This is the first film to earn the Academy Award for Best Make-up. That category was created in 1981.
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John Landis has reported that when he was approving a high definition transfer of the film for DVD in the mid 2000s, he was taken aback by how gory the film actually was.
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The scene with David (David Naughton) in the cage with the real wolves was filmed in one take, as Naughton had no desire to get back into the cage with the animals.
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Griffin Dunne stated in 2007 that his biggest fear was that his mother, who was ill at the time, would not be able to handle seeing a film where her son appeared as a mutilated corpse. When she finally saw it, she was deeply disturbed by it.
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They got the cat on the window ledge to hiss at David by holding up another cat towards its face.
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The final look of the werewolf was based on Make-up Creator Rick Baker's Keish hound or keeshond, "which was this hairier dog and kind of almost wolf-like. A lot of times I'd look in the mirror and I'd make faces and kind of like be working on sculptures and it looks like me and my dog was there so I was like okay. He's kind of like a wolf, you know, he's got four legs, he had this big mane of hair which the wolf kind of had. So yeah, [the Werewolf] was very much based on my dog Bosco."
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Rick Baker claimed to have been disappointed by the amount of time spent shooting the face changing shot for the transformation after having spent months working on the mechanism. John Landis only required one take lasting about seven seconds. Baker felt he had wasted his time until seeing the film with an audience that applauded during that one seven second shot.
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Only four American work permits were requested of the British government for the production: for Director John Landis, Make-up Artist Rick Baker, and David Naughton and Griffin Dunne. The first three work permits were granted by the British government without question. But the British office of Actors' Equity questioned the necessity of a work permit for Dunne, claiming that there were already plenty of young American actors living in Great Britain, who could portray the role of Jack. It was only when Director and Screenwriter Landis threatened to re-write the script, and retitle the movie "An American Werewolf in Paris", that the equity office reconsidered the application and granted Dunne his work permit.
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All the songs in this film have the word "moon" in their titles.
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David Naughton revealed that the hospital bed in the forest scene was the most difficult and painful because of the glass contact lenses used.
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John Landis wrote the screenplay for this film following an incident while shooting Kelly's Heroes (1970) (while he was a go-fer) in the countryside of Yugoslavia. While driving along a country road with a colleague, Landis encountered a gypsy funeral. The body was being buried in a massively deep grave, feet first, while wrapped in garlic, so he would not rise from the dead.
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Unlike most motion pictures, it was filmed in sequence.
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Due to the controversy surrounding the lack of recognition projected towards the elephant man (1980), make-up and industry technological contributions became recognized by the Academy Awards in 1981. Make-up Artist Rick Baker was the first to receive an Oscar in the new category. William Tuttle was the first Make-up Effects Artist to receive an honorary Oscar for his work on 7 Faces of Dr. Lao (1964).
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During a preview of the film the marquee said, "From the Director of National Lampoon's Animal House (1978)." Because of this, many people in the audience thought they were seeing a comedy. Reportedly, people ran out of the theater when they discovered it was a horror film, because they were frightened.
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John Landis had to avoid filming any full-frontal nudity of David Naughton during the transformation scene and dream sequences after Naughton informed Landis that he was not circumcised, even though his role, David Kessler, was written as being Jewish.
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David Naughton, then known as Dr. Pepper's star of the "I'm A Pepper" commercials, was let go by Dr. Pepper, because of his nude scenes in this film.
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This is John Landis' personal favorite film of his own.
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John Landis fought hard to secure the rights to the Cat Stevens song "Moon Shadow" to use in the film, but because the film dealt with the supernatural, the undead and werewolves, and also because of the graphic (at the time, 1981) violence, Stevens, who had since converted to Islam, and had his name changed to Yusef Islam, refused Landis' request. Cat objected to the themes and subject matter, and did not want his song connected in any way to the film. John Landis thought this was hilarious, because, as he pointed out, "Moon Shadow", is actually about killing and dismemberment. Landis thought this song was perfect for his movie, but Stevens had other ideas.
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While John Landis was trying to get this film made, Rick Baker became tired of waiting (over eight years) and decided to use what he had been planning for this film on The Howling (1981). Eventually Landis called Baker and told him, "I have the money. Let's make 'American Werewolf'!" to which Baker replied that he was already doing a werewolf picture. Landis started yelling at Baker over the phone. Baker decided to leave The Howling (1981) in the hands of his protégé Rob Bottin, and would only consult on that film, leaving him free to do this one. Reportedly, Rick Baker's initial decision is something for which John Landis has never forgiven him, Baker's ultimate decision to leave the project, both because of said call and because his The Howling designs were becoming too similar to what he had reserved for American Werewolf.
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PolyGram Executives Jon Peters and Peter Guber, hoped John Landis would cast Dan Aykroyd in the role of David and John Belushi as Jack. John Landis refused, as he wanted to use new faces, and because Belushi and Aykroyd were too busy working on Neighbors (1981), which they wanted Landis to direct.
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The opening scene of the movie, depicts friends David (David Naughton) and Jack (Griffin Dunne) on a walking tour of Yorkshire, Northern England, traveling on foot toward the nearest town. Because of the cold and dampness of the location, Dunne's nose was running. While delivering a line of dialogue, Naughton glanced over at Dunne just in time to see Dunne catching and wiping away a stream of snot running from his nose. Naughton laughed at the sight of Dunne's discomfort, making Dunne begin to laugh while responding to Naughton's line of dialogue. Because of the spontaneity of the shot, and because the scene was largely improvised anyway, John Landis decided to use that imperfect shot in the film's release print.
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At the close of the credits is a congratulatory message for the wedding of Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer. It was included, because when David is trying to get arrested, he shouts, "Prince Charles is a faggot!" The film was shot several months before the preparations for the couple's July 1981 wedding.
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The fake porno movie "See You Next Wednesday" was the first thing to be filmed during production.
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The episode of The Muppet Show (1976) playing on the television during David's nightmare sequence is The Muppet Show: Señor Wences (1980), but the portion shown, was never shown in the U.S. This is why Americans often assumed it to be a fake episode, and why Miss Piggy and Kermit the Frog are credited.
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David Naughton was reportedly cast because John Landis had seen him in a television commercial for Dr. Pepper.
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John Landis advised Griffin Dunne that the key to the character of Jack Goodman was that he was always to be encouraging, optimistic, and cheerful as a member of the undead, no matter what his stage of ghastly corporeal decay, deterioration, and decomposition. Dunne claimed to have found this requirement to be difficult, as he was, for the first time in his life, seeing what he would look like as a rotting and mutilated corpse.
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"East Proctor" is, in reality, the tiny village of Crickadarn, and the "Slaughtered Lamb" is actually a cottage located in Crickadarn, about six miles southeast of Builth Wells, Wales, off the A470, the "Angel of Death" statue seen outside the Slaughtered Lamb was a prop added for the film, but the red phone box was real enough, though the Welsh road signs were covered by a fake tree.
