An American Werewolf in London is one the seminal horror movies of the 1980s, if not all-time. The only lycanthrope film that’s able to stand shoulder to shoulder with The Wolf Man, this 1981 macabre masterwork married ‘80s sarcasm with Gothic thrills. It is also a movie that writer-director John Landis penned as a teenager about a decade before its release—and obviously had nothing to do with its belated 1997 sequel, An American Werewolf in Paris.
Still, it’s widely known that Landis pitched a version of the An American Werewolf in London sequel that was never used, and now he is opening up on what exactly that movie would have looked like. Speaking with author Paul Davis for his new book, Beware the Moon: The Story of An American Werewolf in London (which is about to be released), Landis gave the whole gist of what his version of werewolves in London and Paris would’ve looked like—which included the return of Jenny Agutter’s Alex character, a detour in Paris, and even the skeletal ghosts of the first film’s main protagonists, David and Jack (David Naughton and Griffin Dunne).
As Davis writes of Landis’ recollections (via Digital Spy):
“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.
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 traumatised by what happened. 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!”
Sadly we never saw this movie—Kuhn apparently hated the script—and we instead endured CGI werewolves attacking poor Tom Everett Scott and Julie Delpy. Nevertheless, it might be for the best to leave the original classic as just that: a standalone classic. Perhaps John Landis’ son, Max Landis, should keep that in mind as he continues to work on a remake of his father’s best movie.