Sunday, April 20, 2014

Movies by year: 1981

(Look out for falling mild spoilers!)

Now firmly into the 80s, we've reached the era of the blockbuster. Kurt Russell threw off the Disney stereotype as Snake Plissken in Escape From New York. Ron Perlman probably didn't need much makeup for his role as a caveman in Quest For Fire. Harrison Ford introduced us to everyone's favourite archaeologist in Raiders Of The Lost Ark (and, since we're being honest here, was more than a bit responsible for my Classical Studies and Anthropology choices at university). Terry Gilliam bent our wee little minds with Time Bandits. Mel Gibson was back in the infinitely superior Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior and hardly said a thing through the whole movie. And a little animated movie called Grendel Grendel Grendel gave us the Beowulf story from the other side. But I'm going to talk about...

An American Werewolf In London

David and Jack are on a hiking vacation in rural England when they are attacked by a giant beast, Jack is killed and David is rescued by local villagers. When he regains consciousness in a hospital in London, he's told the attacker was an escaped lunatic, not a beast. Wrong, of course. Now he's being haunted by Jack's deteriorating corpse, who urges him to off himself before the next full moon. Luckily, he's also met a sexy nurse who lets him stay with her. What could possibly go wrong here?

David Naughton, Griffin Dunne and Jenny Agutter are all charming in this horror comedy from John Landis. The soundtrack is even cheeky, filled with moon-related songs (I still find Moondance incredibly sexy, probably because of the shower scene). And the effects, while somewhat dated now, were the height of cool at the time (used to interesting effect in the short-lived series Manimal with Simon MacCorkindale, which was otherwise crap).

There was a sequel, An American Werewolf In Paris but I've never seen it, have you? What did you think of the original?

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