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Michael Jackson was so bowled over by this movie, most especially by the the make-up and visual effects, he insisted on hiring the responsible personnel for his planned music video Michael Jackson: Thriller (1983). When John Landis agreed to direct (his first music video), he brought on board his foremost "werewolf" crew, including Robert Paynter (Cjinematography), Elmer Bernstein ("creepy" music), Rick Baker (Special Make-up Effects), and his wife Deborah Nadoolman (Costume Design).
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When David calls home to speak to his family, he speaks to his sister Rachel. During the conversation, they talk about their brother Max. Max and Rachel are the names of John Landis' children.
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Rick Baker plays one of the Nazi werewolves in the nightmare sequence (specifically the one who slashes David's throat).
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When trying to call home, David Kessler gives the operator a phone number (516-472-3402) that contains a Long Island, New York, area code. It is also an unusual case in which an actual phone number is used.
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The location shooting of the front of Alex's flat and surrounds was filmed on or around Lupus Street in Pimlico, London (in Latin, lupus literally means "wolf").
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Griffin Dunne recalled stopping to use the facilities in the sole trailer with a restroom only to be interrupted partway through when a driver hooked it to a pick-up and towed it away from the set with him still inside it.
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The title of the movie "See You Next Wednesday" is a trademark of John Landis' work. First encountered by him as dialogue in 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), he created a fictional movie and included posters for it as early as 1973 (then later in Trading Places (1983) and Coming to America (1988)), billboards (The Blues Brothers (1980)), cinemas screening it (The Kentucky Fried Movie (1977); this film; Michael Jackson: Thriller (1983)) and also as dialogue and other kinds of props and set dressing.
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Rick Baker and John Landis had several disagreements over what the design of the werewolf should be. Baker wanted it to be a two-legged werewolf saying he thought of werewolves as being bipedal. Landis wanted a "four-legged hound from hell", the werewolves in the Howling (1981) were depicted as bipedal.
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When Jack was killed by the first werewolf, Make-up Artist Rick Baker told Griffin Dunne to be careful with the wolf's head, as it was new, and quite delicate. During the first take, Griffin ripped the foam rubber off the head. Rick was so irritated by this, that he considered putting hard teeth in the wolf, but instead used the back-up head to "beat the crap out of Griffin".
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David Naughton kept the red puffa jacket he wore at the beginning. Griffin Dunne also kept his green puffa jacket.
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After filming was completed the whole crew danced in a circle around David Naughton who was still in his werewolf makeup on the floor singing "I'm a werewolf, you're a werewolf, wouldn't you like to be a werewolf too" as a throwback to his days as a pitchman for the Dr. Pepper commercials.
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There is a fan theory in which people think David doesn't actually physically change into a werewolf; instead what they are seeing is what he thinks he looks like. This is supported by the fact that when the first werewolf attacks David and was shot dead, no transformation back to a human was shown. In the case of David, no transformation back to human after he's shot dead by the police is seen, and even though Alex witnesses him getting killed she doesn't display a shocked expression at seeing him revert to human form. It may be assumed therefore the move is a metaphorical representation of him losing his sanity after witnessing Jack get killed.
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The total duration of Composer Elmer Bernstein's original score for the film is a total of seven minutes, much to the surprise of film music aficionados, who have wanted for a release of this music for years. The music is more in the vein of transitional orchestral cues in between the pre-recorded songs featured throughout the film, to give the film more dramatic weight where needed.
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David Naughton and Griffin Dunne both shared make-up memories including Dunne finding himself incredibly depressed the first time he had on the stage-one make-up applied during tests in California, "I looked like I'd been killed just a few minutes earlier and it was really unsettling", Naughton remembers walking through Piccadilly circus with Dunne in the final stage make-up "people were clearing a nice big path" recall's Naughton.
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In order to get the movie down to an R-rating, Landis had to tone down the sex scene and cut out a part where a piece of toast fell out of Jack's undead throat. He also edited out a scene where the werewolf kills the three homeless men after preview audiences freaked out. He later had regrets about the edits.
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One of two werewolf films to win the Academy Award for Best Make-up. Rick Baker won both times, the second being for The Wolfman (2010).
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Frank Oz technically appears as two characters in the movie. Mr. Collins, the man who talks to David in the hospital, and the voice of Miss Piggy in the The Muppet Show: Señor Wences (1980) clip.
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David Naughton and Griffin Dunne wondered why John Landis never used Warren Zevon's "Werewolves of London" song, and they still don't know.
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Rick Baker performed the action of the werewolf biting off Inspector Villier's head, in the movie, when the werewolf bites off the Inspector's head, in the left edge of the screen, you can briefly and barely make out Rick Bakers bearded face, as he operates the wolf to bite off his head.
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At one point David screams, "I'm a fuckin' werewolf, for God's sake!" For television, David Naughton screamed, "I'm a famous werewolf, for God's sake!" The latter phrase was looped in post-production.
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Griffin Dunne had never done a feature film before, and didn't even audition for this one, but a ten-minute talk with John Landis (along with a quick read of the script) got him the role of Jack, David Naughton recalls a similar situation but in his conversation, Landis mentioned the Dr. Pepper commercials "He was a Pepper, and I was a Pepper, so we hit it off" Naughton recalled.
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For the love scene in the shower, David Naughton recalled "There are not a lot of showers in London", so they had to build one for the shower scene between David and nurse Alex. "We had quite a time trying to regulate the water temperature" Naughton recalls. "Right there, it's freezing" suggested Griffin Dunne during the next shot.
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The nightmare with the Nazi werewolves confused audiences, and led to some walk-outs. David Naughton and Griffin Dunne loved it, although Naughton does recall one issue he had "the stuntman who was holding that real knife to my throat couldn't see out of the mask, so that kinda concerned me."
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John Landis wanted bad weather for his movie, so he purposely shot the movie in February and March. According to the production notes, the Welsh town of Crickadarn had snow, sleet, rain, and extensive sunshine, all in one day. This caused problems for David Naughton, because he was told to run as if it were warm. "That's rather difficult to do, because it's cold, and you have no shoes on, and I don't jog in bare feet in any weather, even back in California," he said. "That's the hardest part, you're running in wooded areas, on slick paths, trying not to look like going, 'Ooh, ow, oh, ouch!', and they were saying, 'C'mon, it's warm, this is a dream, you're leaping, you're like a deer.' So I just had to go for it."
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As of 2014, the only John Landis movie to win an Academy Award.
