This month marks 40-years since one of the more famous London films was released, all about an American tourist who terrorises London as a werewolf. It’s a curious mix of both horror and comedy and was notable not just for the plotline but the famous werewolf transformation sequence, the first time that had been tried openly on screen.

The nightmare sequence is genuinely “jump out of the seat” frightening, but I think we’ll gloss over the sex talk scene, as that is cringly badly written.

Most of the countryside setting was filmed in Wales, although the interior of the Slaughtered Lamb pub was the more genteel named Black Swan in a leafy countryside village in Surrey.

For London tube geeks, of course, the most famous part of the film is set inside Tottenham Court Road tube station – which also shows the station before Eduardo Paolozzi’s mosaics were added in 1986. The filming on Piccadilly Circus was a landmark moment in using a central London location for filming, which at the time was exceptionally difficult to arrange. Today there’s a lot more support for filming in London.

The film was released on 21st August 1981, and this coming Saturday 21st August 2021 marks the 40th anniversary, so there’s a special screening of the film at the Prince Charles Cinema.

There is also a 4K Blu-ray release with a load of extras that came out last year.

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5 comments
  1. Guy de Jonquières says:

    The Slaughtered Lamb, or its exterior at least, was not the Black Swan in Surrey. It was a cottage in Crickadarn, a hamlet near Erwood in Powys, that had been modified to look like a pub from the outside. I have friends who live there and have visited it many times.

  2. Chris Rogers says:

    The Piccadilly Circus scene is extraordinary in terms of access, if brief, and I suspect it would he very difficult to replicate even today. Yes, they cleared Traf Sq for Tom Cruise in Edge of Tomorrow but even so… TCR then looked more like Aldwych does now in many ways, as indeed did many stations not yet subject to the mid-80s recladding.

    • Tom says:

      I think it would be pretty easy if they did it in the middle of the night. I often go for a walk on my night shifts and it’s like 28 days later on some mornings!

  3. Dr Grumpy says:

    I do remember that the special effect blood was made specifically for this film and was called “Kensington Gore”

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