If you consider yourself a film geek and you still haven’t seen John Landis’ seminal An American Werewolf in London, please report to the nearest Alamo Drafthouse location and turn in your film geek credentials. This horror-comedy—one that many have emulated over the years but that virtually none have been able to equal—is one of the best cinematic mash-ups ever made, and when it was announced that Mondo would be screening the film at Fantastic Fest with Rick Baker in attendance (and a special print created by Olly Moss), I knew I had to be there. How’d the screening turn out? Find out after the jump, folks.
Here’s a few things you need to know before we go any further: for one thing, I’m a Mondo fanatic. This is a recent development, and one that I’m perfectly capable of admitting has gotten completely out of hand in the past few months. What started with the purchase of one print resulted—just a few weeks later—with my entire home being decorated with framed Mondo exclusives. I’ve got two Texas Chainsaw Massacre prints, their Nightmare on Elm Street 3 print, a Cronos print, a Bad Lieutenant one, a portrait of Bill Hicks—I’ve even got that infamous Jurassic Park print that Mondo released during last month’s Mondo Mystery Movie.
And so, before I even knew what the film-in-question was, I knew I’d be onboard with the screening Mondo was holding at Fantastic Fest. For one thing, they’ve got great taste in films. For another, I’d end up with another print (and there might be three square inches of wall space left in my house somewhere). When I learned that they’d be screening An American Werewolf in London—and offering everyone in attendance an exclusive Olly Moss print—I was extremely excited. Then they announced that multiple-Oscar winner Rick Baker would be there for a Q&A, and my head promptly exploded.
If you’re not a rabid Mondo fan or a fan of An American Werewolf in London, well…what can I say? I can’t even begin to imagine such a person, and I wouldn’t want to know them. At this point, you should be familiar with both of these things. As such, I’m not going to spend a lot of time regurgitating the plot of Landis’ film: if you haven’t already seen the film three times, you’re way behind the rest of us.
I will say, however, that it was very exciting to see the film on a big-ass screen for the very first time. I’ll also say that (despite Baker’s claims to the contrary) that the makeup effects and the “transformation” scene from the film more than hold up thirty years later. The film’s just as sharp, funny, and creepy as I imagine it was back in the day (I always forget about the “Nazi Demons” that appear during the dream sequence, and they never fail to weird me out), and watching Werewolf in London again helped reinforce the idea that American Werewolf in Paris really is one of the all-time worst sequels ever made (right up there with Landis’ own Blues Brothers 2000).
The screening went well, and the Mondo guys even live-streamed the post-show Q&A for anyone that wasn’t lucky enough to attend the screening. I managed to snag some video from the event, and I’ve got those for you below. By the way, note that I’ve only just realized that my iPad 2 will film in “letterbox” format if I just turn off the locking mechanism on the side of the thing, so be aware that all future videos I shoot at the Drafthouse won’t have this “camera-phone” look to them. I’m sure you’ll get over it. Without further ado, though, here’s those clips:
Mondo’s Justin Ishmael introduces Rick:
Rick and Justin talk about Werewolf’s makeup effects and how Baker got involved with the film:
Rick talks about how the film’s transformation scenes worked:
Rick pats himself on the back for his much-deserved Oscar wins, and answers an audience question—what are his favorite transformations from horror movies?:
The screening started a few minutes late, and due to the rapid-fire pace of Fantastic Fest (there’s something new screening almost constantly), the Mondo guys were forced to cut the Q&A short. Baker was bummed that he didn’t have more time to speak with the crowd, though, so he posted up at a table inside the Mondo store in the Drafthouse’s lobby, taking the time to speak with everyone that stopped by and signing everyone’s Olly Moss print (Moss himself was on hand, but was apparently saving his hand-strength for the in-store signing he’ll be doing tomorrow afternoon). It was incredibly gracious of the guy, and he was endlessly friendly one-on-one.
And so, once again, the Mondo guys pulled off a kick-ass screening, delivered an awesome guest, and handed over another beautiful piece of artwork (you can see a photo of my print—with Baker’s autograph—below). An American Werewolf in London will be screening again later in the week at Fantastic Fest, but the prints and Q&A were particular to last night’s screening. Stay tuned for more on Mondo, the Drafthouse, and—of course—Fantastic Fest 2011 in the days ahead, folks.