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The werewolf howl that was used for the film, was a combination of a wolf and an elephant. Producer George Folsey, Jr. claimed, in the Beware the Moon: Remembering 'An American Werewolf in London' (2009) documentary, that the howl had been played backwards. John Landis also stated in the documentary that the howl was a combination of seven or eight different animals.
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As production approached, John Landis repeatedly asked Griffin Dunne if he was claustrophobic. "I didn't know what that meant until I ended up in these masks" Dunne stated.
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The reason why John Landis chose London as the setting was because "London was horror central, of course, home of Jack the Ripper, Jekyll and Hyde, so I wanted all that Victorian Gothic, but I also wanted to show the real London of 1981".
Both David Naughton and Griffin Dunne recall audiences being confused by the post-attack scene where David looks to the right and sees the naked dead man with bullet wounds. He's the werewolf, obviously, but the paucity of werewolf films leading up to 1981 apparently left people clueless as to how they operate.
David Naughton points out how confident Landis was in Rick Baker's spectacular make-up effect work during Jack's first undead visit. "There's no shadows, it's just bright lights and get as good a look at it as you can."
Griffin Dunne was unfamiliar with press junkets and such before this film, and he recalls going to the Stanhope Hotel for one. "When you guys all left I stayed in the hotel for a week, and Universal just paid. They never even noticed. I had this crappy little apartment in the Village, and I just lived uptown at the Stanhope living on room service."
The attack scene saw Griffin Dunne just going for it with the screams, because he knew that was what John Landis wanted, Dunne noted "it was just half a wolf on a wheelbarrow", but the primitive nature of the effect was buoyed by the intensity of the performance.
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While working on this movie, Rick Baker had been asked by Steven Spielberg to work with him on E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982). Baker turned it down, because of his obligations on this movie. Spielberg would move forward, hiring Carlo Rambaldi instead, coincidentally Carlo Rambaldi worked on a werewolf film 3 year's later designing and creating the werewolf suit for Silver Bullet (1985).
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In 1997, the movie was re-recorded as a Radio drama by Audio Movies Limited for BBC Radio 1 in Britain. It was broadcast during Halloween that year, in short snippets throughout the day. Brian Glover, John Woodvine and Jenny Agutter reprised their roles from the movie.
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John Landis says how people always mistake the movie as a comedy he quipped "Its not a comedy. People keep calling it a comedy, it's very funny I hope, but it is a horror film. We meet these guys in a truckload of sheep. This is not subtle. I mean these boys are dead by the end of the movie. That's not really a happy tale".
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The werewolf attack scene at the beginning was filmed in a London Park around Buckingham Palace.
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John Landis originally wanted three other songs to add to the soundtrack: Cat Stevens wouldn't allow "Moonshadow" to be used, because he had stopped allowing his secular music to be licensed for films following his conversion to Islam. Bob Dylan wouldn't allow his version of "Blue Moon" to be used in an R-rated film, as he had just begun his brief conversion to Christianity. Elvis Presley's version of "Blue Moon" proved unavailable, due to the ongoing lawsuits involving his estate.
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The wolves used in the London Zoo scene, were kept privately by Roger Palmer in the UK, and appeared in several television shows, and in advertisements. Roger went on to found the UK Wolf Conservation Trust, which keeps wolves to this day.
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Because David calls Prince Charles' sexuality into question in the film, a disclaimer was added to the credits which read "Lycanthrope films limited wishes to extend its heartfelt congratulations to Lady Diana Spencer and His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales on the occasion of their marriage - July 29th 1981".
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Much of the British cast, including John Woodvine, playing the role of Dr. Hirsch, were appearing in the Royal Shakespeare Company's London stage production of "Nicholas Nickleby", simultaneously to this film's production.
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Financiers believed that Landis' script was too frightening to be a comedy and too funny to be a horror film.
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John Landis told Griffin Dunne that once he was back from the dead, he should never sound like anything, but in a "really good mood".
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The hospital to which David is brought after being attacked by the werewolf was a disused hospital, Princess Beatrice Hospital, in London (room 21, Floor 4). The building is now used as a homeless clinic.
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The Slaughtered Lamb also has another meaning to it as Jack and David leave after being asked to by the pubgoers without explaining their reason is like a lamb to the slaughter;they do it without knowing that something bad is going to happen and therefore act calmly and without fighting against the situation which ends with them both getting attacked by the werewolf.
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Alex reads "A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court" to David in the hospital, and David is shown reading it before he transforms into a werewolf, John Landis was a huge fan of the book. He tried to adapt it into a movie.
David Naughton was very cranky during the rain sequence singing Santa Lucia as it was "freezing cold".
It took 5 hours to add the undead makeup to Griffin Dunne except the scene at the end at the porno theater in Piccadilly Circus which was simply a puppet.
Jenny Agutter, John Woodvine, and David Schofield went on to rejoin John Landis for Burke and Hare (2010), on another exclusive UK location shoot.
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Griffin Dunne revealed in a 2017 interview that, "Nobody ever broke character; nobody ever came up and talked to us like, "Hey, kids, how are you liking America?" or any of that stuff. They just looked at us like we were cursed."
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David Naughton described Jenny Agutter as "a class act. I'd been a student at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts a few years before and had a total crush on her, having seen her playing the stable girl in Equus at the Royal Court theatre, where I'd been an usher".
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When Rick Baker first met David Naughton he said to him "I feel very sorry for you" due to the very long makeup processes he'll be enduring.
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Griffin Dunne said about Rick Bakers makeup process "he made the six hours bearable. The makeup's on, and then it constricts and then it pulls on your skin and then it has to be loosened up; you have people fussing with you; you want to pass out from the fumes. The glue is kind of like airplane glue, so it wasn't comfortable,They've come up with so many different techniques since then, so it was early pioneer stuff".
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John Woodvine (Dr. Hirsch) was cast at short notice, after the first two choices left the project.
David and Alex's love scene was trimmed by the irish censor when first theatrically released in Ireland. the original cinema poster partly showing the naked David surprising the elderly lady at the zoo was also censored when advertised in Ireland with a black mark covering David's genital region.
The moors were filmed around the Black Mountains in Wales.
Stuntman Vic Armstrong played the bus driver, who swerves to avoid the werewolf in Piccadilly Circus. A special rear wheel rig was created that used air rams to fire a set of wheels positioned ninety degrees from the bus' normal rear axle down onto the pavement, lifting up the bus' real rear wheels to cause a one hundred eighty degree skid. Armstrong also drove the car that knocked John Landis through a shop window, and performed a head-on collision with another stunt driver's car, both men driving at fifteen miles per hour to minimize the impact, which injured Armstrong's wrists for three weeks, after forgetting to take his hands off the steering wheel before impact.
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Griffin Dunne improvised the line "What kind of ad is that for a pub".
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The opening scenes were filmed in Wales, as a more convenient substitute for Northern England.
