Discover more from Wonkette
Wonkette Movie Night: An American Werewolf In London (1981)
"I see the bad moon arising, I see trouble on the way"
Tonight we have a classic movie monster.
Werewolves, Frankenstein's creature, mega beasts like Godzilla, vampires and zombies have all seen a variety of movies, TV shows and songs based on them. They have their own mythology, if I were to ask how do you kill a vampire most people would know to use a stake. People know that werewolves have an issue with full moons and Frankenstein's creature hates fire. These monsters also represent fears that humans have and can echo the times they are from. The sci-fi movies of the 1950's like Invasion Of The Body Snatchers (1956) as well as The Blob (1958), War of the Worlds (1953) and Them! (1954) were about being terrorized by an invader and represented the fear of communism and the Red Scare. I’ve included the Internet Archives link to each of those movies for free streaming if you click on their year.
This is just a short list of movie monsters and what I see as some of the related fears. Please add to the monster list in the non-comments and what fears you think they represent.
With the werewolf you have a person who fights the beast within, not wanting to lose control over their body and having no choice but to give in to animalistic desires.
Frequently portrayed as very unhappy with having a monster inside, they plan their lives around the cycle of the moon, not wanting to kill but losing that fight. I'm an upbeat person but I think that would make me unhappy too.
When I say werewolf you can right off the bat name a few songs. Bark At The Moon by Ozzy Osbourne. Werewolves of London by Warren Zevon and Bad Moon Rising by Creedence Clearwater Revival which plays an important part in tonight's movie. It signals the trouble ahead for the two main characters who pay a high price for not listening to the directions to "keep off the moors, stick to the roads..."
Frankenstein's creature(or monster) involves the desire to create life and prevent death. As Dr. Frederick Frankenstein screams to the heavens in Young Frankenstein:
Life, do you hear me?
Give my creation life!
When I was younger I loved Boris Karloff in 1931's Frankenstein. Friday nights at my house meant dad wasn't working late and I got to stay up past my bedtime to watch scary movies with him and the local channel's horror host, "Sammy Terry." Cheesy make-up and props, goofy humor and two movies, usually in black and white. I'm sure many people discovered these classic movie monsters through their own local station's version of Sammy.
There were good movies and bad. For every Bela Lugosi as Count Dracula there was an Attack Of The Crab Monsters directed by Roger Corman. And we loved it all.
You know the next monster song is easy, it's Frankenstein by Edgar Winter.
The big guy is my favorite. That roar, the power up and blast of energy from his mouth and the satisfying crushing of many well constructed miniature models. It's always been clear that the whole range of mega monsters like Gojira represented the dangers of nuclear radiation. And how humans' interactions with the natural world can be destructive. Then we see how the natural world is pissed off about that. Even though much of it seemed very silly, it allowed kids to watch and side with the big lizard and maybe hear the message behind him. I still love the King Of The Monsters. The good, the bad and the ridiculous(baby Godzilla anyone?)
Godzilla Day is November 3 and he is turning 69!
Apparently Blue Oyster Cult also loved him.
It's about sex. The end.
Think about how vampires are portrayed, they are seducers like Dracula.
They use their mouths to attack and suck blood, but they don't always kill. Their sexuality can be blurry as usually they are ancient creatures who are not bound by the limits of a human's body so it makes sense they wouldn't be bound to male or female. Before you say, but ziggy there's more to vampires than sex! Of course there is more to what humans fear with vampires, including disease, sometimes they pass on their vampirism, infecting those they bite by sharing their own blood. Even the thought of their immortality can be frightening.
A common theme with movie monsters is a fear of losing our humanity.
As in zombies. They have lost their humanity and are walking, mindless rotting bags of flesh. There's slow zombies, fast zombies, smart zombies, funny zombies and zombies in love. They are just like us except for the whole undead thing and eating of people. There's that cannibalism fear! We like to imagine ourselves as one of the people who make it to the end in zombie movies, the ones who understand the dangers and act decisively. We want to be the survivors. That's why I like zombie movies.
We all have our own monsters so it can be healthy to fight them metaphorically through the movies. Monster movies are good for us, we can do battle safely from our couch and be "friends with the monster that's under my bed..." just like Rihanna.
An American Werewolf In London stars David Naughton, Jenny Agutter and Griffin Dunne. It was the 1982 Academy Award winner for Best Make-up and Hairstyling by Rick Baker. Directed by John Landis.
Got your popcorn? Enjoy!
Available on the Internet Archives, also with subscription on AMC+ and for $3.99 in the usual places.
Our pre-movie cartoon has Bugs Bunny dealing with a gremlin in "Falling Hare" from 1943.
For those new to Wonkette Movie Night, the post goes up at 8pm ET for pre-movie socializing and the movie starts at 9pm ET(unless otherwise noted.) I give a countdown so we can all start at the same time.
All are welcome! Cue the movie up on your preferred viewing device, open up Wonkette in another place so you can chat, quote, answer trivia, share memories and have fun with friends as we all watch a movie at the same time even as we are scattered geographically.
You may ask what’s up with the cat? That’s Babby Axl, Wonkette Movie Night mascot, given a home by Wonker 2Cats2Furious after being rescued from a car engine during a Movie Night. Look for him in every movie night poster.
To make movie requests, see the list of watched movies and the calendar go to WonkMovie.