FRIGHT EXCLUSIVE: JOHN LANDIS IN NEW YORK!
On Friday, October 12th, 2007, writer/director JOHN LANDIS made a rare New York appearance to introduce a special screening of AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON at the Two Boots Pioneer Theater! (Same place we caught WRONG TURN 2 earler in the week.) Of course, the Icons crew (myself, Mike C. and John Torrani) were on hand for the event, and to witness AAWIL projected in 35mm with a packed audience!
We arrived at the theater early with about an hour to kill, so we indulged in our usual pre-Two Boots screening ritual – feasting on pizza at Two Boots Pizza place next door! I personally recommend the Mr. Pink slice. (The Dude and the Tony Clifton are great too. Still have yet to try the Newman!)
Director Bill Lustig is a frequent patron on the Two Boots theater and was responsible for getting his old friend John Landis to show up for this particular screening. Torrani witnessed the two meet up in the lobby and shoot the shit. Bill bought two cups of coffee and handed one to Landis. In typical Landis fashion, he took one sip, threw it out and said to the cashier, "I’ll have a Diet Coke."
(Landis, Bill Lustig and the Two Boots programer Ray enter the theater moments before beginning of the introduction.)
Ray began the intro by thanking Bill Lustig for helping to get Landis down for this screening. Before Ray could introduce the filmmaker, Landis interupted and said, "Ladies and Gentleman. That’s the director of MANIAC COP! Come on!" And the entire audience ripped into applause.
For the next half hour, John Landis told some hilarious stories pertaining to the history of AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON, starting with the origins of the script which he wrote when he was 18. (He didn’t get to make it until almost 10 years later.) He fielded about 3 or 4 questions from the audience, one of which was about why he never does commentary tracks for any of his movies.
"Because I HATE commentary tracks! They’re so boring! I only did the one on the KENTUCKY FRIED MOVIE DVD because I didn’t have to do it alone."
The same fan asked, "But if you did a commentary, you could tell that story you just told."
"Yeah, I could also just tell it in a documentary. Not during the fucking movie!"
Surprisingly there were a few members of the audience that had never seen AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON, so I could only imagine what it was like to experience this film for the first time in this way. The print was good. There were only scratchs at the start and end of the reel changes, but otherwise, the movie looked and sounded awesome.
I’ll confess, I had an absolute blast and this movie has not aged at all. Everyone laughed in all the right parts. The werewolf transformation is still THE best in movie history and totally rivals (and surpasses) anything done with CGI today. And after the Piccadilly Circle rampage, the entire audience applauded with enthusiastic approval. Quite frankly, I don’t understand why films don’t just get re-released rather then remade. And I’m not talking these cheap DVD digital projections like they just did for POLTERGEIST and NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET. Those suck! Move around an actual 35mm PRINT of the movie and let audience re-discover a true horror classic! Because EVERY one in that theater loved this experience.
Kudos to Ray and the whole Two Boots staff for putting together yet another memorable screening!