Tuesday, February 21, 2012

American werewolf in London- a timeless horror monster movie

An American Werewolf in London should go down as one of the best werewolf movies ever made. I certainly think it warrants this type of consideration.

I had the pleasure of not only seeing it when it first came out but some years later reading the screenplay.

I always give extra consideration to the writer or director who respectively pays homage in their movie to either an actor or a role they made famous. John Landis does this twice in American Werewolf in London by alluding to Lon Chaney, Jr and probably his most famous role, “The Wolfman”.

Each time I watched this movie, and I’ve seen it countless times I still get creeped out when the lead character David and his good friend Jack fail to heed the advice of the group of towns people they met at the “Slaughtered Lamb ” who said to “stay to the moors and beware of the moon”.

Of course what resulted from their “misstep” was one of the most terrifying horror movie scenes ever filmed. There were two things that made the scene so effective in my opinion. The first thing was that “bone chilling,” sound the werewolf bellowed coupled with the element of them not knowing what kind of animal it was, together I imagine shook the two characters to their very core.

One more thing about the “Slaughtered Lamb”, as far as its name, could it be that John Landis decided to name the pub that because it was some type of biblical reference? Or was it because despite the two young men being warned, albeit cryptically, by the locals before they ventured into the night and their awareness of what awaited them out there and what would undoubtedly befall them if they failed to follow their directives, they would in essence be like “two sheep being led to the slaughter”?

I obviously have no way of knowing if that’s what Mr. Landis was thinking when he wrote that into the script. But as you know, much of what is put in to a screenplay is done for subtext purposes.

One thing I noticed that John Landis was able to successfully achieve in the opening sequence of this movie is kind of what Steven Spielberg was able to do during Jaws. And that was, he managed to convince us that getting into the water would not be in our best interest, if you get my drift?

Every element in the sequence leading up to Jack’s horrendous mauling was designed to not only build tension but to convince us along with the two characters that something is out there, something with the worse of intentions. From the aforementioned mandate to the vast remote area they found themselves along with their sudden realization of their mistake of having strayed from the road, to the unknown significance of the full moon.

And as for the special effects, unlike the metamorphous that Lon Chaney went through in the movie The Wolfman, which was more creepy than frightening, when David Naughton’s character began changing into the werewolf his change, was unique from what we had seen of other werewolves on screen.

John Landis wanted to not only put more emphasis on how his creature came into being as for the length of time it took and the details he wanted us to see, but he wanted to give authenticity to what he thought a human would experience if his body suddenly begun changing into something it was not physiologically programmed to be.

If you can remember the character Eddie in “The Howling”, by the way, another favorite werewolf movie of ours, as his body started to morph and his clothes started becoming 6 sizes too small, such as when he began growing extremely tall?

Well the director didn’t understand what John Landis clearly understood about what such a change would do to a man’s pain threshold. He knew it would push it to the limit and that’s why he made sure that as David Naughton began taking on the appearance of the werewolf he would not only do it to pain-staking detail but also in excruciating pain.

There were a few things, however, I didn’t like about the movie but they were small things. The first thing was John Landis’ decision to include a love interest. Certainly none of the other werewolf movies had the element included in their story and their stories didn’t suffer from it.

Maybe its inclusion was for the purpose of elongating the story so that the script would meet the minimum length requirement that each Hollywood script must meet. That certainly is a possibility.

Don’t get me wrong; the woman who played David’s lady, Jenny Agutter, isn’t hard on the eyes and seemingly gets prettier with each viewing of the movie.

Secondly, each of those weird dreams David had throughout the movie. It doesn’t matter how many times I see the movie their significance doesn’t fail to escape me.

Notwithstanding the minuet things I didn’t particularly care for about An American Werewolf in London it still remains one of the best werewolf movies every made and a personal favorite that every horror movie lover should have included in their cherished horror collection.

American Werewolf in London Trailer

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Stephen King's It DVD

Based on the King Of Horror's 1986 Best Seller, "It" is a jittery, jolting excursion into personal fear. "It" raises goosebumps-and brings out the stars. Harry Anderson, Dennis Christopher, Annette O'Toole, Tim Reid, John Ritter, Tim Curry and Richard Thomas star in this thriller about a malevolent force in a small New England town.

Price: $5.98

Click here to buy from Amazon

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Boogeymen - The Killer Compilation

Studio: Uni Dist Corp. (mca) Release Date: 08/23/2005 Rating: Nr

Price: $9.99

Click here to buy from Amazon

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Horror Monster Movies

- just another reason for loving the horror movie

· Alien

Alien was truly not only frightening but it was undoubtedly one of the best horror monsters every put on film. After seeing it after it had grew to adulthood we the audience collectively said along with the character in the movie, "oh sh*t", which basically said it all.

· Predator

The monster in the Predator movie was like many other horror movie monsters, in that his only objective was to kill. Hunt and Kill I should say, which made the whole “intergalactic hunter” element that was added during script developement kind of unsettling. Its one thing to know that you are being relentlessly pursued by a monster who wants to kill you and something completely different to know that he wants your head on a spike as well. This movie is a proof that karma can be a real “bitch”.

· The Thing

The Thing, John Carpenter’s version like a few of his other movies was very creepy. The monster in the movie like the Predator monster was from outer space as well as having an element I’d like to think was taken from Invasion of the Body Snatchers, its ability to replace humans with a version of its own, killing the “poor sap” in the process.

An American Werewolf in London

Each of the werewolves in this horror monster movie were truly frightening due to the excellent job writer-director John Landis did with things like special effects and sound engineering. Both elements can be seen and truly felt in the initial sequence where the character Jack is mauled to death and his friend David, played by David Naughton is injured.

