Tuesday, February 21, 2012
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
Thursday, February 16, 2012
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.
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.
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.
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".
Tuesday, October 25, 2011
Ultimately, zombies are terrifying for a number of reasons. Unlike vampires, there is nothing romantic about them. Zombies are simply there to not only destroy humanity but to convert it. After all, the end result of a zombie apocalypse is that a population of people who were once alive are transformed into the bloodthirsty walking dead.
Zombies are apocalyptic, which also conjures up certain nightmares in our psyche. People are obsessed with the end of the world. Writers, religious scholars, scientists, etc., have all theorized since the early days of civilization about how the world will eventually end. Zombie horror movies represent one more theory that while obviously fictional still appeals to that certain yearning for apocalyptic fantasy that seems to exist in most people. While outlandish, the thought of a world in which the living return to consume the dead is both terrifying and wildly imaginative. And it really isn't any more fantastical than those believed by numerous societies and religious devotees.
As a fan of zombie movies, I particularly enjoy the claustrophobic feelings that a good zombie film can create. To watch as a group of survivors have to fend for themselves while fighting off hordes of the dead makes for excellent drama, which accounts for the success of the genre to begin with.
Of course, not all zombie films focus on the survival aspects of a potential epidemic. Some zombie movies are comedies. So what is the appeal there? Well, I think zombies are a way for us to shatter the taboo of death. After all, we're all going to die eventually. Those are the grim facts. By watching zombie movies, we can assuage our anxieties about the inevitable end. Perhaps some of use even wish to become zombies ourselves.
Fortunately, there is a wide range of zombie movies available for fans of the genre. First, there is the hardcore survivalist movies, followed by the action-comedy variety and then the offbeat comedy films. There is always something new on the horizon as well, since filmmakers are constantly trying to re-imagine the traditional zombie movie. Zombies have changed a lot since the release of Romero's 1968 classic Night of the Living Dead, and will probably continue to change well into the future. Our desire to see these lumbering, hungry dead folks on the big screen seems to have no end, as well. So we can all look forward to a brighter future with more undead entertainment coming our way.