Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Awesome Horror Streams for Hallowe'en Screams on Roku - DAY 31: An American Werewolf In London (1981)


Well, Boils & Ghouls... the BIG DAY has arrived !! Yes, October 31st is here at last and FINALLY we can REALLY get into the spirit of things (ahem!) and celebrate HALLOWE'EN in fine style !! Of course, this also means that the Countdown To Hallowe'en 2017 is now over, and this will be the last post in my month-long blogathon of "Awesome Horror Streams for Hallowe'en Screams On Roku"!

So, let's begin 'Day Thirty-One' of  "Awesome Horror Streams for Hallowe'en Screams on Roku" by bringing you my last pick of the fright flicks from the carefully curated catalogue of macabre movies available via the 'Shudder UK' streaming service - which, like all those before it, can be streamed to your TV using the magic of Roku player - so, let's dim the lights... and enjoy some more frights! :-O

If you read my Hallowe'en blogathon preview - FOUND HERE - published on 30th September, then you will know that I've been posting one Hallowe'en / Horror related article every day, throughout the month of October, each featuring one horror movie from the current 'Shudder UK' content library. With recommendations for thirty-one of the best fright flicks I could find, this means you should now have plenty of great choices for your macabre movie viewing while you celebrate Hallowe'en tonight as well as providing some top-notch cinematic scares to enjoy over the coming weeks and months! ;-)

Stay on the Road. Keep clear of the moors. Beware the moon... 
David Naughton in "An American Werewolf In London" (1981) - PHOTO CREDIT: IMDb.com

For my thirty-first and final instalment in this series of posts I'm going to suggest one last movie from the United States but, this time, directed by John Landis and first released in 1981 under the original title of "An American Werewolf In London" but, although it comes from the same guy who directed "Animal House", this monster movie (a masterpiece of terror) presents a different kind of animal! ;-)
Based on a screenplay also written by the director, John Landis, that came about following his tenure as a "Go-fer" for the production of "Kelly's Heroes" (1970) in the (then) Yugoslavian countryside. An incident occurred, while driving along a country road, which resulted in his witnessing the funeral of a gypsy. The cadaver was being buried in a massively deep grave, feet first, and was wrapped from head to toe in garlic, so that the body would not rise from the dead... and somehow this strange ritual sparked what was to become the cult classic which I am recommending to you today! :-O :-)

"An American Werewolf In London" (1981) [British Quad Poster]

Anyway, it tells the story of David Kessler (David Naughton) and Jack Goodman (Griffin Dunne), a couple of college students from the USA, who are backpacking around Britain when they are attacked by what seems to be a large wolf-like creature. David manages to survive the mauling, though he does get bitten, but Jack is brutally killed. The creature that attacked them is killed, but somehow reverts to human form, and the local townspeople are unwilling to acknowledge it's existence. As David heals in hospital, he is plagued by nightmares of his mutilated friend, Jack, who warns David he's becoming a werewolf. Other victims appear to him, demanding he release them from their curse, as they each find themselves trapped between worlds on account of their unnatural deaths. When David learns the truth about his (and their) situation(s), he contemplates committing suicide before the next full moon causes him to transform from man into murderous beast! :-O

"An American Werewolf In London" (1981) [Contemporary Artwork by Neal Russler]

If you haven't seen the film before, here is a brief taster in the shape of a trailer for this cult classic comedy horror, courtesy of a video uploaded by 'MovieTrailerFan 1980 to their 'YouTube' channel:-

If you'd like to know more... there's a full list of the cast & credits on the Internet Movie Database (IMDB) listing for "An American Werewolf In London" (1981), FOUND HERE, which also includes a full storyline / plot summary as well as box office stats, technical specs & much more. For die-hard fans, there's more to be had from Wikipedia on "An American Werewolf In London" (1981) info for which is available VIA THIS LINK, and may help to fuel your appetite for (yet) another screening. Although if you're as much a fan of this werewolf movie as I am, or enjoy fantasy horror interwoven with dark comedy, it probably won't take too much persuading for you to watch this film again! ;-) :-)

Griffin Dunne as 'Jack Goodman' in "An American Werewolf In London" (1981)
PHOTO CREDIT: Cryptic Rock

