Doing Right by the Classics

In this editorial praising and reminiscing about John Landis’s AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON, now celebrating its fourth decade(!) if you can believe it, the author makes the following statement: “And if there’s one werewolf story that stands out as the definitive version of the legend, it’s John Landis‘ 1981 classic An American Werewolf in London.” Okay, this isn’t technically incorrect, although it does sound potentially misleading. In point of fact there are several werewolf stories that stand out as definitive: Universal’s 1941 THE WOLFMAN. The Hammer classic CURSE OF THE WEREWOLF. But AMERICAN WEREWOLF certainly belongs right up there alongside those films. It is a classic in its own right. And as the editorial stresses, it manages an almost perfect balance between Comedy and Tragedy, a balancing act that isn’t easy to achieve. “While it’s said that the project’s original financiers were initially hesitant about the script, supposedly claiming that it was ‘too funny for horror and too scary for comedy’, I’m of the opinion that An American Werewolf in London is exactly funny and scary enough to be one of the greatest achievements of genre filmmaking…” the author says. I wholeheartedly concur.

Right up there alongside AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON as one of the greatest werewolf flicks of the past few decades is Joe Dante’s THE HOWLING, also celebrating its 40th anniversary this year. (How can these movies be this old, when I remember, as a kid, watching them when they first came out?) To commemorate this august anniversary, Studiocanal has given the film a 4K restoration, about which Joe Dante has said “I can honestly say this 4K restoration is the best The Howling has looked since it came out of the lab in 1980–maybe better.” This new version of the film will be available in England at the end of October. Looks like us yanks will have to wait a bit longer.

By The Evil Cheezman

WAYNE MILLER is the owner and creative director of EVIL CHEEZ PRODUCTIONS (,, specializing in theatrical performances and haunted attractions. He has written, produced and directed (and occasionally acted in) over a dozen plays, most of them in the Horror and Crime genres. His first novel, THE CONFESSIONS OF SAINT CHRISTOPHER: WEREWOLF, is available for purchase at MORTUI VELOCES SUNT!

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