Released in August 1981, An American Werewolf in London was the third major werewolf movie of the year. Coming after Joe Dante’s terrific The Howling and Michael Wadleigh’s spooky Wolfen, some wondered what John Landis could bring to the table, especially after the excesses of his previous comedy, The Blues Brothers.
Landis has noted that Universal’s classic monster movies were the first monsters he saw as a child in the 1950s and his original screenplay paid homage to them, even as he created a new mythology for werewolves. He mixed black comedy into a horror stew and sprinkled a bit of romance on top, producing a fresh vision revolving around a hapless college student (David Naughton) who survives a horrible attack only to find himself transforming into a murderous creature. Griffin Dunne and Jenny Agutter bolstered the film with their performances.
The movie has proven to be an enduring classic. Some 16 years later, An American Werewolf in Paris attempted to duplicate its success, but, without Landis’ involvement, it fell fall short. In 2009, a remake by Dimension Films went into development, though that didn’t work out.
John Landis told us in 2011: “It’s kind of a win-win for me because if they do a good job — and there have been clever ones like David Cronenberg’s The Fly, John Carpenter’s The Thing and even The Maltese Falcon that have been successful — then I make more money and there will be more. If they do a bad job, then I look like a genius. I don’t want to be anywhere near the remake, though.”
Evidently, Landis has changed his mind. Via Deadline comes word that Max Landis (top), the son of John Landis, will write and direct a remake for Universal. David Albert and Robert Kirkman, who have worked together to produce TV smash The Walking Dead, will help produce the project and John Landis will serve as an executive producer.
Max Landis (Chronicle, American Ultra) is known for a brash sense of humor in his credited scripts. He made his feature directorial debut with last year’s romantic comedy Me Him Her. (Trailer below is NSFW.)
We certainly do not expect any kind of faithful remake from Max Landis, but it should be interesting to see his take on his father’s distinctive and original horror-comedy.