring David Naughton, Jenny Agutter, and Griffin Dunne. The film’s plot concerns two young American men, David Kessler (played by Naughton) and Jack Goodman (played by Dunne), attacked by a werewolf on a backpacking holiday in England. With Jack killed, David is taken to a London hospital, where his disturbing apparitions of his deceased friend informs him that he is a werewolf and will transform at the next full moon. Filming took place in London, Surrey, and Wales.
It was released in the United States on August 21, 1981, and grossed $30.56 million at the box office. The film received positive reviews from critics. who praised Rick Baker’s make-up special effects. The film won the 1981 Saturn Award for Best Horror Film and the inaugural Academy Award for Outstanding Achievement in Makeup. The film was one of three high-profile wolf-themed horror films released in 1981, alongside The Howling and Wolfen. Over the years, the film has accumulated a cult following and has become a cult classic.
The film was followed by a 1997 sequel, An American Werewolf in Paris, which featured a completely different cast and none of the original crew, and was distributed by The Walt Disney Company’s Hollywood Pictures to negative reviews and financial failure.
An American Werewolf in London (1981)
Directed by: John Landis
Starring: David Naughton, Jenny Agutter, Joe Belcher, Griffin Dunne, Lila Kaye, Jenny Agutter, Paddy Ryan, Brian Glover
Screenplay by: John Landis
Cinematography by: Robert Paynter
Film Editing by: Malcolm Campbell
Costume Design by: Deborah Nadoolman
Art Direction by: Leslie Dilley
Music by: Bernstein
Distributed by: Universal Pictures
Release Date: August 21, 1981