Director John Landis‘ An American Werewolf in London is one of the greatest horror-comedies of all time. Equal parts scary and satirical, the 1981 film still boasts the single best werewolf transformation in all of cinema history. Now, according to the Hollywood Reporter, John Landis’ own son Max Landis, best known for being the writer of the films Chronicle and American Ultra, is set to remake his own father’s horror masterpiece.
The younger Landis will direct the feature film for Universal Pictures, and will write the screenplay as well. The Walking Dead creator Robert Kirkman and David Alpert, who executive produce the hit AMC television show, are also coming on board to produce. There is still no expected release date for the movie as of yet.
The original film was about two American tourists, played by David Naughton and Griffin Dunne, who get attacked by werewolves during a backpacking trip to the English moors. Naughton’s character survives the werewolf attack, but his friend isn’t so lucky. Dunne keeps appearing to him in dreams as an animated, yet still mutilated, corpse, warning him that he’s going to turn into a werewolf when the moon is full. The rest happens pretty much as you would expect it to.
The special effects for this film were done by a young Rick Baker, who won his first Academy Award for this movie, and they still stand as the most awesome and detailed werewolf transformation sequences ever. The film was so beloved by Michael Jackson that he recruited both Landis and Baker to work on the music video for Thriller, for which they produces a similarly epic werewolf transformation.
This is the latest in a long line of horror classics from the ’70s and ’80s, arguably the genre’s second “golden age,” to get a remake, so it’s really hard to get bent out of shape at this point. I suppose that Max Landis has the ear of his father while creating this film, so he’s got more insight available into what made the original work probably than any other filmmaker ever would, which is a pretty big advantage.
One thing the new movie has to get right are how the werewolf effects are done. I’m certainly not anti-CGI, but we’ve seen enough bad computer generated werewolves over the years, starting with the awful sequel to the original film, An American Werewolf in Paris. A good practical werewolf transformation is still going to be a million times cooler than anything CGI.
Also, casting is very important. One thing that sets apart the horror films of the ’70s and ’80s is that the young people still looked like actual people, and not catalog models. Starting with Scream, actors in horror movies have become so smooth and beautiful as to look like they’re cut from cream cheese. No one is allowed to have flaws in horror films anymore, and it always makes the entire thing seem too polished, and therefore, phony. Hopefully this new version casts actors and not just pretty faces. We have Teen Wolf for that.
What do you want to see in an American Werewolf remake? Or would you just rather they leave well enough alone? Let us know your thoughts down below in the comments.
Image: Universal Pictures
How The Exorcist possessed the world