Monday, July 7, 2014

TODAY'S NUGGET: American Werwolf in London (1981) - Don't Shrink from a Less Than Happy Ending

[Quick Summary: In London, an American teen turns into a werwolf.]

The wise and wonderful John Landis says that he was very lucky to make movies in the 1970-80s.

He also bemoans that studio movies today insist on "very happy endings where everything is all neatly tied [up]."

ex. Knocked Up (2001) - "Have sex, without protection, get pregnant, with an asshole...then the jerk you slept with will mature, become a wonderful person, and you'll have a wonderful life

ex. Juno (2007) -  "If you're a high school girl, you'll give away the kid, you give it away, it will mean nothing, and it will be fine."

Today's studios wouldn't risk more unsettling fare:

ex. Fast Times of Ridgemont High (1981) - She gets pregnant, and her brother takes her [in] for an abortion.

ex. Animal House (1981) - Ends in civil insurrection, chaos.

Landis doesn't shrink back in American Werwolf either: The werwolf eats people. It must die.

Landis makes a choice and doesn't try to soften the consequences.

ex. "In that brief instant, Alex realizes it will kill her."

WHAT I'VE LEARNED: Don't be afraid of unhappy endings. Be afraid of unsatisfying endings.

American Werwolf in London (1981)
by John Landis

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