1981’s An American Werewolf in London is one of the most highly regarded horror films ever made (and probably the most highly regarded horror/comedy ever), yet its sequel — 1997’s An American Werewolf in Paris — was a disaster. The main reason why that is is because basically no one from the original film had anything to do with the long-delayed sequel, but that almost wasn’t the case. As it turns out, original writer/director John Landis had a plan for his own sequel back in 1991, and it sounds like it would have been pretty great.
Apparently, Landis was asked by PolyGram, the production company behind the first film, to create a sequel ten years after the original, but sadly it never ended up being made. Landis details his idea in the new book Beware the Moon: The Story of An American Werewolf in London by Paul Davis, describing the plot, which featured the return of all the main characters, as follows, according to Digital Spy:
“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 [Alex] 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 traumatized 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! I gave the script to [then PolyGram executive] Michael Kuhn and he loathed it! He absolutely hated it and was actually pretty insulting about it. Clearly he would have hated the script for the first movie, because like that, it was funny and scary – and if anything, a little wackier.”
The idea of Alex — the nurse from the first film — being the werewolf is indeed wacky, but also pretty awesome. It would really add some excitement to the film while also putting the original in a whole new light. We also love the thought of all the old barflies still hanging out in the Slaughtered Lamb ten years on, though we’re not sold on an arcade dart game replacing the actual dart board — that would immediately date the film and none of those guys looked like they’d be much into video games anyway. Still, that’s just one small nitpick in what sounds like would’ve been a great story, and we’re bummed that we ended up with An American Werewolf in Paris instead. Nice going, Michael Kuhn, whoever you are.
Meanwhile, the next attempt at continuing An American Werewolf in London‘s legacy — or further tarnishing it — will come in the form of a reboot directed by Landis’ son, Max Landis. We’re cautiously optimistic about that one, since the junior Landis has a pretty solid track record, but now that we’re hearing about this sequel, we kinda just wish he’d make that instead.