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For a YouTube skit, posted by "Homemade Movies", John Landis' son, Max Landis, acted out the werewolf transformation scene. The skit was intended as a present for John from Max.
John Landis wanted a weird, eerie ambience for the night shots he stated "So that wolf howl you hear was actually made up of about nine different sounds, including a wolf, a lion, a panther, and even a locomotive. The other sound you hear, after that first attack out on the moors, was actually a pig farm, recorded from a distance. It was just something to make audiences say: "What the hell was that?".
John Landis stated in an interview his inspiration for the film "was the old 1940s horror movie, The Wolf Man (1941), starring Lon Chaney Jr. in which-unusually the werewolf was portrayed as a victim, films tend to show the transformation from man to wolf through dissolves, but i wanted to capture how painful the entire process would be-and make it painful to watch. Although the film did have alot of comedy, i wanted to treat the violence realistically to make it as terrible as violence always is".
David Naughton expressed concern about typecasting, suggesting he was mostly being offered horror scripts after the movie became a hit. In retrospect, Naughton says it wasn't so much the genre he was avoiding. "After the makeup experience, I was so over the whole idea of sitting in a chair for hours on end," says Naughton. "And I had worked with the best, or the person who would soon become one of the top makeup artists. So, yeah, I was not in any hurry to go out and do anything related to hours of makeup, prosthetics; any of that business."
The picture was released during an early-mid 1980s cycle of werewolf movies. These included Wolfen (1981), The Howling (1981), Teen Wolf (1985), Howling II: ... Your Sister Is a Werewolf (1985), Full Moon High (1981), Teen Wolf Too (1987), The Company of Wolves (1984), and Howling III (1987).
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Both David Naughton and Griffin Dunne recall telling Landis that the lack of silver bullets used to kill David meant this could become a franchise. The director told them in no uncertain terms that there would be no sequel.
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There are three versions of the song "Blue Moon" one as the opening credits song by Bobby Vinton, another during David's first transformation by Sam Cooke, and the third one is the closing credits song by The Marcels.
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Even though David and Jack are supposed to be college students at N.Y.U., in real-life, David Naughton was thirty, and Griffin Dunne was almost twenty-six. Which is a moot point, since people have been known to attend college at any adult age.
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Dr. Hirsch (John Woodvine) drives a red 1977 MG B Gt (AD076).
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The two-minute transformation sequence, where Kessler strips down before agonizingly turning into a werewolf. Still considered one of the best in cinematic history in terms of practical special effects, much of the scene was filmed with David Naughton in a hole underneath the set's elevated floor with only his head and arms sticking out. the sequence took months to plan and a week to shoot, relying on old-school special effects that are rarely used these days. Along with the teeth, prosthetics and fur, Naughton was fitted with glass contact lenses. In fact, the actor routinely spent up to five hours a day in the makeup chair. "I did a panel with John Landis and Rick Baker and they said: 'Man, stop making it sound like it was torture,' " says Naughton with a laugh. "I said 'It didn't happen to you guys! You guys were talking while I was in the floor wondering if I (was) going to get out of here today.' "
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When the barmaid insists to the men in the pub they should go after Jack and David, and the chess player says, "Should the world know our business?", the dart player says, "It's murder then." Look at the side of the dartboard, there is a drawing of a hangman in chalk.
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Universal Studios' Halloween event in Orlando Florida, "Halloween Horror Nights" had a walk through maze based on this movie, it was voted the best maze at the 2013 event. Due to its popularity, Universal Studios Orlando has confirmed that the house will return for the Halloween Horror Nights 25 this year 2015.
In 2016, it was revealed that Screenwriter Max Landis, son of John Landis, will be writing and directing a remake of the film.
The player throwing darts, in the match on television, that David watches in Alex's flat, is Rab Smith and his opponent Cliff Lazarenko.
The reason Landis filmed in sequence was not done for the benefit of the actors to ease them into the film. It was so renowned makeup artist Rick Baker had time to prepare for all the gruesome effects he had to create. Baker, of course, would go on to win the first of his seven Oscars for makeup for his work on the film. Still, the result was that the first couple of days were not particularly gruelling. This was both misleading and short-lived, Naughton says. "That sort of fooled me," says Naughton, who will be in Calgary to discuss the film as part of Calgary Horror Con on June 2 and 3 at the Clarion Hotel. "It was like 'Hey, this is going to be easy.' Then we get out there and -- can you imagine? -- we were in England and it's not raining so they made rain. Why would you make rain in England? We're out there on the moors with these rain machines. It was so cold the rain machines were freezing. 'Hey, wait a second, that's not fair. If the rain machines are freezing, then we shouldn't have to be in the rain, should we?'
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In the subway tunnel, a poster for the 1980 Special Edition re-release of Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977) is visible. John Landis, at the time, was friends with Steven Spielberg.
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In the long shot, When Dr. Hirsch sees the newspaper about the murders, look behind him, you'll see a double-decker bus that is the same bus that David gets on in the next scene, it even goes in the same direction.
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The London Underground station used in the film, is Tottenham Court Road, and the name sign is visible in some shots. It was refurbished in the late 1980s. The platform, with the train arriving and departing, is the northbound Northern Line platform. This is not Aldwych station, as previously reported.
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John Woodvine, as Dr. Hirsch, makes a remark on the phone, about surviving Rommel. Woodvine, born in 1929, would have been only fifteen at the time of Field Marshall Erwin Rommel's death.
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Given the transformation had to be realistic, Baker approached it from a scientific point of view. Humans and wolves are both vertebrates, and both mammals, as such, most components of their skeletons are homologous to each other. "The way I decided to approach the transformation was through comparative anatomy," Baker explained to Cinefex. "I didn't have a wolf skeleton in my collection, but I had a dog's and that was close enough. Comparing it to ahuman, you find that many of the bones are similar; it's just that the proportions are different. I made lists of the differences, what the major changes were, whether this got shorter or that got longer then figured out how we could get a suit out of this, in the later stages, that made sense."
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In it's earliest incarnation, John Landis had wanted Donald Sutherland for his lead. Landis had worked with Sutherland on the set of Kelly's Heroes (1970), which is where he got the idea for a werewolf movie in the first place.
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In a 2018 interview David Naughton revealed he's not surprised that affection for the film has not dwindled over the years. Fan gatherings like Calgary Horror Con prove that it has gone from being a successful oddity to what is now considered a classic. "People are very upfront about the film and how much it meant to them and where they were in their lives in terms of the impact it had on them," Naughton says. "So many adults are bringing their kids now and saying 'My dad introduced me to horror with this movie.' I get that a lot. Or things like 'This film scared me to death.' Good, that was the idea. Or 'Well, I saw it when I was about 10.' I'm like 'You know, it's rated R! What's wrong with your parents!' "
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John Landis stated about Elmer Bernstien writing the score as "a big, bombastic, frightening piece of music".
