An American Werewolf in London (1981)

Day #1325

Right. Where was I?

Down a crevice, that's where. After a climb that must have taken me 2 months, I emerged from the darkness only to be set upon by some sort of madman... or a monster!

When I awoke from what felt like a 10-day coma, my wounds had been cleaned and I was lying safe and snug, back in the igloo. Weird. And then, right on queue, the TV crackles into life and a film appears...


This isn't the first time I've watched American Werewolf in London. It's my favourite horror film, so I've seen it a lot since my first viewing aged 11. Back then, armed with a clunky VHS recorder and a taped copy of the film, I learned to recite all the dialogue (this was before puberty kicked in). But don't worry, I'm not going to do that today...

And I'm not going to review the film either - we've all seen it, and if you haven't then go and watch it now....back? Good. What I'm going to do now is ask - and attempt to answer - 5 long-lost legendary American Werewolf questions. These questions fill my waking hours and sleepless nights here in Igloo-Land. These questions may not have been asked before. Some of them may not even have an answer. But these questions are important...

1. Boy, could they play darts?

"You, made me mis-s-s-s... I've never missed that board before."

So just how good is this guy? He's never missed a dartboard in his life? Does that sound likely? Well, no it doesn't. But let's listen to what he says again, "I've never missed that board before...". So who's to say that he's not referring to a new dartboard that The Slaughtered Lamb had installed a couple of days ago? We'll have to give him the benefit of the doubt.

Okay, let's have a look at how well he plays the game...

We see him hit the bullseye in the first shot of the board, having already hit 14 and 18. That makes 50 (bull) + 14 + 18 = 82, and every good darts player knows that for an 82 finish, you’d go for the bull first of all. Which he may have done, judging from the fact that the 14 is so close to the bullseye. But that would have left him 68 in which case he’d probably have gone 18, bullseye… ah - which actually he did. So I'm going to have to say yes - he could play darts.

My only minor gripe would be that Jack's question - about the 5-pointed star - that apparently made him mis-s-s that board, was asked as the entire pub was laughing hysterically at the Alamo joke. So the darts player must have been lining up his shot as the whole pub was erupting with laughter. Surely he should have waited for a bit of quiet until he played his shot? And as Jack's question did actually quieten the pub down almost instantly, he wouldn't have had to wait long. With a little bit more common sense, and a little bit more patience, his run of 'never having missed that board before' could have continued much longer. Something to think about for all potential darts players out there...

2. How are you supposed to 'beware the moon'?

"Beware the moon, lads!"

Come on, just what is anyone supposed to with that piece of advice? Beware the moon - okay thanks Brian, I’ll keep away from it if I see it, shall I?

It’s useless advice almost on a par with "Beware the Ides of March” given to Julius Caesar. How do you beware a date, in the name of (the unvanquished) god?

I’d also argue that the "Stay off the moors, stick to the road!" comments given to the lads would have been equally useless in the event of a werewolf attack. We see the road later, and there are no fences, no nothing between it and the moors. Unless there's an ancient part of werewolf mythology that says werewolves can't go on roads, then it would seem that David and Jack are in deep shit the minute they leave the Slaughtered Lamb, no matter how many pieces of local wisdom they remembered.

I tell you what would have been useful though – letting Jack and David STAY IN THE PUB. Just what was their unforgivable faux pas? So they asked what an unusual feature on the wall was. Big deal. It was a fair enough question, and one that everyone in the pub should have been half expecting and have an answer prepared - why not go with the barmaid’s fairly plausible excuse later in the film – that it was a 200 year old feature and nobody know what it means? But no! Better to go into a state of shock and condemn a couple of nice young men to their deaths.

3. How hard is a madman?

The first time Dr. Hirsch sees David he explains how lucky he was to survive the attack because 'they say a madman has the strength of ten'.

So why don't either Dr.Hirsch or David mention this a short time later when they hear Sergeant McManus comment to Inspector Villiers that "Two strong boys would be able to defend themselves against one man..."?

Could it be that Dr. Hirsch didn't actually have any idea what he was talking about? Just how much strength does a madman actually have?

Well, my extensive research into this subject (10 minutes on Google and Wikipedia) has failed to come up with a satisfactory answer. Based on those wasted minutes, I'm going concur that Dr. Hirsch is talking out of his over-qualified arse, and that Sergeant McManus was correct. But then, we knew that all along didn't we?

4. Was nurse Alex Price mentally disturbed?

Time has been kind to nurse Alex Price, and we all remember her as the innocent heroine, fighting against the forces of darkness for the soul of her lover. But is she really whiter-than-white? Could she even be mentally disturbed herself? Let's examine her behaviour in detail:

She takes a disturbed patient back to her flat and has sex with him because she finds him a 'little bit sad'. She threatens a child patient by asking if he's ever been severely beaten about the face and neck. She rents a large flat in a prime location in London that must cost more than she gets paid. She cracks up laughing when her disturbed lover tells her he's seen a vision of his dead friend, and to cap it all she ends up committing bestiality by telling a werewolf that's about to bite her head off that she loves it...

Not such an angel now, is she?

5. Why didn't Jack go to pieces sooner?

We see Jack decompose throughout the film, from being a 'fresh kill' in the hospital to a skeleton in the porn theatre. The idea being that he's decomposing as he would have in real life. But hang on just a minute...

David's been in a coma for 10 days. So when Jack first appears shouldn't he look like a 10 day old corpse? And not, as he does, freshly slaughtered with that little dangly flap of skin on his neck. Furthermore, the time from his appearance in the hospital to the porn theatre is only a day or two, which is way too short to turn into a skeleton.

Of course, all the above could be explained by Jack being a figment of David's imagination. But then, that's another question - perhaps one that I'll ask in a future post dealing with question numbers 6 to 10... like, was The Slaughtered Lamb a real ale pub? Was Debbie Klein really mediocre? Did Dr. Hirsch's receptionist really tell Roger Mathison that he'd died from an old war wound??

Until then... stay on the moors, lads... stay on the moors.

Stay off the moors. Sorry.


  1. Sort of like when people say "Keep on keepin' on." Uh, yeah... Will do that, thanks.

    Great film, even if Alex was a bit mad herself.

  2. Alex may be a bit mad, but I'll forgive her anything for that shower-scene :-)

  3. Haha cool post. Love that poster too!

  4. yeah a real classic movie, and of course with a high sexual content, as usual of that age.