Trivia / An American Werewolf in London

  • Academy Award: Was awarded the first Oscar for Best Makeup in the year the category was established. The Oscar was presented by Vincent Price.
  • Creative Differences: 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, while Landis wanted a "four-legged hound from hell".
  • The Danza: David Naughton as David Kessler.
  • Defictionalization: The Slaughtered Lamb Pub. Except it's not anywhere in England, it's in Greenwich Village in New York City.
  • Dueling Movies: Both this and The Howling came out the same year and both feature a detailed, painful-looking Transformation Trauma sequence.
  • Enforced Method Acting:
    • A favorite ploy of John Landis. Extras in the zoo scene were told only that David Naughton was going to say a few words to them.
    • And that blade the dream Nazi zombie is holding up to David's neck was a real knife, held by an actor in a mask that seriously hampered his vision. Most of the fear was probably real there.
    • Rick Baker recalled with amusement doing this to Griffin Dunne. For the attack on Jack, Baker worked the werewolf head and had told Griffin about the fragility of the prop. During the first take, Griffin grabbed the prop's face and accidentally ripped the skin off.
      Rick Baker: So, I had to glue the foam back together, get it back on there. So, it's like "Okay, is that you wanna play it, Griffin, huh?" So, I just beat the crap out of him when we did the next shot. And he's, like, screamin' like a madman like he's supposed to, and we got some really good stuff.
    • All the people gathered around the porno theater at the end really thought there was a wild animal inside the theater. 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.
  • Magnum Opus: This is John Landis' favourite film of his own.
  • Production Posse: The inhabitants of "The Slaughtered Lamb" were described by Griffin Dunne as "half the cast, practically, of Nicholas Nickleby" (the 1980 RSC play adaptation) — notably Lila Kaye (Gladys) played Mrs. Squeers and Mrs. Crummles and John Woodvine (Dr. Hirsch) played Ralph Nickleby.
  • Referenced by...: Bryan Singer has confirmed that the scene when Angel transforms into Archangel in X-Men: Apocalypse was inspired by An American Werewolf in London.
  • Throw It In:
    • Griffin Dunne and David Naughton improvised saying goodbye to the sheep at the beginning.
    • 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.
  • Unintentional Period Piece: 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".
  • What Could Have Been:
    • Universal wanted Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi to play the leads, but John Landis refused as he wanted to use new faces and because they were busy working on Neighbors which they wanted Landis to direct.
    • In its earliest incarnation, Landis had wanted Donald Sutherland for his lead. Landis had worked with Sutherland on the set of Kelly's Heroes, which is where he got the idea for a werewolf movie in the first place.

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