While An American Werewolf in London wasn’t quite the cult classic some feel it is, but it is quite entertaining experience with a good performance from David Naughton alongside some respectable make-up and special effects.
An American Werewolf in London
— Limited Edition —
Genre(s): Horror, Fantasy
Arrow Video | R – 97 min. – $59.95 | March 15, 2022
Date Published: 03/21/2019 | Author: The Movieman
Arrow Video provided me with a free copy of the Blu-ray I reviewed in this Blog Post.
The opinions I share are my own.
The screen captures were taken from the 2019 Blu-ray release and do not represent the 4K transfer.
THE MOVIE — 3.5/5
Plot Synopsis: David (DAVID NAUGHTON) and Jack (GRIFFIN DUNNE), two American college students, are backpacking through Britain when a large wolf attacks them. David survives with a bite, but Jack is brutally killed. As David heals in the hospital, he’s plagued by violent nightmares of his mutilated friend, who warns David that he is becoming a werewolf. When David discovers the horrible truth, he contemplates committing suicide before the next full moon causes him to transform from man to murderous beast.
Quick Hit Review: An American Werewolf in London is a fantasy-horror-comedy that I hadn’t actually seen before, not so much I didn’t want to, but never took the time to just check it out as I did previously own it on Blu-ray. Now with this Arrow Video release, I decided to finally sit down and actually see what the buzz was about as it is a cult classic (as demonstrated by the hundreds of 4.5-5 star reviews over on Letterbxd.
Was it worth the wait? Eh, not so sure, this is by no means a bad film nor would I use the clichéd “overrated” term either, yet by the (abrupt) end, I thought it was ‘fine’ if not also entertaining. I also found the special make-up effects work, by the legendary Rick Baker, for its time in the early 1980s was rather impressive, though I imagine today’s generation may find it cheesy.
David Naughton leads the cast and was a lot of fun, playing the role with odd authenticity and scenes with Jenny Agutter was almost magical, enough on-screen chemistry to where one actually has some emotional connection. In terms of actual horror, there are some decent moments but the darkly comedic moments, mainly Griffin Dunne’s Jack appearances in ever decaying form, was some of the best scenes in the film.
An American Werewolf in London is a very different film from writer-director John Landis, who a few years earlier directed the sex-comedy Animal House, a film I hold in high esteem as it was made in my home state of Oregon. For obvious reasons I do prefer that movie but I do appreciate Landis tried something different. And even though I wasn’t the biggest fan, it is still a fun flick and a perfect one to watch during the Halloween season.
SPECIAL FEATURES – 5.0/5
This release comes with a sturdy outer case and inside is a 60-page booklet and fold-out poster. The inner sleeve is also reversible, the opposite being the original poster artwork.
Both of these tracks were relatively entertaining, with Davis’s (which is new to this release) giving a detailed commentary on the film’s background and the werewolf subgenre. However, the Naughton/Dunne option was my favorite, just two old friends recounting the production, you’ll get some tid-bits but ultimately it’s a fun track.
Mark of the Beast: The Legacy of the Universal Werewolf (1:17:18) is a lengthy documentary, made for Arrow Video, and features interviews with John Landis, David Naughton, filmmaker Joe Dante and others.
An American Filmmaker in London (11:41) — Expanded interview with Landis as he looks back his time working in Britain as well as British cinema as a whole.
Wares of the Wolf (7:58) — Another new featurette, this one about SFX artist Dan Martin and Tim Lawes of the Prop Story, looking at the original costumes and special effects artifacts from the film.
I Think He’s a Jew: TheWerewolf’s Street (11:26) — New video essay by filmmaker Jon Spira.
The Werewolf’s Call (11:26) — This is an interesting featurette, hosted by Corin Hardy, director of The Hallow and The Nun (both awful movies), writer Simon Ward.
Beware the Moon (1:37:39) — This is a feature-length exploration of Ladnis’ film and contains extensive cast and crew interviews.
Making An American Werewolf in London (5:17) is an older featurette from what looks like the 1980s.
An Interview John Landis (18:19) is an older interview with the filmmaker.
Make-Up Artist Rick Baker (11:13) discusses his work on the project.
I Walked with a Werewolf (7:30) is an archival interview with Baker about Universal horror and its legacy of Wolfman films.
Casting of the Hand (10:59) — Archival footage, filmed in the 80s, from Rick Baker’s workshop as they cast David Naughton’s hand.
Rounding things out are some Outtakes (3:07), Storyboard featurette (2:27), Original Trailers and Image Galleries.
VIDEO – 5.0/5
|Arrow Video releases An American Werewolf in London onto Blu-ray presented in the film’s original theatrical 1.85 widescreen aspect ratio and has been given a 2160p high-definition transfer. The 4K transfer was taken from a scan of the original 35mm camera negative, scanned in 4K 16-bit resolution and graded in HDR10 and Dolby Vision. The key grading was sourced from the HD master approved by John Landis. The Blu-ray already had a fantastic transfer and this one takes up a slight notch. Detail is incredibly sharp and well defined with the natural film grain and noise still ever present while colors are finely balanced though geared more toward the darker end of the spectrum though daylight scenes have some nice vibrancy and brightness to them, such as the white in Jenny Agutter’s nurse outfit.|
AUDIO – 4.25/5
|The disc comes with two options: a PCM Mono and a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1. The former one did get restored, taken from original mag reels. Either track sounds quite good, dialogue comes through with nice clarity via the center channel and some moderate amount of depth, particularly with the music/score.|
OVERALL – 4.0/5
While An American Werewolf in London wasn’t quite the cult classic some feel it is, but it is quite entertaining experience with a good performance from David Naughton alongside some respectable make-up and special effects for its time. This Arrow Video Limited Edition release has excellent video and audio transfers to go along with a great selection of bonus features.
Check out some more 1080p screen caps by going to page 2. Please note, these do contain spoilers.