Anyway... you probably guessed already but, if not, this film (like the others from this series of posts) is also available via the 'Shudder' streaming service and can be easily viewed on any Roku device via their dedicated channel (app) for these streaming media players. There's another opportunity for UK viewers to see "An American Werewolf In London" (1981), via subscription video on-demand, which comes courtesy of a free-to-stream option for 'Prime Video' members through 'Amazon Video' that can again be enjoyed on Roku via the 'Amazon Video' channel. Additionally, if you're not a 'Prime' member, there are also multiple purchase options from 'Amazon UK', so feel free to simply "Rent" this cult classic for £2.49 (SD) / £3.49 (HD) or else "Buy & Keep" it for £5.99 (SD) / £6.99 (HD) - the choice is entirely yours. Having said that, I'd suggest looking at possible alternatives before parting with any money... because there may be some free sources online that offer file formats compatible with Roku. However, as my idea for this month-long blogathon was to suggest thirty-one Hallowe'en / Horror movies from  'Shudder UK', I recommend you stream it via their channel! :-)

If you haven't already added it to your channel selection, you will find "Shudder" listed among the "Film & TV" channels in the "Official" Roku UK Channel Store. You can easily install it on your Roku by navigating to the built-in 'Channel Store' (accessed via "Streaming Channels" from the home screen on your Roku device) and scrolling through the options until you see the channel icon (pictured above). It's completely FREE-TO-ADD so, once you've located it in the list of channels, just click the "OK" button on your Roku remote to select it and then click "OK" again where it says 'Add channel' to install it on your Roku player(s). Having done that, it's simply a case of launching the channel via the 'Go to channel' option and navigating the on-screen menu to log-in (if you already have an account, but haven't yet done so) or start your free trial (if you are new to the service) and, once you see 'Shudder TV' playing on the screen, just push the "DOWN" arrow on your Roku remote to get to the main menu... from where you can 'Search' for "An American Werewolf In London", then press 'OK' on your remote to select and 'Play' this cult dark comedy horror which runs to 1h 37mins.

LINK TO WATCH 'An American Werewolf In London' (1981) VIA 'SHUDDER UK' WEBSITE

Unfortunately for Roku users in the United States, this film is (currently) not available for streaming via the 'Shudder' service in the USA... although, options to rent "An American Werewolf In London" (1981) for only USD $1.99 (SD) or USD $2.99 (HD) do exist from either 'Google Play Movies & TV' or 'Fandango Now' which can then be watched on your TV through their respective Roku channels. Conversely, there's good news for Canadian streamers because, as in the UK, this film can also be streamed via the 'Shudder' subscription service in Canada. However, should you prefer to rent this film (rather than subscribe to watch it) there are no Roku-compatible services through which to stream this movie in Canada. That said, as suggested for UK Roku users above, there could well be one or two other streaming resources you can use, so it might be best to check for free alternatives online if you're not eligible for a 'Shudder' trial. Should you get stuck, trying to find a compatible stream, just message me via Twitter: @ukrokuchannels and I'll try to sort out a link for you! ;-) :-)

David Naughton as 'David Kessler' in "An American Werewolf In London" (1981)

Meanwhile, for that full cinema experience, here's a few movie posters and other related images film fans in 1981 (or more recently) would've encountered depending on their location around the world:

"An American Werewolf In London" (1981) [USA Poster]

"An American Werewolf In London" (1981) [Finnish Poster]

"An American Werewolf In London" (1981) [French Poster]
PHOTO CREDIT: Mauvais-Genres

"An American Werewolf In London" (1981) [German Poster]

"An American Werewolf In London" (1981) [Italian Poster]
PHOTO CREDIT: CineMaterial

"An American Werewolf In London" (1981) [Japanese Poster #1]
PHOTO CREDIT: Vintage Movie Posters

"An American Werewolf In London" (1981) [Japanese Poster #2]

"An American Werewolf In London" (1981) [Alternative Poster]

"An American Werewolf In London" (1981) [PolyGram Records Poster]

"An American Werewolf In London" (1981) [Blu-Ray Front Cover]
PHOTO CREDIT: Horror Freak News

"An American Werewolf In London" (1981) [Special Screening Poster]
Produced for Capitol Theater - Cleveland, Ohio

"An American Werewolf In London" (1981) [Thai Poster]
PHOTO CREDIT: Monster Brains

"An American Werewolf In London" (1981) [Universal Studios Poster]
Produced for Halloween Horror Nights 2014
PHOTO CREDIT: Truly Disturbing

"An American Werewolf In London" (1981) [USA Insert Poster]

"An American Werewolf In London" (1981) [USA Poster]

"An American Werewolf In London" (1981) [USA Lobby Card #1]

"An American Werewolf In London" (1981) [USA Lobby Card #2]

"An American Werewolf In London" (1981) [Contemporary Poster by Jidé]
Based on an Original Painting by Daryl Joyce

"An American Werewolf In London" (1981) [Contemporary Poster #2]

"An American Werewolf In London" (1981) [Contemporary Poster #3]

"An American Werewolf In London" (1981) [Advance Teaser Poster]
PHOTO CREDIT: Ha-Ha, It's Burl!

