NOTE: Here is a Classic spoiler from Rose who says... "This is my favorite film. The music is superb.(Three separate classic renditions of Blue Moon.) There is no explicit nudity, the violence is subtle and the gore really not that bad."
Moody shots lead us deep into the Yorkshire Moors as the opening credits scroll down and Bobby Vinton sings: Blue Moon. . Gradually the camera picks out a single lane road coming over a rise, headlights coming towards us. The vast loneliness of the immense space is emphasized. Behind the lights is a battered blue pickup full of sheep. The truck stops at a fork in the road. The driver gets out, goes around and opens the back. Two wisecracking guys with backpacks get out; Jack (Griffin Dunne) and David (David Naughton). Lovely sheep! David says. Bye, girls! Jack says, much in the manner of a Hope & Crosby road picture.
Those sheep shit on my pack, Jack says. Then they start telling really bad knock knock jokes as they saunter towards the proverbial sleepy little village whose pub is called, The Slaughtered Lamb. The pub sign features a slavering wild dog with blood dripping from its teeth. The ancient pub is low raftered inside with surly locals who immediately go silent, stopping their chess game and darts throwing. The aging barmaid says no food is available and only the local ale.
Scrawled in the middle of the wall is a rough pentagram with candles burning beneath it on the table. . Jack asks one of the cloth-capped locals what it is. Dead silence falls. The boys begin making nervous references to old werewolf movies. Behind them the proverbial thunderstorm starts to roll. With no one talking to them, they pick up their packs and head for the door. Stay on the road, one of the locals says as they open the door. Keep clear o the moor. Another says, Beware the moon, lads, is the final warning as they go out into the darkness and start down through the fog into the shadows
Its murder, sending them out there! the barmaid protests. Its in Gods hands, the senior local says. Meanwhile, still talking like Bing and Bob, the two boys wonder off the road into the moors as it begins to rain. Camera returns to pub. Shouldve told them! the barmaid is still saying. Camera moves outside where a wolf is heard howling at a full moon.
Whats howling? David asks. Heathcliff?
Hound of the Baskervilles, Jack says. Coyotes.
They dont have coyotes in England, David says and they walk on.
Beware of the moon, Jack quotes. Stick to the road. Whoops. They turn and look back but cannot see any trace of road. Close beside them they hear a growl. Both start to run through the dark. Its a sheepdog or something, David says. Then he falls and something huge springs over him and goes for Jack, ripping out his throat as he yells for help. There is lots of blood. David gets up and starts to run, then turns and hurries back. Jacks body lies there, just pulp.
As David stands over Jacks corpse in shock, the men from the pub appear with guns and stick and begin shooting at whatever it was. It turns on David but the villagers beat it off then vanish, leaving David lying beside Jacks dead body, covered in blood.
The next scene is a hospital in London where two nurses are discussing an unconscious Davids circumcision. A very bossy doctor comes in, saying David was the victim of an escaped lunatic. In a coma for the past three weeks, David seems to be reliving some of the horror of the moors only this time he is in a very dark forest. Doctor returns when David is awake to tell him Jack is dead and an official from the American embassy has called Jacks parents and will be coming to see him. David becomes so violent he has to be sedated.
Police ask to interview him. The doctor says they should be told about the lunatic. David shakes his head. No, it was an animal, David says. A wolf. The doctor, who is starting to leave, comes back and says, wolf? Camera turns to doctors office where stolid detective sits in only chair and sergeant flits about the room, knocking over bed pans and generally upstaging his superior. Perhaps, prior to editing, these two were a larger part of the story.
Camera flicks back to the hospital room interview where the police have arrived to question David. He mentions the wolf and the sergeant says he might be right. No, no, the detective says, the locals shot the murderer in the act. There are autopsy results and witnesses. Couldnt be witnesses, David says. Jack was killed before they came. Besides it was pitch black and we were completely alone. Youve had a concussion, the detective says. My memory is FINE! David defends himself but seems concerned about his sanity.
Again we get a glimpse of the dark forest, this time with a naked running figure of a man. Gradually we realize the man is David as he grabs a deer and eats it raw. There is lots of blood.
Camera moves back to the childrens ward at Davids hospital where an engaging little boy persists in saying no to everything he is asked, obviously supremely secure in his situation in stark contrast to David who is unsure about everything. He hasnt been eating. The nurse comes in and says if he doesnt eat, shell feed him. They get down to first names as she sits on his bed and cuts up his meat. Then there is a flash to David running fully clothed with a pack, through the dark woods. Then he comes on himself lying naked in bed with the nurse. Then he becomes a corpse with a blue face.