Filmmaker Edgar Wright once said that he first saw this movie with his brother on T.V. when he has nine years old. During the scene where the Nazi werewolves break into David's house, their mom walked in and told them to turn off the T.V. and go to bed. He later said that the scene kept him up all night.
Kessler falls on all fours, and his back mutates, showing bones cracking and rearranging themselves.' was built from the lower neck to the glutes, and involved various pneumatically-maneuvered spine and bone shapes and independent vertebrae mechanisms, as well as moving shoulder forms. The air-lines of the rams all converged at a large plywood board. Subtle transforming effects were also provided by small bladders included within overlapping layers beneath the skin. It' was also the most complex puppet of the sequence, and needed at least ten or more crewmembers to operate it in proper coordination.
In the subway scene, just as the chase between man and beast commences, posters for Airplane! (1980) and Monty Python's Life of Brian (1979) are visible, due to the fact that these movies were being shown around this time.
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Included among the "1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die", edited by Steven Schneider.
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Was released into theaters August 21, 1981, eighteen days after John Landis' thirty-first birthday on August third.
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Humphrey Bogart can be seen in two posters in Alex's apartment. There is one for Casablanca (1942) on the front wall in the living room, and there's a black-and-white solo shot of Humphrey Bogart in the kitchen.
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For her role as a nurse, Jenny Agutter spent some time in a London hospital observing nurses at work.
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Peter Ellis, who played the "Bobby in Trafalgar Square", went on to star in the British television series The Bill (1984). Although, instead of a Police Constable, he played a Chief Superintendent.
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John Landis used his own middle name for the character of David.
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John Landis tried to land James Bond Producer Albert R. Broccoli for his project, after Landis made some uncredited re-writes on The Spy Who Loved Me (1977). It turned out to be a non-starter. When Broccoli read the script, he told Landis, "Hell no, it's weird!" As a small consolation, the bus driver, for the Piccadilly Circus scene, in this movie, was Vic Armstrong, who would later be employed as the Stunt Coordinator in James Bond movies.
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John Landis wanted to use Elvis Presley's rendition of 'Blue Moon' on the soundtrack. This was always going to be problematic as Elvis' manager, Tom Parker, refused to license out any of his music. Sure enough, he refused to budge so Landis was obliged to use The Marcels' version of the song instead.
The little strip of skin flapping about on Griffin Dunne's face when the undead Jack visits David in the hospital was kept intact in the final cut, when it was found to have made Dunne's appearance far more convincing.
John Landis first came up with the story when he was a teenager, which he attributed the romantic subplot involving an attractive nurse.
John Landis's idea of the transformation was a visceral one, he wanted to portray the pain that is a direct consequence of such a significant bodily mutation over a short period of time. "I always thought if your body is gonna go through such a huge change, it's gonna hurt," Landis said. "I wanted it to be painful." When it came to the audience, he wanted to evoke in the spectators different emotions; the transformation had to be "horrifying, but also morbidly funny, funny peculiar and funny ha-ha; tragic, raw, terrible, tortuous, grotesque all of these things, yet fascinating rather than repulsive."
bringing the Werewolf's four-legged form to life was another challenge. A full animatronic character was immediately discarded, and a suit version was supposedly attempted but deemed unfeasible. Baker eventually got the inspiration from his own childhood games. He explained: "late one night, I was sitting in my living room and it came to me. I thought of a wheelbarrow race. So I stretched out my legs over the edge of a chair and my arms out in front, testing the balance, seeing if I could shift around while still holding my weight. Then I thought, 'what if we had a flat surface to support the weight -- like a diving board with wheels, where we could move it around and vary the height?" The concept became the base of the Werewolf rig, which combined a suit for the upper half of the Werewolf and a dolly for the lower half, with a slant board supporting the weight of the performer and the lower legs puppeteered with wires or rods. Devised by Doug Beswick, the system had a jointed waist that could bend naturally from side to side, and a counterweight in the rear section to decrease the weight the performer had to support. The suit included arm extensions and a cable-controlled head. Given the technique, it had to be shot with the appropriate camera angles. The two suit performers were Kevin Brennan (whose proportions served as reference for construction of the suit) and Brendan Hughes. Brennan "was a trained dancer who had this really strong torso so he could hold himself in there at this awkward angle," first assistant director David Tringham said, "and just be with his legs sticking out the end with nothing to support him really."
Rik Mayall and Adrian Edmondson were offered parts in the film after John Landis saw them perform on-stage and thought they were hilarious. Rik came to the set and got cast, but Adrian didn't believe Landis and never showed up.
This is the first movie to use the infamous medicine cabinet jump scare. This is a tense scene where we see our protagonist looking around for a killer or for some strange sort of danger; they go into the bathroom feeling like they found nothing; the open the medicine cabinet, and then when they close the cabinet you suddenly see the monster in the mirror. It happens at the beginning of this movie, when David closes the cabinet and sees the Zombified Jack for the first time. This scene has been copied in countless other movies; many movies from the Friday the 13th and Halloween franchises use this scene. The 2009 thriller Orphan copies it literally beat for beat!
In the scene where David walks outside of Alex's house to say goodbye to her when she is going to work at her job as a nurse, two things happen. First of all, a Jack Russell Terrier barks at him. Second of all, a orange tabby cat hisses at him. These two happenings could be considered the first tangible, or obvious, evidence that he is now a werewolf. Immediately after this, David realizes that he is locked out of Alex's house, symbolizing his growing separation from humanity (he is "locked out" of humanity).
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When David calls home, you can see that The Jam is written across the front of the call box.
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Peter Ellis (Bobby in Trafalgar Square) and John Salthouse (Bobby in cinema) both went on to play parts in the ITV police drama series The Bill (1984) from its beginning in 1984, Ellis playing Chief Superintendent Charles Brownlow until 2000 and Salthouse playing Detective Inspector Roy Galloway until 1987, with the two actors appearing in many scenes together.
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Included among the American Film Institute's 2000 list of the 500 movies nominated for the Top 100 Funniest American Movies.
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During the transformation, Kessler gets progressively hairier. Close-up shots of the hair growing were actually achieved with long hair pulled through urethane skin sections from behind an action that was filmed in reverse to achieve the desired effect.
When it came to showing the audience the actual Werewolf, John Landis had a precise set of ideas on its appearance. With the intention to visually distinguish his character from previous iterations of the concept, Landis wanted the beast to adhere to a concise, yet striking guideline.
Landis's script describes the beast vaguely, frequently refering to its "blazing eyes"; it also briefly says that "its wolfen features are twisted and demonic."
