By Mark Hodge (doddleNEWS)
John Landis has revealed he wrote a sequel for his horror comedy classic An American Werewolf in London in 1991.
The rejected script is a direct sequel to one of the director’s most celebrated works, and includes all the characters from the 1981 film – even “the dead people.” A much derided sequel, An American Werewolf in Paris, was eventually released in 1997, but did not involve Landis or any of the original cast and crew.
Landis, who also directed legendary comedies Animal House (1978), The Blues Brothers (1980) and Trading Places (1983), described the story of his intended follow-up in the book ‘Beware the Moon: The Story of An American Werewolf in London.’
He said: “I was asked to do a sequel [to An American Werewolf in London] by PolyGram in 1991. 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.
“They then left the company and were replaced by a guy called Michael Kuhn. He called me and said that they were interested in making a sequel. 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.
“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 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 in the original An American Werewolf in London. 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 then explains that producer Kuhn hated the An American Werewolf in London sequel screenplay and scrapped the project.
He said: “I gave the script to Michael Kuhn and he loathed it! He absolutely hated it and was actually pretty insulting about it. 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.”
It’s also worth noting that Landis himself had, by 1991, had already started his spectacular and unfortunate slump, which continues today. Indeed, while Eddie Murphy vehicle Coming to America (1988) proved a huge financial success, the comedy divided critics and proved to be the director’s last big hit.
Despite news of the rejected An American Werewolf in London sequel script sending movie geeks on social media into a frenzy, it’s worth remembering that Landis track record post Trading Places in 1983 is patchy at best.
As a side note, the director is wrong in his claim that PolyGram never made another commercially successful film in the years following An American Werewolf in London, as the company co-produced Flashdance (1983), which grossed an incredible $201 million worldwide from a $7 million budget.