See You Next Wednesday!

Horror movies have always been my bread and butter. As a kid I had two older brothers who had no problem subjecting me to stuff like the Toxic Avenger. Yeah, I know its lame comedy NOW, but I didn't know that while watching the seeing eye dog getting blown to pieces with a shotgun (while it's female blind owner CRIES IN TERROR) or when a little kid gets his head run over like a wet melon.
The stuff scared me, but I loved it all, and I still love it.
That said, there's not that many truly great movies that happen to be horror movies. There's many with charm (From Beyond, The Beyond), good gore (Day Of The Dead), or something or other that makes it awesome. But great? Great like Black Narcissus or Lawrence of Arabia great? It's a minor list. I thought it might fun to list some of these particular masterpieces. I honestly can't think of what else to write about here right now.
so first up is An American Werewolf In London. From the beginning of the movie you believe and like David Naughton and Griffin Dunne's characters and friendship. The're good actors and play it right-as two young guys sorta awkward as adults because they barely are adults. After they have been kicked out of the Slaughtered Lamb, we follow them getting more and more freaked out in the dark listening to the howl of a wolf. Landis keeps the camera on them and the tension is paltable. you like both of the these dumb shmucks equally, you dont know who the lead is supposed to be, but you know something is going to happen. And when it does landis pulls no punches we get straight up superwolf on mang action.
its fucked up. Landis, in those first minutes of the movie, sets the bar of how gnarley this could get and he sets it high. The rest of the movie we follow Naughton's character, David, slowly getting more and more concerned he is is turning into a wolf, while at the same time starts fall in love with a nurse he met at the hospital. Yeah, it is a bit far fetched, but if any couple could make it work its sweet jewish boy david and modest lass jenny....

In many ways landis gets carried away with the humor. and I think he was probably envisioning a more humorous movie than what he ended up with. But all his jokes, from every song on the radio being some wolf/moon reference or the porn movie or even griffin dunne's one liners can't get in the way of the tragedy of the story. If anything they dont relive the tension but rack it up, because the humor is always character based. He never really makes fun of the situation. It's amazing but the movie does everything just right, especially the gore were you can practicaly hear Landis giggling behind the camera-is there anything more sadistically satisfying than the zombie nazi pillage of the suburban home?

It gets revealed to be a dream, but it doesn't even matter. And of course it has the most satisfying tranformation scene ever. a scent hat works partly because of rick baker's prosthetics but mainly because of everything that's come before. Its frightening, funny, ironic, and exhilarating.

posted by sammy at 3:34 AM