The head of the Werewolf was also designed to implement several features at specific angles. "It's also sculpted in a very angular way," Rick Baker said in an interview for Landis's own book, Monsters in the Movies. "The brows are very angular and there are 45° angles all through it. There is something scary about 45° angles."
After the back changes, Kessler's transforming body was represented by a fake foam rubber torso, used in combination with a new facial appliance including more lupine teeth, a brow piece, hair pieces and facial hair, as well as hand and arm appliances. The torso included an internal bone structure cast into the foam skin, as well as shoulder blades that were inclined at an angle. "That was the goofiest-looking stage," Baker admitted, "which fortunately went by pretty quickly. The face was still relatively human, but it had this thick, dark mane from the neck on back. It sort of reminded me of the 'goons' characters in the old Popeye cartoons. This make-up would be pretty together by lunchtime. David had the big rib cage and back on, hand appliances that only left him some use of his thumbs, the fur mane, the face and teeth and that's how he went to lunch. I have this hysterical memory of him trying to eat fish and chips all through all that and having a hard time of it."
John Landis wanted David and Jack to resemble astronauts to emphasize how out of place and alienated they were in East Proctor, so he kitted them out in red and green bubble jackets.
David Naughton recalled the zoo scene, "As for running naked around London Zoo, in the scene where I'm in the wolf cage, the only reassurance I had was that the wolves had just been fed. But the handlers still said there were to be no loud noises or fast moves. "OK," I said hopefully. "This will just be one take, so start rolling those cameras." We were supposed to be done by 9 am, but we overran. At one point, I looked up and said: "Wow! Why have you got all those extras over there?" They replied: "They're not extras the zoo's open."
David Naughton didn't know Griffin Dunne before doing this film, stating: "We were thrown together quickly. It turns out, when we finally met in London; we discovered we had a lot in common. He'd grown up in the same part of the world as me, in Connecticut. And it was just luck that we hit it off as well as we did. We became fast friends, and you just hope that that's the case when you work on a project that you like the other actors, and you're able to have a kind of chemistry. It helped being the only two Americans on the cast and crew. We were in it together."
Michael Beck was considered for the part of David Kessler after John Landis had seen him in The Warriors (1979). But PolyGram wouldn't allow him to be cast because of the critical and commercial failure of Xanadu (1980). Ironically, David Naughton and Griffin Dunne previously auditioned for the role of Sonny Malone in that film, but the part ultimately went to Beck.
Brian Glover and Rik Mayall, whose characters play chess with each other in the pub at the beginning of the film, later appeared together in Bottom: Gas (1991).
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David Naughton had no reason to believe making the horror-comedy classic would be anything but a stress-free and relaxing experience.
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Davids red puffa jacket is a nod to Little Red Riding Hood.
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The reason Cat Stevens wouldnt let John Landis have the rights to his song "Moon Shadow" is because he actually believes werewolves exist.
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A nurse suspects that David is Jewish after checking out his package, but Alex says that circumcision is no longer strictly a Jewish thing. In the dream sequence where the werewolf-Nazis kill David's family, a menorah is visible on one of the shelves in the background.
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David and Jack are Jewish, with Ashkenazi-sounding names and use a bit of Yiddish, and they're both from New York. A nurse suspects that David is Jewish after checking out his package, but Alex says that circumcision is no longer strictly a Jewish thing. In the dream sequence where the werewolf-Nazis kill David's family, a menorah is visible on one of the shelves in the background.
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Mr Collins live in Grover square . Frank Oz who plays Mr Collins does the voice of Grover on Seeaemee Street
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David's parents must not love him very much. His friend died being bitten by a wolf; and he almost died; and was left alone in a London hospital for a month. His parents should have come and gotten him; particularly if David is part of this tightly knit family like the movie presents it.
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One of the several films, in which a character and the actor or actress who portrays him or her, share the same name.
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The transformation process had to be achieved in a realistic, believable way, and was to be shot in bright light until the end of the scene -- where an immature Werewolf form (dubbed the 'man-beast') is shown in the darkness.
Baker obviously wanted to distance himself from the groundbreaking effects of The Howling, for which Dick Smith had suggested the use of bladders. Baker opted for sharp structural changes -- hard structures, instead of inflating ones, pushing from beneath the skin. Initially, Baker's intention was to build a full transforming animatronic able to perform a self-contained mutation. However, Landis wanted the sequence to focus on specific body parts one after the other for dramatic effect; as such, a series of 'Change-o-Parts' was instead devised.
Another demand from Landis regarding the transformation, was that the scene had to be shot in bright light. The resulting sheer complexity of the sequence dictated that it had to be shot last -- in the final week of production.
The 'Change-o-Parts', based on a cast of David Naughton's body, included the head, hands, legs, and back. Their skin was moulded in 'Smooth-on #724', a urethane compound with considerable stretching abilities (and also "delightfully unpredictable," according to sculptor Tom Hester). All of them functioned through similar principles. The pneumatic rams that caused the exterior structural changes were home-made air rams, with a large syringe at the operating end and one or more normal-sized syringes in the end that was internal to the puppet. The syringes faced each other, with needles replaced by plastic tubing. When the operator pushed the plunger on the operating end down, air pressure would push the smaller plunger out at the other end. An acrylic form representing the mutated shape was attached to the end of the smaller plunger. Thus, when the plunger was pushed out, the shape was pushed out against the skin, creating the change. Certain parts were also constructed as make-up appliances, and subtle changes were included in each stage of transformation.
When the transformation begins, Kessler snaps in sudden pain, and after undressing for the burning sensation, he looks at his right hand, which now sports a slightly discoloured appearance. The next shot of his face presents a subtle appliance on the underside of his nose, as well as loss of eyebrow hair (a choice derived from the fact wolves do not have them).
To ease filming given that Naughton was not a hairy person at all the transformation stages with most hair were filmed first, with hair being progressively trimmed to portray the earlier phases. Progressive stages of dentures were also used.
When Davids hand elongates, involved cable-controlled fingers and a pneumatic ram to achieve the actual stretching motion. The cables had to be able to slide within the arm, so that as the hand stretched they would maintain the ability to control the fingers. The hand was filmed as an insert, aligned with Naughton's own arm.
David Naughtons agent sent him to meet with John Landis, and that's really all it took. Normally an actor goes through a screen test but it was really won just by an interview. Landis was looking to cast "the two boys", as he called them. So Naughton got a chance to talk to him, describing him as a 'very funny, animated guy', giving him a script and said 'read this'. Naughton didnt know whether it actually clinched the job for him, but he told him how he had lived and studied acting in London how he had gone across Great Britain on a bicycle and rode around the Ring of Kerry in Ireland. Landis said, 'Hey, that's really interesting, because these guys are backpacking!' Naughton read the script, and there were a few sentences that said 'David turns into a werewolf and a transformation takes place.' And Naughton thought, 'Hmm, I wonder that's going to be like?'" Naughton added: "Overall, it was an amazing script, and when I talked to him the next day he said, 'Do you want to be a werewolf?' That's it, that's how easy it was."
