Wakefield CAMRA Homepage                                              Ale on DVD Index                                           Bob Wallis (reviewer)


  Beer on DVD  no43 An American Werewolf in London

    The pub in this comic horror tale is The Slaughtered Lamb,

Ever walked into a pub where you didnít exactly feel welcome? This 1981 classic movie starts with American lads Jack and David on the first leg of a hike around Europe who stumble out of the rain into a pub on the Yorkshire Moors called The Slaughtered Lamb. Here the locals including Brian Glover and Rik Mayall have a deep seated fear of any strangers discovering their dark dreads. The signpost that leads the lads to East Proctor also points to Erwood which is actually between Builth Wells and Brecon (in that area you do get mountains with pointed tops), where those moorland scenes were actually filmed. The exterior of the Slaughtered Lamb was actually a private house in Crickadarn 6 miles S.E. of Builth, dressed up to look like a pub, although the phonebox and churchyard are real.

David: Why else would they have a severed fox head on a spear as their symbol?

Jack: That's a wolf's head.

David: Of course, The Slaughtered Lamb. Why else would they have a severed wolf's head on a spear as their symbol?

Jack: That's not a spear. It's a pike.

David: A severed wolf's head on a pike as their symbol.

The pub interior uses part of the Black Swan in Ockham near Guildford. Yes, the Slaughtered Lamb boasts at least one cask ale, and by the wonders of the pause button itís Martlet Brighton Bitter (brewery at Eastbourne 1979-1983)!

Itís not really credible that after his pal Jack has been gored to death, our wounded ďheroĒ David should taken not to somewhere like Leeds Infirmary but to a hospital in London. Also his doctor (Hirsch) who later happens to be in the area and checks out the village of East Proctor does manage to get back to London in his hard-top MGB pretty darn quick. David is cared for first in hospital, then at her flat by a delicious nurse Jenny Agutter.

Having been bitten by a werewolf, things will of course happen to David at full moon. The film contains what's reckoned to be the best werewolf transformation of all time, a must see even if you aren't a horror fan.You can view it at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UFLQS12z8K4. Remember this is before the CGI effects that we are now so used to.

One of my favourite quotes is from a small boy in his school uniform on a Sunday morning near Regents Park Zoo where David has woken up, back in human form, in a wolf cage: "A naked American man stole my balloons." Also in the credits: ďany resemblance to actual persons living, dead, or undead, is purely coincidentalĒ

You get three Blue Moons for your money, by Bobby Vinton, Sam Cooke (transformation scene), and the 2Ĺ million-selling do-wap version by The Marcels with the sonorous bass voice of Ted Smith.

Apparently the Weinstein Company are on track to do a remake in the next couple of years (canít think why Ė could bomb like the recent remake of Carrie), but how can they replace Jenny Agutter of the red flannel petticoats Ė didnít know she could be sooooo sexy. The ending does seem a bit abrupt, as if they panicked because they were running out of film stock (just over 1Ĺ hours for the main movie).

A new dvd could cost you around a fiver or you may get it used from under £3. Itís scary, itís funny and itís a movie where youíll spot something new each time you watch. Pubgoing will never be quite the same either. Do try to get a widescreen rather than a full-screen version, and itís also worth connecting up your digital theater sound if you have it. My version is Region 1 and cost me an amazing £1.99 from Thatís Entertainment Ė be careful if you donít have a multi-region player! It has a cracking load of extras, too.

to be printed in O-to-K , 2014  text ©RKW 2013