REMAKE is becoming a real dirty word. Just about every time I hear it these days I shudder. ‘Shit, what next?’ I think to myself. What movie next will those unimaginative, unoriginal Hollywood producers get their mitts on. Well, now they’ve gone way too far. Way, way, way too far.
I was just thinking last week, while writing a post on the planned overhaul of Teen Wolf, I hope like hell An American Werewolf in London’s name doesn’t come up any time soon with regards to its own remake.
A few days later, low and behold, Bloody Disgusting is running a story about just that. It says, “news comes in exclusively to BD from a regular tipster that writer/director John Landis has sold the remake rights for An American Werewolf In London to Dimension Films”.
Dimension, which is actually the Weinstein Brothers, is currently heading up the Halloween franchise reboot and also has plans for a new Hellraiser series.
Teen Wolf is one thing – it was after all a pretty corny vehicle for a young Michael J. Fox – but An American Werewolf in London is another all together.
It is of course about an American tourist, who while backpacking through the moors of England gets attacked by some werewolf the beer-swilling locals want nothing to do with. Suffice to say, the young Yank subsequently turns into one and goes on a blood-thirsty romp through the streets and subways of London.
Probably the greatest film of its genre ever, yeah, even better than Howling 3: The Marsupials, it was directed by Landis, the man who helmed Michael Jackson’s Thriller film-clip, and starred David Naughton as David Kessler, Jenny Agutter as Alex Price and Griffin Dunne as Jack Goodman.
As well as what was just a really interesting take on a very old formula, it had an Academy Award-winning make-up job by Rick Baker that was just brilliant.
While I can understand something like Clash of the Titans, with its Ray Harryhausen claymation, getting redone in this day and age of computer generated imagery, but the effects Baker used 27 years ago still stands up against any CGI.
That scene on the nurse’s living room floor when David transforms is one of the great scenes. It made the viewer experience every change the main character was experiencing. Just brilliant.
And I love the end when David is confronted in the skin flick cinema by his dead best friend, who he basically left for dead out in the Moors, as well as his werewolf victims.
The actual werewolf itself was pretty amazing too, especially when it’s running through the city snapping at the heels of passers-by.
Apparently, studio executives hoped Landis would cast his Blues Brothers Dan Aykroyd in the role of David and John Belushi as Jack, but he refused. Which, as good as they were, I’m kinda glad about. Naughton hasn’t done much else, well, as far as I can see, but he was great in this.
The movie spawned a sequel, An American Werewolf in Paris, some years later, 1997 I believe, but is easily forgotten. As I hope any remake will be.