Rick Baker and his crew started the process by making the molds. Naughton added: "Most people now know about the process, but at the time it was 'You want me to do what?!' First we did my arms, then my legs. Then I had to put my body into containers of quick drying cement. When it came time to do my head with different expressions, it was really claustrophobic. I said, 'Have you guys done this before?' And they said, 'Yeah, once!' We were doing things that had never been done before."
The crew always gave Naughton a hard time, he stated "but the British people were really polite and said things like, 'I can't believe you're having to do this, dear'. We shot at night and early mornings in the park and the zoo. It was closed then, but they were open in the morning at 9 am. We would try to get in the shot before the public would spot us. I'd say, 'Who are those people?' And they'd say, 'Oh that's the public, the zoo is open.' So yes, that was me naked with balloons in public. I was not one of those actors who said,' OK that's it, I'm done'. I was really a team player, which means I'd stay there and keep shooting until John was happy"
When asked what his favorite memory of the film was David Naughton revealed: "I'd been in London as a student five or six years before. Now I got to come back and make this movie. Wow! It was really exciting. I knew London already, but now here I was filming and it was a completely different experience. I actually got to live like a regular person as opposed to a student. I really enjoyed being there, and the whole experience was fun. Also there was the chemistry between myself and Griffin Dunne who played Jack. I think John Landis wanted to go with unknown people. Our chemistry and the fact that we looked like we were very unsuspecting and innocent victims made us perfect. He wanted to cast two guys that would get along and be credible as long-time friends. Here are two unsuspecting innocent guys who you don't really know and look what can happen to them out there!"
John Landis took 'Less is more' approach with how much he shows the werewolf and wanted the audience to somewhat create their own perception of how the werewolf looked like. He also admitted that due to technology restraints at the time, he couldn't show the werewolf as much as he wanted.
During the bar scene at the beginning of the film. The two chess players are played by Rik Mayall and Brian Glover. Glover would later go on to play Mayall's thuggish neighbour in the much loved British Sitcom "Bottom".
The guns that the Nazi werewolves use during the nightmare sequence are: Ingram Mac-11, IMI Uzi, Sterling MK. IV.
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Jack says his spirit is trapped in limbo until the werewolf that killed him's bloodline was severed...so back to the dawn of time no other werewolf in David's bloodline had taken a life before Jack, Shouldn't there be an army of ghouls, Possibly there are, but David just can't see the ones whose deaths he didn't personally cause or witness. Jack does imply he's been talking to other dead people even before David's first rampage. On a related note, if the victims of a werewolf are condemned to walk the Earth in Limbo, why didn't the other werewolf - the one who infected David - turn up as a ghost as well? Presumably he was attacked at some point in the past also, and David did get to personally witness his death. Does being shot dead as a werewolf not qualify as an "unnatural death", or is it that being killed in defense of one's latest victim is justifiable homicide, not murder?
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It's never outright stated that David and Jack are Jewish, but they have Ashkenazi-sounding names and use a bit of Yiddish, and they're both from New York. A nurse suspects that David is Jewish after checking out his package, but Alex says that circumcision is no longer strictly a Jewish thing. In the dream sequence where the werewolf-Nazis kill David's family, a menorah is visible on one of the shelves in the background.
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This is to wherwolf movies what Scream is to Halloween and Slasher movies, and what Cabin in the Woods is to the Evil Dead Movies.
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Kessler rolls over and falls on his back; there is a new facial make-up and a denser wig. To portray the grotesque and painful elongation of his body, Naughton laid inside a hole underneath the elevated set's floor, with only his head and arms (all in make-up) visible. A fake lupine body including torso and legs was applied and blended with his head and arms. The body had an inner armature able to bend at specific joints; rods attached to the hips and concealed by the floor were used to manipulate the legs. Baker only got the desired puppeteered animation after filming, when the crewmembers were trying to detach the rods from the puppet. The scenes, however, could not be reshot because they were tightly scheduled in the final week of production.
Baker's original intent was for David's features to directly mutate into those of the Werewolf a task that was actually more technically challenging than what was actually done but Landis opposed that idea. This created the difficulty of creating an aesthetically appropriate stage. "To have David's face, with everything else already closer to a wolf, would have looked dumb," Baker said. The problem was solved with further make-up applications on Naughton's face leaning towards lupine characteristics.
A full make-up appliance matching the final configuration of the first 'Change-o-Head' acted as a bridge between the two animatronic heads. Its main purpose was to show David's transformed eyes during the transformation, as Baker was worried that he could not build realistic enough eyes for the 'Change-o-Heads'; for that reason, he sculpted the heads based on a cast of Naughton's face with a pained expression, and had them appear with their eyes closed in pain. "I was worried about making eyes that look real enough," Baker recalled, "and getting the eye mechanism to work in this head that was gonna be stretching and moving. We purposedly closed the eyes in the Change-O-Head -- the eyes were squinting up in pain because I just knew it was gonna be a problem to make the eyes look right. The second head began from the first's final, changed configuration matched by the bridge-appliance. It was also designed to be asymmetrical -- an intended effect that was not shown in the final film. Baker explained: "one side is more human, one side is more wolf-like, and my thinking was you could start shooting on the human side, it would turn and then you'd get more out of the Change-o-Head. But we found out as we were shooting it, when we turned the head faster the more movement there was, [the more] you actually didn't see the stretching-out of the face, which was the kind of big payoff in this whole piece; so we ended up not using it that way with the turning. We ended up with just a straight profile [shot] with it kind of stretching and shaking as it grows out." Also included in the final cut was a straightforward frontal shot, which partially showed the asymmetrical details (including the subtle change in colouration on the nose). A partial head was built for the growing ear insert shot. Also built, but not actually used for the film, was also a third 'Change-o-Head' specifically designed to portray Kessler's oversized canines erupting from his gums.
The transformation scene ends with an immature Werewolf form, dubbed the 'man-beast' by the crew. Sculptor Tom Hester elaborated on its creation: "we had an additional casting of the body for the transformation scene, so we used that, folded it up into a crouched position and then just fabricated some foam arms and shoulders, and I think there was a head, [which] was another casting from the original wolf mould. I took that and carved it down, shrunk it down a little bit. It wasn't meant to be as big as the final Werewolf. So it was all just sort of cut and paste Polyfoam and then I put latex over the surface of it and laid hair on the body." The 'man-beast' was a rod puppet devoid of internal mechanisms, entirely maneuvered from beneath the elevated set.
