“An American Werewolf in London” (Common Photos) has all of it. Wit, intelligence, no position that could be a throw-away, an skilled mix of horror and comedy and an undertone that speaks clearly to the concern, resentment, superstition and misunderstandings that make up the human situation. An ideal trip from the director of “Animal Home” and “The Blues Brothers” who pays homage to the basic Common movies and Gothic tragedy however isn’t mired in it.
The standout sequence is in fact the near-flawless werewolf transformation (one among two) by grasp make-up artist Rick Baker, who received his first of many Academy Awards for his efforts and rightfully so. Shot, not in the dead of night as may need been the apparent alternative again within the day, however in a brightly lit “house.” The transformation deftly balances revulsion, ache, lack of self and anguish with voyeurism, compassion, tragedy and wonderment all performed out over Sam Cooke’s haunting cowl of Blue Moon. Watch it!
- Jon Chaikin, senior supervisor, direct advertising and marketing & merchandising