This film is a piece of Australian classic cinema, and it’s got that wonderful, strange style of filmmaking of the seventies. Lots of jumpcuts, changing from one thing to another to make connections or contrasts, odd music. Just general strangeness – and wonderfulness also.
The story is that there are two kids, Girl (Jenny Agutter who I have more recently enjoyed in Call the Midwives, a life time later!) and White Boy (Luc Roeg) who are stranded in the middle of the Australian Outback by their father in a horrific scene (a very terrible way to start the film). They then wander, hoping to get somewhere, until they come across Black Boy (David Gulpilil) who takes them about and feeds them and helps them.
I don’t understand all that happens in this film. There is some really terrible stuff (including the final scene of Black Boy, which I totally do not understand). But it is a film of its time, and it makes some really interesting points about life in modern society.
I saw this when I was far too young to have seen it and have had nightmares ever since. So, I’ve avoided it for a long time. But I am so glad now that I took the time to watch it.
Essentially, two Americans are travelling in the North of England, across the moors, when they are attacked by a werewolf. One, Jack (Griffin Dunne) is killed, the other, David (David Naughton) wakes up in a London hospital being treated by a sexy nurse, Alex (Jenny Agutter). But it just doesn’t go well… as it says in the title.
I got great the delight from spotting a very young Rik Mayall in early scenes, acting his young heart out. I thought it was a fantastic film – not so much of the horror, a lot more of the funny. The bit that I remember scaring me – the first time David changes – is still tormenting, but more because I get it now, the pain that he is going through. But my favourite but are all the moments with Jack – a dead man with excellent makeup who comes back to haunt David. Funny and ace.
An American Werewolf in London won an Oscar for Best Makeup.