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The following FAQ entries may contain spoilers. Only the biggest ones (if any) will be covered with spoiler tags. Spoiler tags are used sparingly in order to make the page more readable.
For detailed information about the amounts and types of (a) sex and nudity, (b) violence and gore, (c) profanity, (d) alcohol, drugs, and smoking, and (e) frightening and intense scenes in this movie, consult the IMDb Parents Guide for this movie. The Parents Guide for An American Werewolf in London can be found here.
Two American lads, David Kessler (David Naughton) and Jack Goodman (Griffin Dunne), are attacked by a werewolf while hiking across the Yorkshire moors near the village of East Proctor. Jack is killed, but David is only wounded and sent to a hospital in London where he is cared for by sexy nurse Alex Price (Jenny Agutter), at least until David is well enough to be sent home. When David starts having dreams about killing people and Jack shows up to warn him that he'll turn into a werewolf at the next full moon, everyone (including David) thinks he's having bad dreams due to trauma ...until the next full moon comes around.
An American Werewolf in London was written by film-maker John Landis, who also directed the movie. Landis claims he got the idea for the film when he was traveling in Yugoslavia and came across a band of gypsies performing rituals on a man being buried so that he would not 'rise from the grave.' It was followed by An American Werewolf in Paris (1997). A remake, also titled An American Werewolf in London, is in development with no set release date.
When Jack asked them about the burning candles and the pentacle on the wall, the villagers did not want to answer the question, giving such excuses as not wanting the world to know their business because "they'd think us mad" and rationalizing that the boys will be safe in the rain and they're in God's hands now, while warning them to stay on the road and beware the moon.
Viewers have suggested that the villagers may have used David and Jack as bait to kill the werewolf, but the most likely explanation is that they felt guilty, especially after they were soundly chastized by the barmaid (Lila Kaye).
There has been a great deal of confusion about the naked dead man who appears after the werewolf attack at the beginning of the film. Some viewers mistake the nude corpse for Jack Goodman, who has just been killed by the werewolf, but it's actually the werewolf himself, transformed into a human again after being shot.
Most likely, they didn't think they could properly justify David being shot or otherwise killed by them. Possibly, for whatever reason, they actually want to continue the line of werewolves.
The locals cleaned and dressed David's wounds, but he was unconscious for three weeks and needed the kind of services that a small village like East Proctor could not provide. David being an American, it was also necessary to contact the American Embassy; chances are slim that there is an American Embassy in East Proctor or even all of Yorkshire. Finally, by transferring David to London and concocting the story about him being attacked by a lunatic, they lessened the chances of an investigation and figured the 'curse' would be transferred with David to London and on to America. At any rate, it would no longer be their problem.
Jack was killed, but David was only wounded. According to the legend (in this movie), the curse of the werewolf is passed only to someone who is bitten, scratched, or wounded by a werewolf and survives. Those who are killed by a werewolf are doomed to wander as an undead spirit in limbo until the bloodline of the werewolf who killed them is severed and the curse lifted.
David wakes up the next morning naked and in the wolf cage at the zoo, with no memory of what he did or how he got there. He steals a coat and makes his way back to Alex's flat. Alex talks him into going with her to see Dr. Hirsch (John Woodvine). When the taxi driver tells them about the six people who were murdered last night, David leaps out of the taxi and tries to get a policeman to arrest him. When the bobby just shushes him along, he hides in a porno theatre in Piccadilly Circus after calling his family to tell them that he loves them. In the theatre, he is visited by Jack, along with the spirits of the six people he killed the night before. They try to convince him that the only thing he can do is to kill himself. As night falls and the full moon rises high in the sky, David begins to transform. Panic ensues, heads begin to roll, and the riot police are called. When Alex and Dr. Hirsch hear about a 'mad dog' in Piccadilly Circus, they rush down. Alex fights through the crowd and makes her way down a dead end where they have David trapped. She tries to lure him out by telling him that she loves him, but he snarls at her and the police open fire. In the final scene, Alex weeps by David's naked, bullet-ridden body.
David's phone conversation is missing in the UK 2-Disc Special Edition by Universal and thus the version is approx. 2 minutes shorter than the uncensored version.
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