That time John Landis wrote his own sequel to An American Werewolf in London

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Nov 22, 2017

Yes, there's already been a sequel, and there's now a remake on the way. But did you know that John Landis himself wrote a follow-up to his classic An American Werewolf in London?

That's according to Digital Spy, which seems to have gotten an advance look at an upcoming book by Paul Davis called Beware the Moon: The Story of An American Werewolf in London, in which Landis reveals that he was approached about doing a sequel to the movie about a decade after the original — one of the best werewolf movies of all time and arguably featuring the greatest transformation scene in film history — came out:

"I was asked to do a sequel 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."

Turns out that Landis' script did a bit of retconning and focused on a character who was mentioned in the original movie but never actually appeared -- Debbie Klein, who the ghost of Jack Goodman (Griffin Dunne) says "cried a lot" at his funeral after he and David Kessler (David Naughton) were attacked by a werewolf on the English moors:

"(Debbie) 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 (Jenny Agutter) now lives in Paris because she was so traumatized by what happened ... 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 says he gave the script to Michael Kuhn, who "absolutely hated it and was actually pretty insulting about it," adding, "Clearly he would have hated the script for the first movie, because like that, (the sequel) was funny and scary -- and if anything, a little wackier."

So Landis didn't get to make his sequel, and instead we got the nearly unwatchable An American Werewolf in Paris in 1997, a loose sequel that nobody ever said a good word about. And now we have John's son, Max Landis, remaking his dad's film, which even Dad seems ambivalent about, but that's Hollywood for ya.

Beware the Moon: The Story of An American Werewolf in London will be published on Monday (November 27) in a strictly limited 500-copy edition by Cult Screenings, a UK-based company, and it promises some 300 behind-the-scenes photos, interviews with 35 members of the original cast and crew, and lots more (you can order it here). Meanwhile, what do you think of Landis' idea for a sequel, and do you wish he had gotten the chance to bring it to the screen?

(via Slashfilm)