In the next scene, David is saying he knows the doctor thinks hes crazy. You dont believe me, do you? he asks. Im expecting to hear something like: Please remain sane till you are no longer our responsibility. Then he tells the doctor he doesnt want to be alone and the nurse, Alex, is sent in to keep him company. She is reading A Connecticut Yankee In King Arthurs Court. The main character is A Curious Stranger.
Suddenly the camera switches inexplicably to a quiet suburban scene. Two children are watching the muppets, Miss Piggy and Kermit are doing a Punch and Judy scene. The doorbell rings. A little girl skips to answer it. Masked storm troopers with vampire faces stand on the doorstep with machine guns. In a violent frenzy, they shoot everyone, both parents and children, then set the house on fire. It is obviously Davids family. He wakes up horrified in his hospital bed to find a vampire coming through the window just as Alex comes in the door. The vampire stabs her. There is lots of blood. Then he wakes up from THAT dream.
Next day, as he begins to eat breakfast, Jack saunters casually in from the hall. He is dressed but all bloody and half his face is gone. He begins to eat Davids cereal. I had to come, he says. Your parents came to my funeral and my girlfriend, Debbie Kline. Jacks throat is obviously ripped out but he continues to talk. We were attacked by a werewolf, he says. I was murdered and now I must walk in limbo till the bloodline is severed. The last remaining werewolf must be destroyed. Kill yourself, David before you kill anyone. The undead surround me. If you dont kill yourself, Im condemned to walk the earth. Beware the moon.
The nurse comes in and Jack disappears. David tells her Jack was just there.
Your DEAD friend, Jack, she says.
He says Ill become a monster in two days, he says.
Youre being discharged tomorrow, she says. Do you have a place to stay?
The next scene is the two of them walking in downtown London, shopping for groceries, then taking the subway along with a full contingent of young people, sporting crimson Mohawks, studs, leather and green hair, cheek to jowl. They ride across town to her very spacious flat in an upscale neighbourhood. She gives him a tour of the small, high-ceilinged-with-crown-molding-white painted premises, bedroom last.
Very attractive and a little sad, he says. Then Alex tells him she doesnt make a habit of this. Ive had seven lovers, well, three were one night stands, she adds. They they shower together and make discreet love as Sam Cooks Marvelous Night For A Moondance,plays in the background.
Then they fall asleep, snuggled up. While Alex sleeps, David disentangles himself and goes nude into the bathroom where he finds a further decomposed Jack sitting on the toilet. Jack begins to tour the flat, peering in at the sleeping nurse, then sitting down in the living room. Why are you here? David asks him.
Sorry I upset you, Jack says. But Im one of the undead and youre a were wolf. Tomorrow you will change. You have to kill yourself before its too late.
This is just a nightmare, David says. Are you really dead, Jack? Am I going to sprout hair and fangs and eat people?
Youll kill and make others like me, Jack says. You have to take your own life. Im not pretending. This is real.
I wont be threatened by a walking meatloaf! David says, standing up.
Alex comes out of the bedroom in a robe and Jack disappears. Do I seem crazy to you, Alex? he asks. I just saw Jack again. Tomorrow Ill turn into a monster if I believe him. Do you believe me?
I believe youre very upset, Alex says. But a wolfman? Lon Cheny Junior? Claude Raines? A werewolf can only be killed by someone who loves him? All those old movie clichés?
The camera moves back to the moors, to the road we saw at the start. The doctors car is coming over a crest of the hill. It stops at crossroads with signs pointing to Leshire or East Proctor. There are sheep grazing as he pulls up at the Slaughtered Lamb pub again. Now we see there is a dark bronze statue of a grieving angel high on a pedestal in the courtyard. Unlike the uncertain approach of Jack and David before, the doctor trots in briskly, refusing to be put off by the locals falling silent.
Nasty business about those two young American boys, he says to the patrons. Last full moon? Escaped lunatic? Thunder rolls outside. When no one answers, he begins to kibitz on the chess game. Then he asks about the pentagram on the wall.
Are you a cop? one asks
No, Im a doctor, he says. The boy who survived is talking about werewolves and monsters. Im looking into his story.
They make brushing off gestures. The doctor offers to take on someone at chess. They decline. Then a young guy gets up, saying he has to check on the dogs and goes out into the storm. The barmaid slides to her eyes to the chess player who slides his back and then tells the doctor, No one here for you, son.
