An American Werewolf in London is arguably the best werewolf movie ever made. It’s a perfect blend of comedy and horror that never sacrifices one for the other. It also features the greatest werewolf transformation scene put to film. A remake has been threatened for a while but it’s finally become official. The big twist is the person behind the remake.
Max Landis, son of An American Werewolf in London writer/director John Landis, is writing and directing this new version. Admittedly, there is a shocking element of hubris to this news. However, it’s also kind of charming to see a studio remake be handled by the original creator’s son. All of that aside, how does Max Landis feel for this kind of project?
Max Landis’s An American Werewolf in London
For starters, this will be his second directorial effort after the romantic comedy Me Him Her. That film was purposefully flamboyant. Will An American Werewolf in London be as in-your-face and loud? Looking at Landis’s other films like Chronicle and American Ultra, it’s possible that he could handle the horror aspects well. His script for the unmade Chronicle sequel has some great moments of unexpected horror. It’s the comedy part that has me worried. An American Werewolf in London doesn’t need to have a hyperkinetic sense of humor. It needs to be relatable and even a tad understated. Some of the funniest moments from the original involve horribly disfigured corpses carrying on as if nothing was wrong.
The biggest concern comes with the effects. Rick Baker‘s work in the original film has still been unmatched. It would be great if Landis was willing to use his position as director to reaffirm the importance that practical effects has on this movie. CGI werewolf transformations are rarely great. Bringing back practical effects would be both respectful and reinvigorating.
Good Remake, Bad Remake
It’s always easy to get up in arms when a classic film is getting remade. It happens more often than it should. However, it is unlikely that the remake will ruin what came before. Usually, everyone forgets the mediocre or bad remakes. Nobody is talking about Ben-Hur anymore. Or Total Recall. Or RoboCop. Heck, even Ghostbusters faded from the conversation. If this remake doesn’t work, we’ll move along to the next one. If Landis can bring something great to the table, then we all win. No reason not to give him a chance.
If nothing else, this should get a new generation watching the original. An American Werewolf in London is a true classic of the genre that holds up to this day. It’s funny, horrifying, and even moving by the film’s end. The werewolf and makeup effects are top notch. The acting is pitch perfect. And John Landis’s direction brings it all together. It’s a tough standard to live up to. Hopefully, the younger Landis will give us something worthy of the original.
No word on this project’s timeline. We’ll keep you posted. We’re definitely keeping an eye on this one.