Whenever someone become a werewolf fan – within seconds of that tiny little full moon rising in their heart – someone in a suit knocks on their door and gives them their official copy of “An American Werewolf in London”.
Sometimes these mysterious agents are men or women, and sometimes they’re featureless shadows. They never speak, never make physical contact with anyone, and cannot be followed for more than 30 feet before they vanish down an alley or around a hedge. They just press a copy of John Landis’s seminal 1981 werewolf movie into your hands, nod, and are gone. It happens to all of us.
If it happened to you in the 80’s, as it did to me, they gave you a VHS copy. Most of you probably have a DVD version, and I’ve heard rumours that a few folks in the early 90’s got LaserDiscs. The format doesn’t matter, though – it’s the experience. You say to yourself “hey, I really like werewolves”, and an otherworldly entity appears within seconds to give you a physical copy of a film that hasn’t been bested in 35 years. It’s uncanny, undeniable, universal, Universal.
That encounter on your doorstep is one of the threads that binds you and the rest of the world’s werewolf fans together; that copy of “An American Werewolf in London” is a physical manifestation of your enthusiasm for werewolf movies, maybe even for werewolves in general.
You can probably see it from where you’re sitting right now, can’t you? That sacred copy of AWiL? Well, my friend, I want you to get it down from that shelf, take another look at that classically understated cover – and then throw it in the fucking trash. It’s garbage now.
Universal is releasing a “restored” 35th anniversary Blu-ray version on September 27th 2016. Does this version have any new bonus content not already available on the 2009 “Full Moon Edition” Blu-ray? No. Does that matter? No. The besuited spectres on our doorsteps didn’t hand over blooper reels or production still galleries, they gave us the gold standard of lycanthropic cinema, and that is the resource this new edition claims to enhance, with a “NEW RESTORATION of the film”. No one in the public sphere seems to know anything about how this edition was restored, but hopefully it’ll be an improvement on the “gaussian blur + sharpen filter every frame” transfer of the Full Moon edition.
In the end, it doesn’t matter. If you’re a werewolf fan, you have a copy of this film whether you like it or not. Doesn’t it behoove us to have the best-looking copy available? Don’t we want to keep those mysterious dark visitors on our porches happy? I say “yes, please God, yes.”
Also, the new cover art is dope.
Thanks to everyone who shared news of this upcoming release with me.