“Stay on the road; keep clear of the moors.”
Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:
Response to Peary’s Review:
In addition, he points out that “the music… is a lot of fun” and that “Rick Baker won a deserved Oscar for his corpse-ghost and werewolf makeup and his stunning work on Naughton’s transformation from man into beast.” Peary concedes that “the last couple of scenes, taking place in Picadilly Circus, seem ill advised” but “otherwise the picture is truly enjoyable and original.”
I’m not as big a fan of this film as Peary and many others (it’s a cult favorite, discussed in Peary’s Cult Movies 3) seem to be. The mix of horror and comedy feels incomplete and often sophomoric; for instance, the scene in which Naughton “steals” a cluster of balloons from a startled young boy at the zoo to cover up his nudity is simply icky. Meanwhile, I would strongly prefer more of Elmer Bernstein’s moody score in favor of the pop hits Landis chose to sprinkle throughout key scenes. Agutter is appealing as Naughton’s love interest, and Baker’s transformation effects are truly outstanding — but this one will primarily appeal to fans of werewolf flicks or Landis’s comedic brand.
Redeeming Qualities and Moments:
(Listed in 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die)