An American Werewolf In London | 1981
A pub full of character actors rhubarbing away on the 'Yorkshire Moors' can only mean bad news for two American backpackers.
The moors were filmed around the Black Mountains in Wales, and 'East Proctor' is in reality the tiny village of Crickadarn, about six miles southeast of Builth Wells off the A479. The ‘Angel of Death’ statue was a prop added for the film, but the red phone box is real enough – though Welsh the road signs were covered by a fake tree.
If you want to join the locals here for a pint at 'The Slaughtered Lamb', you’ll have quite a journey. Although the exterior was an empty (now restored – so please do not disturb the residents) cottage dressed up for the movie.
The interior of ‘The Slaughtered Lamb’ is in Surrey. It’s The Black Swan, Old Lane at the junction with Ockham Lane, Martyr’s Green, about a mile northwest of Effingham Junction between Guildford and Leatherhead. The photogenic pub, also featured in TV’s Inspector Morse, but has been given a radical makeover since the Eighties.
It’s now a smart restaurant-pub and you’ll need to use a little imagination to recognise it as the old-world inn where Lila Kaye tended bar, a young Rik Mayall played chess and Brian Glover held court. The wall which bore the pentagram was a false addition for the film (it’s actually the doorway to what is now the main dining room) and the bench seats are gone, but the layout remains the same. Oh, and there’s no longer a dartboard.
The hospital in which David Kessler (David Naughton) recovers from a nasty wolf bite was Putney General Hospital, Lower Common, Putney SW15, which had closed briefly in the early Eighties. It closed for good in 1999 and was demolished in 2014.
Although Putney supplied the general hospital scenes, David's room and the office of Dr Hirsch (John Woodvine) were filmed at Chiswick Maternity Hospital, Netheravon Road South, London SW4, which, after being closed in 1975, was also used in several TV productions including the BBC hospital soap Angels. It went on to become a nursing home but it, too, has since been demolished.
(thanks to Stephan Dicke for this correction)
In Earls Court, at 64 Coleherne Road, SW10, you can see the flat of nurse Alex Price (Jenny Agutter), where David does some shape-shifting to Bad Moon Rising (tube: Earl’s Court). Both exteriors and some interiors were filmed here.
Unusually, the tube station, where the city gent gets chomped, was filmed, during the wee small hours, at Tottenham Court Road Station (London Transport’s all-purpose location, the closed Aldwych Station in the Strand, is almost invariably used for filming).
The undead victims pop up in a studio recreation of the old Eros News Cinema (now a branch of GAP clothes store, more recently featured in Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows Part 1) on the corner of Shaftesbury Avenue in Piccadilly Circus. You can see the cinema in its heyday in 1949 when the kids go to see the Siege of Burgundy in classic Ealing comedy Passport To Pimlico.
And once again John Landis demonstrates his talent for staging major set-pieces in impossible locations by setting the climactic mayhem smack in the middle of Piccadilly Circus itself – although, if you look carefully, you can see a wobbly street sign.
In fact, some of this sequence was filmed on a mock-up of the Circus at Twickenham Studios.
The dark alley, where the wolf is finally cornered, which seems to be in the West End, is Winchester Walk, south of the Thames, off the familiar location of Park Street (Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, Bridget Jones’s Diary among others) in Borough (tube: London Bridge).
• Many thanks to Stephan Dicke for help and corrections with this section.