Phoenix, Arizona's FilmBar - located at 815 N. 2nd St. - continues to find classic movies for special occasions.
With Halloween right around the corner, this eclectic movie house offers "American Werewolf in London" on Sunday, October 20 at 9:30pm.
During the days of the Rubik's Cube craze and the first electronic calculators, this scary (and also very funny) horror film left a big impression on me in 1981.
Do yourself a favor and see this movie on Sunday night.
Here is my review.
While telling knock knock jokes and arguing over the attributes of Jack’s unrequited love (Debbie Klein), they wander through some desolate stretches of countryside - under heavy cloudy skies - in Northern England and stop at the tiny community of East Proctor.
It is here, in East Proctor, where they, most unfortunately, run into a murderous wolf-like thing.
This is only the beginning of writer/director John Landis’s “American Werewolf in London”, and as the title suggests, the setting moves to England's most lively metropolis.
David wakes up in a London hospital, and, we, the audience, know a werewolf bit him (again, due to the film’s title), but he slowly discovers his fate in unique ways.
Landis throws the fish-out-of-water American into a land of confusion from the “comfort” of his own hospital bed.
Strange nightmares plague David (and startle us), and Jack stops by to warn him: David will change into a werewolf when the moon is full.
That is insane, right?
Werewolves in 1981?
With Jack’s persistence, horribly violent dreams, dogs barking and cats hissing at his every turn, what is happening?
Well, David indeed becomes a werewolf in the film’s most memorable scene.
Landis used the latest and greatest special effects available at the time, and truly offers a frightening transformation.
The camera focuses squarely - in bright indoor light with a wide-open view - on David.
Sure, 30 years later, today’s special effects are three or four generations removed from Landis’s film, but the 1981 metamorphosis into monster still rings true.
This werewolf story, however, is not all blood and guts.
Peppered humor throughout the most of the film, the script gives the audience a chance to breathe before the next bloody or shocking turn of events appear on screen.
For instance, David tries to get arrested on purpose, and (in the middle of a crowded square) he yells, “Queen Elizabeth is a man!”
Landis does not lose his sense of humor on the clever soundtrack either, as “Blue Moon”, “Bad Moon Rising” and more tunes make wonderfully-timed appearances.
“American Werewolf in London” amuses and frightens, and makes one wish David and Jack heeded the warnings from the weird East Proctor pub.
Then again, if they stayed on the road and out of harms way, we would not have this terrific horror movie.
Follow me on Twitter: @MitchFilmCritic