John Landis has shared his rejected pitch for a sequel to his cult horror/comedy An American Werewolf In London. The original movie followed an unlucky American tourist who survives a vicious werewolf attack - only to learn the bite he received has cursed him to turn into a monster too. The film was praised for its amazing special effects by Rick Baker (which still hold up today) and its perfect combination of horror, comedy and drama.
The film ends on a tragic note, but a belated sequel (dubbed An American Werewolf In Paris) arrived 16 years later. Landis wasn’t involved with this follow-up, which received mediocre reviews and used CGI to bring the creature to life, which failed to live up to the practical effects work of the original.
Now Landis has revealed his unused sequel idea in author Paul Davis’ new book Beware The Moon: The Story of An American Werewolf In London (via Digital Spy). The book is an in-depth look at the making of the film, and Landis reveals his take would have switched focus to a character only mentioned in the original film:
"The movie was about the girl that the boys talk about at the beginning of the movie, Debbie Klein. She gets a job in London as a literary agent and while she's there, starts privately investigating the circumstances surrounding the deaths of Jack and David. The conceit was that during the time in the first film where Jenny (Agutter) goes to work and David is pacing around the apartment, he actually wrote Debbie Klein a letter. It was all to do with this big secret that David had never told Jack that he had a thing with her.
Klein’s investigation would have brought her back to some familiar locations and characters from the first movie:
She went back to the Slaughtered Lamb and everyone is still there! I think the only changes were a portrait of Charles and Diana where the five-pointed star used to be and darts arcade game instead of a board. It's then when she speaks to Sgt McManus, the cop from the first movie who didn't die, that she finds out that Jenny is still in London. She calls her and leaves an answer phone message, which we then reveal is being listened to by the skeletal corpses of Jack and David, watching TV in Alex's apartment! 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!"
Landis wrote a first draft for the sequel and submitted it, but the studio head hated the idea and it went no further. While it’s debatable if An American Werewolf In London even needed a sequel, Landis’ concept sounds like it would have been an organic way to continue the story. An American Werewolf In Paris was disappointing for many reasons, but a major one is that it lacked Landis’ voice and just felt like a generic monster movie.
John Landis’ son Max is currently working on a remake of the original film, with an aim towards directing it. There was talk at one point about his version of An American Werewolf In London having ties to Universal's planned Dark Universe, but given that the studio appears to be backing away from that idea, it will likely be a standalone movie now.
Source: Jon Landis (via Digital Spy)