The doctor follows the young guy out and finds him waiting in a small nearby cemetery in the pouring rain. The boy is in danger, he says. It were a mistake Its almost a full moon. Hell change he begins to say when the chess player comes out of the pub and roars: Thats enough!
We are back in Alexs flat. She is heading to work and David is outside, seeing her off. A fat little Jack Russell comes along with two little girls and begins barking frantically at him. Turning to go back in, David discovers he is locked out. As he struggles to open a window, a marmalade cat hisses at him and arches its back. Once inside he makes faces at himself in the mirror, looks at his teeth, idly flicks the tv on and off again. Van Morrisons; I See A Bad Moon Arising begins in the background as he restlessly roams the apartment:
David opens the front door again and stands on the doorstep, then turns and again looks in the mirror, mutters Fee Fi Fo Fum! goes to the kitchen, opens and closes the frig, Bad Moon lyrics get stronger, Looks like were in for nasty weather
We move back to the pediatric ward at the hospital. Alex is standing at an open window staring at the full moon. Creedence Clearwaters Blue Moon begins in the background. David is in the middle of the living room, screaming as though he is being born. He tears off his clothes, watches his hands turn to claws, hair beginning to grow on his body. David cries for help. I didnt mean to call you a meatloaf, Jack! he roars. His teeth begin to grow as the song continues. His change is excruciating to watch, like a fit. His ears and jaw grows. The camera pans on the full moon outside and then there is a howl in the darkness.
The next scene is outside an apartment in a nice neighbourhood where a yuppie couple are planning to surprise friends by going up the fire escape. A huge hairy beast whom we know to be David, jumps and shreds them. There is lots of growling but we dont see much.
We flip back to the hospital where the doctor is asking Alex about David, noting that there is a full moon. Alex says hes staying at her flat and should be home. The doctor asks for her phone number and dials while she waits.
Then turn to the apartment building where the yuppie friend, holding a glass of white wine, is beating the bushes and looking around in the darkness outside, trying to discover what the loud growling noise was. He discovers a bloody severed hand and other limbs.
As he gasps, we move to Alexs telephone ringing in an empty flat.
David is having werewolf fantasies, Alex says. The doctor explains that the people in the pub were lying about there being a witness to Jacks killing. They were hiding the truth. David suffered a severe trauma. There could have been mass neurosis, causing them to believe it was a werewolf attack and David couldve been part of that., which might cause him to think hes becoming a werewolf. He decides to call the police.
We move to a group of street people under London Bridge by the Thames, warming their hands at a flaming barrel while a dog starts whining, then howling. I dont see anything! one of the men says before the carnage starts.
Then were in a deserted subway. A well-dressed man with a briefcase gets out. It seems to be the middle of the night. As he sticks a coin in a vending machine, we hear a howl echoing through the tunnel. Is someone there? he asks. There is another howl. I shall report this! he warns. Then, peering down the tunnel, he says, Good Lord! and begins to run as though hot breath was on his neck. The subway seems to be a labyrinth and we are reminded of the mina tour waiting a victim. He leaves his umbrella behind, falls on the escalator but continues to lie there as it brings him up to his death.
The scene shifts to mid-morning at the London zoo. The animals are clearly upset. There is a naked man whom we know to be David, sleeping serenly in the wolf cage. We never see any genitals. His pinkness against the greyness of the day is very striking. Gradually David becomes aware of where he is as the wolves peer at him with puzzled yellow eyes. Nice Wolf, he says. Ill be right back. Then he climbs from the cage and exits to a bush.
We return to Alex in her apartment phoning the doctor. He hasnt come back, she says with a helpless look.
At the zoo, David is watching visitors to the monkey case from behind his bush. He manages to convince a little boy with a bunch of balloons to come over and takes the balloons. The deep voiced, dignified child is very reminiscent of the miniature adult actor in Diamonds Are A Girls Best Friend. Going over to his mother he says, deadpan; A naked American man stole my balloons.
The doctor is seen reading the paper with the headline: MURDER VICTIM FOUND HALF EATEN!
Then we see the balloons sailing away.
After that is a shot of feet waiting in a lineup, loafers, pumps, oxfords, boots and then, bare feet. David is wearing a womans red coat, standing in line for a bus. When he returns to the flat in this condition, Alex asks: Where have you been?
I lost my mind and woke up in the zoo, David says. Whatd I do last night? I dont remember. The phone rings. It is the doctor, clutching the morning paper. Its all over TV and radio, he says. Bring David straight to the hospital, he tells Alex who agrees. The doctor hangs up and dials the police.
