American Werewolf in London sequel

An American Werewolf in London, one of the best horror-comedies ever made, was cursed with an abysmal sequel in 1997 with An American Werewolf in Paris. Original American Werewolf director John Landis wasn’t involved with that follow-up, but the filmmaker has recently revealed he originally scripted his own sequel to his 1981 classic. In a new interview, Landis reveals the unused details for his potential An American Werewolf in London sequel.

In John Landis’ werewolf classic An American Werewolf in London, a hapless U.S. traveler in the U.K. finds himself slowly transforming into a murderous monster, with hilarious and disturbing results. It’s a great movie and a groundbreaking achievement in special make-up effects, which earned creator Rick Baker the very first Academy Award for Best Makeup. Everything good about the original is absent from the 1997 sequel An American Werewolf in Paris, perhaps because original American Werewolf creator John Landis had nothing to do with it. But oh, what could’ve been! The book Beware the Moon: The Story of An American Werewolf in London, which will soon receive a limited edition paperback run, reveals that Landis was almost involved with a sequel.

As revealed by Digital Spy, Landis was approached in 1991 about making an American Werewolf sequel, and the filmmaker set about writing a draft of the script. The original American Werewolf opens with American friends David (David Naughton) and Jack (Griffin Dunne) backpacking through the U.K. During their travels, the friends have a lively conversation about a girl from back home named Debbie Klein. Then they get attacked by a werewolf – an attack that kills Jack and eventually turns David into a werewolf himself. According to Landis, his sequel idea would give the aforementioned Debbie Klein a starring role. In the unused script, Debbie travels to the U.K. and begins investigating what happened to Jack and David.

Debbie’s investigation brings her in contact with nearly everyone who survived the first film, including Alex Price (Jenny Agutter), a nurse from the U.K. who fell in love with David while nursing his werewolf wounds. Per Landis, “The big surprise at the end was that Alex was the werewolf. It was pretty wild. The script had everybody in it from the first movie – including all the dead people!”

So what happened? Landis says when he turned the script into the film’s producer Michale Kuhn, Kuhn was not pleased:

“I gave the script to Michael Kuhn and he loathed it! He absolutely hated it and was actually pretty insulting about it. Clearly he would have hated the script for the first movie, because like that, it was funny and scary – and if anything, a little wackier.”

As much as I enjoy most of Landis’ work, and as much as I loathe the sequel we did get in An American Werewolf in Paris, I can’t say I blame Michael Kuhn for rejecting that script. It doesn’t sound particularly appealing. Of course, there’s always a chance the script was actually great and Kuhn was wrong. We’ll never know. In the meantime, let’s just cherish what we have in An American Werewolf in London, and all agree to never watch An American Werewolf in Paris again.

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