American Werewolf in London, An (1981)

An American Werewolf in London (1981), written and directed by John Landis.

This made a big splash at the time for its then-novel combination of comedy and explicit gore and its ambitious transformation effects, done without computer graphics.

Some good features:

Not so good:

Although the explicit can be horridly fascinating, the unseen and suggested and hinted are scarier and more interesting. We see that here with the man in the subway passages, where we get just a glimpse of the creature from a distance.

I once had a vivid real-time dream of the first fifteen minutes of this movie, which is up to the attack on the moor. You think that wasn't scary? I'm not usually frightened by things that can't be real, but in dreams we have no critical filters. So when you are out in the dark and the creature bays nearby -- a great sound effect -- well, it is rather arresting.

Seeing films from this period reminds me how much the look of movies has changed since then. The editing is more of a science now. It's not that everything looks the same, but everything is more polished and consistent. That can be both good and bad.

Available on Blu-ray.