"An American Werewolf In London" (1981) [Contemporary Poster #4]

"An American Werewolf In London" (1981) [Contemporary Poster by Jidé]

"An American Werewolf In London" (1981) [Contemporary Poster #5]
PHOTO CREDIT: Beyond Horror Design

"An American Werewolf In London" (1981) [Contemporary Poster #6]

"An American Werewolf In London" (1981) [Contemporary Poster #7]

Finally, to round-off this thirty-first and final instalment in my month-long Hallowe'en blogathon on 'Day Thirty-One' in the 'Countdown To Halloween' for 2017, here's a somewhat extended batch of my FRIGHTENINGLY FUN FILM FACTS... for example: did you know that only four American work permits were requested of the British government for this production: one for Director John Landis, another for Make-up Artist Rick Baker, plus the two actors David Naughton and Griffin Dunne. The first three of these work permits were granted by the British government without question... however, the British office of Actors' Equity queried the necessity of a work permit for Griffin Dunne, claiming that there were already plenty of young American actors living in Great Britain, who could portray the role of Jack Goodman. It was only when Director and Screenwriter Landis threatened to re-write the script, and re-title the movie "An American Werewolf in Paris", that the equity office reconsidered the application and granted Griffin Dunne his work permit! Having secured all the necessary permits, John Landis needed to determine the right location... he apparently wanted bad weather for the movie and so deliberately chose to shoot the movie during February & March. According to the production notes, the Welsh town of Crickadarn had snow, sleet, rain, and extensive sunshine, all in one day... so the tiny village is what they settled on for the location of "East Proctor". Meanwhile, the "pub" which features in the film, "The Slaughtered Lamb", was actually a cottage located in Crickadarn. If you'd like to visit the location, you'll find it about six miles southeast of Builth Wells, Wales, off the A470. The "Angel of Death" statue seen outside "The Slaughtered Lamb" was a prop added just for the film, but the red phone box was real enough... and the Welsh road signs had to covered by a fake tree! :-)

"An American Werewolf In London" (1981) [The Slaughtered Lamb - Pub Sign]

While one of the taglines used to promote the film was: "Beware the moon..." this clearly wasn't what the director did when selecting songs for the soundtrack of the movie... because, most of the tunes to feature on it actually included the word "moon" in their title! Despite this, there were three recordings that John Landis originally wanted on the soundtrack, but was unable to use: he fought long and hard to secure the rights to the Cat Stevens song "Moon Shadow" for the film but, because the film dealt with the supernatural, the undead and werewolves, as well as for the graphic violence (at that time)... Cat Stevens, who had since converted to Islam and changed his name to 'Yusef Islam', refused Landis' request. Apparently, he objected to the themes and subject matter, and didn't want his song connected to the film in any way. John Landis found this hilarious because, as he pointed out, "Moon Shadow" is actually about killing and dismemberment. However, while John Landis might have felt that the song was perfect for his movie, Cat Stevens clearly had other ideas! Similarly, Bob Dylan wouldn't allow his version of "Blue Moon" to be used in an R-rated film, given he had just begun his own brief conversion to Christianity. The third song to elude Landis' efforts to include it on the soundtrack was Elvis Presley's version of "Blue Moon"... which was unavailable, due to the ongoing lawsuits over the estate of 'The King'. Although they might not have been his preferred versions of the song, Landis did manage to find three versions of "Blue Moon" that he was able to use for the soundtrack: the first was featured in the opening credits, performed by Bobby Vinton; the second version to feature was during David's first transformation, as performed by Sam Cooke; while the third was in the closing credits of the movie by... and performed by The Marcels. Speaking of which, here is another original trailer for this cult classic: the only version to feature the "Blue Moon" theme by 'The Marcels', which comes to you courtesy of the extras included on the 'Limited Edition' Australian Blu-Ray of the film, that was kindly uploaded by 'FILM MAKER' through their 'YouTube' channel:-

