Wednesday, 19 October 2016

#Halloween A Mini Tour of Horror Movie #London No.3: An American Werewolf in London

From the archive: DC Editor Adam writes… with 13 days to go to Halloween, we're hard at work preparing for our annual festival of London Ghost tours – all four London Walks ghost tours go out on Halloween. To mark the season, I've been digging around in the Halloween archive and today I'll be sharing three self-guided mini tours of horror movie locations in London.

I started with 28 Days Later and next up was The Omen. Number three is An American Werewolf in London. And when you scroll down to the bottom of the post you'll find the new NEW London Walks Halloween Podcast and all the details of our Halloween ghost tours…



A Horror Movie Mini-Tour of London No.3 An American Werewolf in London (1981)



It takes a pretty special project to be a successful spoof, a genuinely shocking horror and a bloody good movie all at the same time. Pun most definitely intended.

An American Werewolf in London has a special resonance here at the London Walks blog: it teems with London locations; and our protagonist is bitten by a werewolf on (gulp) a walking tour…

Okay, it’s not a guided walking tour like a London Walks guided walking tour, but we take no risks. Have you ever noticed that your London Walks guide is usually toting a bag of some description? Ever wondered what’s in it? Well wonder no more…

• Stake & mallet

• Rosary

• Garlic

• Gun with Silver Bullets

• Ample copies of the London Walks leaflet which, through a cunning combination of origami and Jianzhi (a traditional Chinese method of paper cutting known to all London Walks guides) can be fashioned into all of the above as well as being most absorbent when treating werewolf bites




In writer/director John Landis’s 1981 film, Jack Goodman (Griffin Dunne) stalks the streets of London on a murderous rampage, leading a lycanthropic double life that is not without its lighter moments (!). 

The scene in the wolf enclosure at London Zoo, where Jack wakes up stark naked after a night of shapeshifting and carnage is particularly memorable. In an attempt to cover his nudity, Jack takes some balloons from a schoolboy. The little boy’s memorable deadpan complaint to the nearest (clothed) adult remains one of my favourite lines in any movie: 


“A naked American man stole my balloons.”

Here's the trailer…




For those of you as obsessed with London-spotting in the movies as I am, An American Werewolf… is a particular joy. The usual suspects are here, of course: Trafalgar Square, Piccadilly Circus and the rest. But I'd like to pick two out-of-the-way locations which have an added advantage, namely…

You can swing by these locations from An American Werewolf in London after taking a walk with An American Tour Guide In London. Our very own London Walks Pen and Daily Constitutional Special Correspondent David Tucker leads his Hampstead & Kensington walking tours close by these locations…


One of the gorier scenes is set on Hampstead Heath, with Well Walk featuring in the build-up…

(Spoiler alert? Well, the smart money was always on the werewolf…)




Redcliffe Square in Kensington stars as the exterior of Nurse Alex Price's flat (as played by Jenny Agutter)…



(As you can see from the map above, Brompton Cemetery is also very near by. Brompton Cemetery features in the new episode of the London Walks Halloween Podcast at the foot of this post.)

But it is perhaps the chase scene at Tottenham Court Road Underground station that is of most value to us today, given just how much that station has changed in the intervening 34 years. Here's how Tottenham Court Road looked before the installation of the Paolozzi mosaics…








The NEW London Walks Halloween Podcast is here…







A London Walk costs £10 – £8 concession. To join a London Walk, simply meet your guide at the designated tube station at the appointed time. Details of all London Walks can be found at www.walks.com.









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