I havent felt so good in a long time! David says as Alex puts him a cab. He begins to nuzzle Alex and act amorous. The cabbie begins discussing the murders. Six victims in all different parts of the city. All mutilated.
Stop! Pull over! David says. He climbs out of the cab and runs off. Jack was right, he tells himself out loud. Im going to the police, not the doctor. He comes to Trafalgar square, sees a London bobbie and starts shouting: Queen Elizabeth is a MAN! Winston Churchill was foolish. Prince Charles is a faggot! The policeman ignores him.
Alex rushes up to him. Jack was real, David says. He tried to warn me. I love you. Stay away from me1 he says, kisses her and runs off, to be nearly struck by a car.
We move to the doctors office where Alex is talking to the two investigators. We must find him before nightfall, the doctor says. He tried to get himself arrested, Alex says.
It isnt that difficult, the police says.
David wants help, Alex protests.
Well find him. Not to worry, the detective says.
Then were at one of those bright red London phone booths where David makes a collect call overseas to his parents and gets his ten year old sister who is home alone. What? They never trusted me enough to leave me home alone when I was your age, you little creep, he says indignantly, for a moment forgetting whats happening. Tell them I love them, he says. Be sure to tell them that, he repeats. Dont fight with Max, he adds, who is obviously his younger brother. His sister objects and he adds, Try. I love you all.
We hear a police siren coming through the busy square where the booth is. David takes out a pocketknife and tries to slit his wrists but is unable to. It seems to be Piccadilly Circus. He enters a run down porno movie house and sits down next to a rapidly decomposing, near skeletal Jack as though he expected him to be there. On the screen are a naked couple spoofing porno films with no real skin evident.
Going to say I told you so? David asks.
Well I did, Jack says.
You look awful, David says.
Thank you, Jack says.
I dont remember killing people, David says.
What about the zoo? Jack asks.
Im actually glad to see you, David says.
I want you to meet some people, Jack says. David turns around and the whole back row is filled with his victims in various stages of devour. The man murdered in the subway whose name is Joe Kingsploy calls him a carnivorous lunatic who made his wife a widow and his children fatherless. And here I am, one of the living dead till the wolf bloodline is severed and the curse lifted.
Harry Burmen is one of the two tramps. He also objects to being eaten. Judith Brom is the yuppies woman David killed first. She is very polite.
Suicide is the only answer, Jack says. You must take your life.
Easy for you to say, David says. Youre already dead.
You must do it, Jack repeats.
How? David asks.
The back row of victims begins to debate how David should take his life. Sleeping pills, Joe says. Hang himself, the tramp advises. A gun. Dont need a silver bullet, another victim says. Throw yourself in front of the subway, Joe says again. A car crash, someone else advises. Meanwhile a scattered audience continues to watch the porno film. We see various glimpses of the action on the screen throughout and hear the sound track interspersed with the suicide pep talk by the dead.
David feels himself beginning to turn once again into a werewolf. Every time this happens, we feel his agony, his resistance, as though he were being born, fighting and clawing to stay as he is. As he changes someone in the audience begins to watch. He is reported and the usher goes to check on whats happening as the girl on the screen gets a phone call. There is a scream. The box office woman calls the police. They enter the darkened theatre as the woman on the screen answers the phone and find the body of Davids latest victim. The horrified disbelief of the policeman is superimposed over the action on the screen behind him.
Then we see the outside of the theatre with crowds rushing towards it to see what is happening as the police descend and try to keep everyone back. There are sirens. Then the doctor arrives. Suddenly a huge werewolf comes out of the theatre growling and thrashing. He grabs a man, bites his head off and sends it rolling into the street where it gets run over by a bus. This is perhaps the goriest bit of the film.
A near riot ensues. There are car crashes, dead bodies everywhere and a policeman is killed. The doctor seeks privacy and calls Alex who has been asleep,. The police chase the howling werewolf David to a dead end near the theatre. The scene grows more confusing with ambulances and sirens. We see the police loading their guns as Alex gets out of a cab.
Alex rushes towards where David is, followed by the doctor. The police sharpshooters are getting into position. The nurse breaks through their line but the doctor is unable to follow. She walks down the alley, calling his name. The camera begins to pull back as we see how alone David is in the darkness.
Theyre going to kill you. Please let me help you, Alex says.
David can only growl.
I love you, Alex says just as he leaps for her, the police fire and David changes back, falling nude to the pavement, in the classic position of Christ as he is taken down from the cross.
Alex sobs as Marcels Blue Moon, starts up slowly in the background.
Note: Among the credits at the end of the film are ...