· Jaws

The great white shark of Jaws, given birth to by director Steven Spielberg was a monster in the truest sense of the word. The shark was everything we are not just afraid of but absolutely petrified of. Just ask Sherrif Brody's son.

Like a few of the aforementioned horror movie monsters Jaws was relentless. Maybe because he was just always hungery, I'm not really sure. I wonder had someone just told him about the all you can eat special at the "bottom of the sea" restaraunt maybe that would have been enough. No? Well I tried.

· The Beast with in

This movie came out in the decade of the 80’s and when I saw it I was immediately affected by it, for one reason only, the monster. Well there were two of them. The first was a little “horny” and once he was able to escape from the cellar where he was locked up he decided do something about his condition and when he found a stranded motorist he dragged her from the vehicle and into the woods, raped and not so surprising impregnated her.

And so the “fruit” of this unholy union, a young man, and as he grew did so oblivious to what fate would bring his way, the day when the “beast” that was in him would not only emerge but would change him completely into one of the most disgustingly horrible and frightening horror movie monsters yet.

· Pinhead

Not a horror movie monster in the same sense as the others but he certainly was frightening none the less. Not only that but he was ugly and creepy like those other demons he hung with. What I remember most about Pinhead was this, the way he looked and when he spoke although he didn’t look like what most people envisioned Satan himself to look like, he at least made me think of that chief purveyor of evil. Not only that, it was just something about him that screams, he’s someone you really don’t want to F*ck with.

· The Descent

What’s worse than one truly frightening creature, an enumerable amount of course? Creatures with a predilection for human flesh, not cooked over an open flame either. We’re talking the raw kind. The kind found on those of us who are yet living and breathing. Those ugly f*ckers would not stop until your bones were absolutely stripped free of all the tasty meat every carnivorous monster needs in his diet.

· Jeepers Creepers

The monster in this movie was more of a hybrid monster. In other words, half man, half monster. I mean he did have a driver’s license right? What monster do you know has a set of “wheels” and likes to take it for a spin every once in a while, and in the process terrorize an unsuspecting couple or two. On second thought, he seemed to be a guy with a bad case of “road rage” if anything, he just happen to be ugly as f*ck, with a real f*cked up "grill".

Horror films

Monday, February 13, 2012

Legends of horror- and the birth of the scary horror movie genre

Some of the greatest scary horror movies or characters ever created and there were many, from Wes Craven’s wonderfully and frightening character, Freddie Krueger, in A Nightmare on Elm Street, as brought to life by the great Robert Englund, who by the way, in this movie, was the living, breathing incarnation of the “angel of death, the grim reaper himself, was only made possible by many of the great horror legends of the past and some of the rolls that they made famous.

One scary horror movie, a personal favorite of mine, An American Werewolf in London which is as good today as it was when John Landis wrote it many years ago. The story was pretty well written but what resonated most with people and therefore they remembered the most about the movie were the special effects. Great story, great special effects and what you have is a pretty good scary horror movie, timeless in fact, at least in my opinion, and made possible because of its forerunner…

Lon Chaney, Jr’s The Wolfman

Unfortunately, written and produced during a time when many full-length features were a little over 60 minutes of running time, The Wolfman was a classic from the day it hit the big screen. But what it lacked in story and length it more than made up for in great set designs, cinematography and of course, special effects, which I don’t think would be a stretch for me to say, with respect to the later, were before its time. Accentuated superbly by the acting performance of one of the original legends of horror Lon Chaney, Jr., who embodied the shape shifting lycanthrope like no one has since, been able to do, not only allowing the movie to make its mark in motion picture history, but also setting the standard for every subsequent “werewolf big screen story”.

The Howling

Made a few years before An American Werewolf in London, “The Howling” released at a time when the “drive in movie” was still en vogue. I still recall how the story played on a screen as large as what I saw it on, also owes much of its success to Chaney’s Werewolf.

Silver Bullet

Then there was “Silver Bullet”, written by the “King of the Macabre” Steven King, not particularly a good Werewolf movie, in fact the story was probably better on the written page than on the silver screen but like each of the aforementioned was only made possible, from the perspective of being “green lit” because of so many other Werewolf movies that had their roots in “the original werewolf” movie.

And then there was Dracula…

A role made most famously by Bela Lugosi, left an indelible mark in motion picture history, so much so, that others have tried to play the role but none did it like him.

I remember seeing the movie as a young child and from the first time I was able to see what this man was able to do with the role I became an immediate fan of not only Bela Lugosi but of the character Dracula.

It was something about how he spoke such as when he would say his name. “Hello, my name is”…well you know the rest. But the most notable element of Bela Lugosi’s portrayal of Dracula and there fore the most memorable was the pure evil he was able to capture in his eyes and how he would use them to not only elicit fear in his victims but to also seduce them when needed.

As mentioned, other actors have taken a “bite” out of the role, most recently Gerard Butler. And sometime before him there was Frank Langella. When Dracula came out staring Frank Langella many people where very much impressed with his portrayal of the character and some have even went as far to say that what he brought to the role far exceeded anything that had been done prior.

Bela Lugosi I’m sure had he been alive during this time would have taken exception to such a statement. After all how can anyone improve upon perfection? Look, as good as Frank Langella’s performance was as well as the movie in general, Bela Lugosi to this day remains the singular figure synonymous with the role of Dracula.

Of course that is my opinion, but I believe that its more than just opinion, it’s a fact. Bela Lugosi was in fact Dracula and every actor who had the pleasure of also playing the role has only one man to thank for the privilege.

Legends of Horror Movie Pack