Happy Halloween, Legions of Fans!
Quick post today (lot’s of H-ween work to be done). I just watched John An American Werewolf in London for the first time. John Landis’ 1981 horror film is a definite high point in the genre. The humor is well deployed and doesn’t detract from the spookiness. Also, it’s streaming on Netflix and Amazon Prime right now.
What’s really surprising is how well the special effects stand up. It has not (to my knowledge) undergone a Star Wars style CGI-ification. Everything you see is “practical effects.” It represents a high point in the craft.
I also am in the process of re-watching Guillermo del Toro’s, Hellboy. All in all, the 2004 film is a fun, visually arresting romp through the occult with welcome references to the inter-dimensional horror of H.P. Lovecraft. However, some of the CGI effects wear better than others.
Where much of American Werewolf‘s makeup and special effects are still eye-popping, certain scenes in Hellboy feel underwhelming 12 years after the initial release. It’s distracting when the excellent Ron Perlman is obviously fighting a tennis ball on a stick.
This comparison is not to suggest that all CGI is bad all the time. And I’m not trying to dissuade you from watching Hellboy. You should absolutely watch this movie (it too is streaming on Netflix). I’m trying to suggest that CGI is like ketchup. Depending on the dish, you can use a little or a lot, but it’s rare that you need to use the whole bottle (I’m looking at you Zemeckis!). Films like An American Werewolf in London remind us that you could still make an excellent burger before the invention of ketchup.