After another stage of transformation with a body suit, and a further one with a hairier torso appliance, Kessler turns his head upwards and it mutates horrifyingly. This, for Landis, was the culminating moment of the transformation. "Purposedly, John wanted the head to change last," Baker explained. "He didn't want the head to change very much because he wanted the transformation to basically almost climax with the head change."
The head transformation constructed for the phase featured a fiberglass inner structure and mechanisms cast in water-extended resin (because the urethane skin had a plasticizer component that corroded plastic). Both heads featured expanding forms for the brow area, snout, and cheekbones. Unlike the other 'Change-o-Parts', the extending snout was operated through cable and sheath mechanisms. Through holes in the underskull, acrylic forms could be pushed outward to take the structural changes into effect. The first 'Change-o-Head' began from the apperance of the last make-up stage, and stretched up to its range.
Several different concepts were considered but discarded, including one by Craig Reardon.
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Three insert heads were also built: a hero animatronic head with complete cable-controlled functions, and two stunt heads used for shots of the attacks. The stunt head could be fitted with soft or hard teeth depending on the action it had to perform. For the heads, the jaw was a simple hand-grip caliper mechanism, with handles moved in opposite directions to open and close the jaw. For certain shots of the moving Werewolf up close, Baker puppeteered the stunt head while sitting on the moving camera dolly.
This movie makes the same mistake Halloween 2 does; and Scream 2; and many many movies featuring young people; that present them as having parents; but then make the parents totally negligent; they never check to see if their kids are ok; and leave them in the lurch as they struggle for their lives. David Kessler is presented here as having all American, loving parents; yet they never even give David a phone call in England as he lies in a hospital possibly dying; suffering from a near fatal wolf bite; his friend Jack dying from the same wolf. The parents don't seem to care; and yet we're supposed to think he's from this loving all american nuclear family. Same thing in Halloween 2; where Laurie Strode lies in a hospital possibly dying; and the serial killer comes to visit her before her parents do! Same thing happened in Scream 2; where Sidney Prescott fights of Ghostface yet again at Windsor college; and yet her father never calls her to see how she's doing. (And weirder yet she never considers leaving Windsor college where she's being stalked; even after the bodies start piling up). In all these movies were supposed to think the protagonists have these loving families; and yet they are stranded when they are fighting for their lives and the killer stalks them. That's because the filmmakers want them to have an All American Family that we can identify with so we can love them and consider them to be role model type characters; just like us; but they need their parents to be out of the action so the kids are fighting the monsters by themselves. In a way the parents are props in these movies; there at the beginning; but then they vanish until the conflict is resolved.
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The woman, who David runs into at the zoo, was not told that David Naughton would be nude, but she was told that a man would come out and say something.
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David Naughton said the transformation scene took six days to complete, roughly ten hours a day spent on applying the make-up, five hours on-set, and three hours of make-up removal. Because the make-up took so long to apply and remove, there was only enough time for one set-up a day. Rick Baker estimated that only half an hour of footage was shot during the entire week. The snout protrusion was the last shot to be filmed, and it did not include Naughton, but an animatronic head. In fact, it was the last shot of the production, and was conducted after the wrap party had been held, and the cast and crew started going home. Baker found that a little anti-climactic.
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All of the people gathered around the porno theater at the end, really thought there was a wild animal inside the theater. John Landis didn't tell any of them that it was fake, to get the right reaction out of everyone, so when it bursts out of the theater, some of the screams were genuine.
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The Werewolf was originally supposed to be shown only in sparse and quick cuts; for that reason, Baker intentionally sculpted it with a fixed expression. "That's one reason he's sculpted with an extreme kind of expression to begin with. I was worried that if we rely totally on the mechanism to make the expression that they would use a part when it isn't really making an expression -- you know, we'd shoot something but they'd cut in before or after when it was [emoting] so I thought if it's only going to be this long, let's make it look scary. No matter, even if we're not pulling any cables or doing anything." What Baker had not foreseen was that Landis would be so satisfied with the Werewolf that he decided to show the creature far more than originally intended. "I became enamored of Rick's work, so I showed it too much. I still think when I see the movie you see it too much. My favourite shot of it in the picture is the guy in the tube, when he collapses on the escalator and looks down, and the wolf enters like that at the bottom of the escalatorThat's my favourite shot because it looks so fucking big! Like 'what is that?' You know? And you don't really see it, but you see it. I like that."
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Griffin Dunne helped puppeteer the "zombified" version of his character Jack in the porno theater scene, saying his lines at the same time.
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The scene when the werewolf runs riot in Piccadilly Circus, was filmed at a busy intersection, when police stopped the normal traffic and the public. Everyone took their places, it was filmed with multiple cameras and it was all cleaned up within a half an hour. It was the first time in many years that filming had been allowed in Piccadilly Circus, due to lingering resentment over an unannounced smoke bomb, which Director Michael Winner set off while filming a scene for The Jokers (1967), after which he sped off in a taxi with the film magazine, while other members of the crew were arrested. However, John Landis' cordial experience in working with the Chicago Police on The Blues Brothers (1980) helped overcome official reluctance to approve the filming, especially as he had completely worked out a plan, using a scale model of the area, whereby traffic would be minimally disrupted.
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John Landis had a bit of a communication issue on the set with the effects crew. He told them to take the head of Inspector Villiers and throw it across the hood of a car. They looked at him in puzzlement, and after he picked up the head and threw it himself, they replied, "Oh, you mean the bonnet."
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In an interview with Mick Garris on "Take One", John Landis stated that in a preview, he included a scene, in which you saw more of how the three bums in the junkyard were killed. People reacted so strongly, and loudly for the rest of the preview, that he was afraid that people would miss some of the key plot points at the end of the film. He added that he felt it was a bad idea, because it might have made the movie stand out more.
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David Kessler (David Naughton) spends forty percent of the movie nude.
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The werewolf transformation is only about two minutes long.
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The werewolf either as Paddy Ryan (First werewolf) or David Naughton (David Kessler) has only 1 minute of screentime.
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Despite the movie being about a man who becomes a werewolf, David doesn't become a werewolf until fifty-nine minutes into the movie.
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The rifles that the police shoot and kill the werewolf with at the end was the L1A1 self-loading rifle with 7.62×51mm full metal jacket.
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It is unknown if Jack and all six of David's victims were free of the curse and able to move on to the afterlife after David gets shot to death.
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When David's victims are discussing with him in the porno theater, on how he should kill himself, one of them, Harry Berman, suggests he shoot himself with a gun, and at the end, when David is in werewolf form, he gets gunned down by the police.
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The scene where Alex is attacked through the hospital room window in David's dream-within-a-dream, bears uncanny resemblance to a scene from the horror anthology Dead of Night (1945), only in that film, the nurse is not attacked.
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The two main characters (David and Jack) die in reverse alphabetical order both by their characters' names (David and Jack) but by their real names (David and Griffin).
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