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John Landis Details ‘American Werewolf’ Sequel He Almost Made in 1991

Released in 1997, An American Werewolf in Paris was something of a loose sequel to An American Werewolf in London, though it of course had no actual involvement from John Landis. But did you know that Lands himself actually wrote a sequel to his own 1981 werewolf classic back in the 1990s?!

As reported by Digital Spy, Landis fully details the never-made sequel in the book Beware the Moon: The Story of An American Werewolf in London, which now has a brand new limited paperback edition (only 500 copies) up for pre-order – it’ll begin shipping November 27.

I was asked to do a sequel by PolyGram in 1991,” Landis explains. “The company, under Jon Peters and Peter Guber, made something like 10 or 12 movies, and the only one that made money was American Werewolf. I entertained the idea for a little bit and then came up with something that I liked and wrote a first draft of the script.”

Landis continued…

The movie was about the girl that the boys talk about at the beginning of [An American Werewolf in London], 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 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.”

“She tracks down Dr Hirsch, who tells her that Alex now lives in Paris because she was so traumatized by what happened. 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!”

So what happened? Polygram’s Michael Kuhn hated Landis’ script; “[he] was actually pretty insulting about it,” Landis recalls. And that was the end of that.

Clearly he would have hated the script for the first movie, because like that, it was funny and scary – and if anything, a little wackier,” Landis notes.

An American Werewolf in London



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COMMENTS

10 Comments
  • JoeInTheBox

    That’s actually interesting, but it kinda feels like fan-fiction. Part of what was so great about the original was how loose and mysterious it all begins. A literal play on a simple cautionary tale about not straying off the path.

    Remove that mystery and the story lacks punch. I didn’t need to know the original wolf was someone they knew, much like I didn’t need to see the childhood of Michael Myers in the Halloween remake.

    • Nick Blackford

      I read this as the twist is that Alex is the werewolf in Part 2, not Debbie – presumably because of David and the events of the first film. I quite like that idea, but agree a sequel isn’t (and hardly ever is) necessary.

      • JoeInTheBox

        Yeah, I got confused there when he kept referring to Alex as Jenny(Agutter). Even still, unless he’s not revealing any more details, I can’t see how the story is “wackier”.

        I’m reminded of Ginger Snaps 2, and how it continued and deepened the story in unnecessary ways. Didn’t hurt the original, but lessened the impact knowing the story didn’t end on the perfect note of the original.

        • Nick Blackford

          Totally agree!!

  • MrX13

    Werewolf in Paris was complete garbage. This one sounded like a true sequel but glad it didn’t get made. A lot of movies are great without sequels

    • DC_Fan38

      Well put.
      And just how some movies don’t need remakes 😀

      • MrX13

        yup

  • Mike tantatelli

    That doesn’t sound half bad.

  • jaykayDX

    This is NOT new news. In a 1994 interview with Fangoria (in their special ‘werewolves’ issue), Landis outlined the plot: Debbie Klein comes to London, investigates what REALLY happened to Jack and David and tracks down Jenny Agutter’s character. The apparitions of all the people the werewolf has killed also make an appearance in the film.

    SPOILER – in the end we find out that Alex was the werewolf (She was bitten by David while they were making love) and that Dr Hirsch was helping to hide her from the outside world and keep her isolated when she turns into the monster so she doesn’t harm anyone. In the end Debbie interrupts Dr Hirsch as he’s restraining Alex just as the moon turns full and she transforms into the beast and while Dr Hirsch is distracted by Debbie intruding on him Alex (mid-transformation) wounds Hirsch before he can restrain her properly and starts to turn into the monster before Debbie’s bewildered eyes. Hirsch however shoots and kills the Alex werewolf before it can attack anyone. He then gives a monologue about how everything was fine until Debbie came snooping around and seeing as how he has been wounded by the werewolf (and will consequently turn into one during the next ful moon), puts the gun into his mouth and blows his brains out. The concluding scene is that of the ghosts of Alex, Dr Hirsch, David and Jack walking together making casual small talk. SPOILER END.

    Polygram was right to nix the script; the entire screenplay was of Debbie interviewing several unhelpful locals and suffering vivid nightmares before the final eventual reveal – it’s just a bunch of scenes of American tourists bumbling around London and the moors interspread with some scary nightmare sequences suffered by Debbie so that the audience doesn’t die of boredom – and a big werewolf reveal at the end which will only amount to five minutes of screen time. More proof that Landis had lost his touch by then – A mighty fall for a once genius director.

  • An American Werewolf in London is such an over-rated horror movie, especially when you take into account The Howling and Wolfen (not a werewolf movie, per se) are significantly more entertaining.

    What makes American Werewolf work is the transformation, which is one of the most brilliant practical effects ever (even though the proportions of the werewolf are a bit wonky).

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