Another treat for audiophiles is the 1997 re-recording of "An American Werewolf In London" that was produced by 'Audio Movies Limited' for 'BBC Radio 1' and broadcast during Hallowe'en that same year. This radio dramatisation, which aired in short snippets throughout the day, was notable because it saw Brian Glover, John Woodvine and Jenny Agutter reprise their roles from the movie. Fortunately for us, this recording has been preserved and made available online thanks to an upload from the 'Cosmic Creepers' through their 'YouTube' channel, which can also be streamed on Roku:-

The entire radio drama (as featured above) runs to around one hour and forty-nine minutes, if you are planning to give it a listen... and I can thoroughly recommend you do because it's a superb audio recording which, while based on the original film script by John Landis, provides an entirely different experience that will appeal equally to fans of radio plays / audio dramas, as it will to fans of the film. So, if you're looking for some aural pleasure as the nights draw in, turn down the lights and get comfy then give this BBC radio dramatisation of "An American Werewolf In London" a listen - it's great! ;-)

While I'm still on the subject of audio... it might interest you to know that the werewolf howl used for the film, was (apparently) a combination of sound recordings from a wolf and an elephant. Producer George Folsey, Jr. claimed in Beware the Moon: Remembering 'An American Werewolf in London', a documentary released in 2009, that the howl had been played backwards. John Landis also stated in the documentary that the howl was a combination of seven or eight different animals although, what is known for certain, is that the audio track of the werewolf roars (during the infamous transformation scene, when David's screaming evolves into a series of monstrous roars) is the same track used in the opening scene of Michael Jackson: Thriller (1983). Speaking of the now deceased pop icon, it is said Michael Jackson was so bowled over by the movie (especially the make-up and visual effects) that he insisted on hiring the responsible personnel for his planned music video to his soon-to-be-famous hit single "Thriller". When John Landis agreed to direct (his first music video), he brought on board his foremost "werewolf" crew, including Robert Paynter (Cinematography), Elmer Bernstein ("creepy" music), Rick Baker (SFX Make-Up), and his wife Deborah Nadoolman (Costume Design).

Other interesting tidbits of trivia include the fact this was the first film to earn an Academy Award for "Best Make-Up". Rick Baker was the first make-up artist to receive an Oscar in what was an entirely new category for 'The Oscars', and only created in 1981. As such, it could even be argued that it was because of this film that make-up and industry technological contributions became recognized by the Academy Awards. What is known for certain, is that this movie is one of only two werewolf films to win the 'Academy Award' for "Best Make-Up". To his credit, Rick Baker won both times, the second being for The Wolfman (2010). It wasn't always make-up that was relied upon for "special" effects though... because, in the opening scene of the movie, which depicts the two young American friends: David Kessler (David Naughton) and Jack Goodman (Griffin Dunne) on a walking tour of Yorkshire, it was the cold and dampness of the location which caused Dunne's nose to run! Apparently, while he was delivering a line of dialogue, Naughton glanced over at Dunne then saw him catching and wiping away a "stream of snot" from his nose. Naughton laughed at the sight of Dunne's discomfort, causing Dunne to laugh as he tried to respond to Naughton's line of dialogue. The spontaneity of the shot, and the largely improvised scene, led to John Landis using that "imperfect" shot in the film's release print!


Still, that's all I've got time for today... and sadly that's all for this year, too, but do remember to come back next year, for the followup to "Awesome Horror Streams for Hallowe'en Screams on Roku" and whatever Hallowe'en treats I can find for you in 2018, right here on this blog. Meanwhile... please be sure to visit the Countdown To Hallowe'en website and continue to show your support for this annual online Hallowe'en extravaganza PLUS don't forget to use the links you find there and check out all the other 'Cryptkeepers' who took part this time, as well as in previous years. I know they will all appreciate it, if you visit their blogs and share your thoughts on the contribution(s) they've made! ;-)


ONE LAST THING, BEFORE I GO: Don't forget that, aside from the Hallowe'en / Horror-themed ghastliness that's been going on around these parts over the past month, you can also follow all the regular UK Roku action (as it happens) via the companion Twitter Feed: @ukrokuchannels where up-to-the-minute info on all things Roku-related is posted on a daily basis (well, almost)! ;-) :-)

Until the next time, then...

That's all folks !!

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