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An Evening with the Makers of An American Werewolf in London

An American Werewolf in London
October 26, 2013 - 7:30 pm
Rick Baker, George Folsey Jr., Deborah Nadoolman Landis, John Landis.

The moon seemed perennially full on screen in the 1980s, a decade that saw more than its share of classic---and not-so-classic---werewolf movies including Wolfen (1981), The Howling petrology (1981-1989), The Company of Wolves (1984), Silver Bullet (1985) and Teen Wolf (1985), to name a few.  Towering above them all is writer-director John Landis’ An American Werewolf in London (1981).  A defining film of the era, American Werewolf proved wildly successful thanks to Landis’ deft balance of comedy and horror, while Rick Baker’s Academy Award–winning makeup effects set the bar for technical mastery.  The film’s influence can be felt in the work of next generation filmmakers such as Edgar Wright (Shaun of the Dead) but its impact extends well beyond movies.  

The Archive is thrilled to present both this seminal title, An American Werewolf in London, on 35mm with Landis, Baker, producer George Folsey Jr. and costume designer Deborah Nadoolman Landis in person. As an added bonus, with the consent of The Estate of Michael Jackson, the Archive will also present on 35mm, Michael Jackson’s Thriller, the short film which reunited Landis and his creative team from American Werewolf to contribute to another landmark, genre-bending work that helped transform the art of the music video forever.

The screening will be preceded by a 6:30 p.m. signing of the book, “Hollywood Costume,” by Deborah Nadoolman Landis.

An American Werewolf in London (1981)

Directed by John Landis

“Beware the moon, lads.”  From an eerie country pub, across the foggy moors and straight into the heart of London’s Piccadilly Circus, director John Landis’ wised-up, suped-up grisly romp through lycanthrope lore remains one of the best, if not the best, werewolf movies of all time.  For every jaw-dropping monster effect, courtesy of Rick Baker, there’s an equally memorable, character-driven line---”I didn't mean to call you a meatloaf, Jack!”---as an American backpacker (James Naughton) falls prey to the beast’s curse.

Universal Pictures.  Producer: George Folsey Jr.  Screenwriter: John Landis.  Cinematographer: Robert Paynter. Art Director: Leslie Dilley. Costume Designer: Deborah Nadoolman. Special Make-up Effects Designer and Creator: Rick Baker. Editor: Malcolm Campbell.  Cast: David Naughton, Jenny Agutter, Griffin Dunne, John Woodvine, David Schofield. 

35mm, color, 97 min.

Watch the trailer below.

Preceded by

"Michael Jackson's Thriller" (1983)

Directed by John Landis

Awarded in 1989 the MTV Video Vanguard Award for being “The Greatest Video in the History of the World,” the short film for Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” remains the undisputed champ for its fusion of pure pop and cinematic joy. This short film is the first (and only) music video ever to be inducted by the Library of Congress’ National Film Registry, a select collection of films of "enduring importance to American culture."

Producer: George Folsey Jr., Michael Jackson, John Landis.  Cinematographer: Robert Paynter. Art Director: Charles Hughes. Costume Designer: Deborah Nadoolman, Kelly Kimball. Choreographer: Michael Jackson, Michael Peters. Special Make-up Effects Designer and Creator: Rick Baker. Editor: Malcolm Campbell, George Folsey Jr.  Cast: Michael Jackson, Ola Ray, Vincent Price.

35mm, color, 13 min.