John Landis had this crazy idea that he could make a horror movie, combine it with some side-splitting humor, and use one of the oldest monster movie creatures in the book and people would actually want to see it in the slasher crazed 80's. Well, thankfully, some other folks were just as crazy and gave him the greenlight to make this, the mother of all werewolf movies.
Dave and Jack are two swingin American college students on a back-packing tour of Europe. The two get sidetracked in the northern England moors and are attacked by an "escaped lunatic" that looks an awful lot like a big dog. Jack is torn to shreds, but David gets out with only a scratch (well, a huge, five finger Freddy kind of scratch) and wakes up in a London hospital where he begins his healing (and courtship of the lovely Nurse Price, played by Jenny Agutter), and slowly accepts the police's explanation that he was attacked by a man, and not a monster as David believed. This is, of course, until the walking talking corpse of Jack starts paying him visits and informs him that they were indeed attacked by a monster, a Werewolf, no less, and that David would soon become one himself, lest he take his own life.
David, of course, believes himself to be quite mad at this point and when heis released from the hospital, Nurse Price invites him to stay with her for a spell (as well as get naked and have sex immediately upon entering her flat). Of course, the night of the full moon approaches, and David begins to doubtwhether or not he is insane or actually a werewolf, which is quickly answered when he transforms in what is still one of the best FX sequences ever done.
AWIL has aged like a fine wine. The humor is still spot on, the aformentioned effects are still stunning, and the level of gore and nudity in this film makes one wonder who Landis payed off at the MPAA. This flick is GRUESOME! Of course, since it's also a comedy it may have played better with the powers that be since the gore is almost always balanced off with a hearty laught. The sex scenes and full frontal nudity, however, must have slipped right by them. Good enough, I say! The film is all the better for it.
This review is of the recent special edition release of the film, and not the bare bones first edition. The SE has more features than you can shake a stick at, including a hilarious commentary by Naughton and Dunne, a bunch of special FX mini-docs, and some deleted scenes, out-takes, and loads of other fun extras.
This is one of my all time favorite films, and to see it presented here in such fine quality, and with an abundance of supplemental materials, is truly a joy. This is one of those few DVD's that get's everything right, so get out there and grab a copy!