Still more lazy thoughts from this one…

TMT: In London, but on the Westside

This is the next entry in a Theatre… a Movie… and a Time, a series that was begun here. For October, as a fan of monster and horror films since childhood, I thought to tie these memories within that genre. It’s also the case this recollection should follow the previous entry. The two films have longed been tied to one another on subject matter and for the year they arrived on scene.

Jack: “David, you are hurting my feelings!”
David: “Hurting your feelings? Has it occurred to you that it might be unsettling to see you arise from the grave to visit me?”


The AVCO Centre Cinemas:

Images c/o Cinema Treasures site



August 22, 1981: The year was always going to be a haunted one, much like 1978. What with the death of my other parent (no, not dad — my maternal grandmother), there was no way around it. When the woman who was our mother was hospitalized in the late-50s with RA, my brother and I were separated (we’d never live together under the same roof again). He to our father’s mother pro tem, me to mom’s.

That’s where the similarities ended, though. When mom returned from her convalescence, my sibling came back home — her soon-be-ex-mother-in-law pretty much insisted upon it. My mother’s ma, on the other hand, was a different story. I’d spend the next two decades in each of their orbits. Though living at grandma’s, I was never away from either. Two planets laying claim to the same moon oscillating between their powerful gravitational fields.

Five months after she left this mortal coil, I was still with she-whose-name-must-not-be-spoken (and would be for a couple of years more). Back then, heading to Westwood Village to see movies was still very much the regular habit. Except, the woman I now lived with didn’t accompany moi to see An American Werewolf in London. I’d grown accustomed to this, what with a nurse’s work hours being very capricious.

The day after it opened, I found myself, yet again, at the AVCO Centre Cinemas — the second day in what’d turn out to be its four-week run there. As much as I enjoyed Joe Dante’s take with the werewolf genre four months prior, this one hit a different chord with me. Maybe it was the film’s keen use of music throughout, or the grisly special effects employed, that did it. Or, perhaps, I felt kinship with the plucky but doomed duo on-screen, trapped and separated by fate.

The entire TMT series can be found here. If you’re interested how it’s put together, click here.

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14 Responses to “TMT: In London, but on the Westside”

  1. ruth

    I miss your TMT post! As you know I don’t watch horror stuff but I’ve heard lots of good things about An American Werewolf in London. I might watch it just for the scenery :) Great post, as always!


    • le0pard13

      I didn’t realize I hadn’t done one of these in a while. Good to get back on track. Thanks, Ruth.

      p.s., the film is great, but it is ferocious. And it has the typical John Landis humor.


  2. Dan

    A poignant entry in the series…I enjoyed reading this, perhaps even more so because An American Werewolf is one if my favourite films. I do wonder why it holds such a special place for me…part of it is because the setting (although not the filming location) is near where I grew up…but I also think it is wonderfully effective in its depiction of horror and comedy…scares and laughs. Plus Jenny Agutter!!!


    • le0pard13

      Thank you very kindly, Dan. That’s great this film registers like that for you, Dan. Certain movies have that power and I think it splendid. Yes, AAWiL is one special experience (especially with its blend of horror, comedy, and the traditional tragic aspect well-known to the werewolf genre). Plus, Jenny Agutter in all her glory to the accompaniment of Van Morrison’s 1970 song:


  3. Eric

    Thanks for sharing your memories on these, Michael. An American Werewolf in London and The Howling are two horror staples that I still need to see. Hopefully I can catch them before the end of this month.


    • le0pard13

      Very kind of you to say, Eric. And I do very much recommend taking in ‘An American Werewolf in London’ and ‘The Howling’. They are special, indeed. Many thanks.


  4. The Focused Filmographer

    The strength of this series is always your connection made to the content. It is impressive to me and touching how you choose to share such personal moments and memories connected to film. Thank you for sharing and for the example. it takes courage.

    I’ve never watched An American Werewolf in London all the way through. Perhaps that will change this scary movie season.


    • le0pard13

      Thank you very much for your kind words, T. It means a great deal, my friend. And yes, please give AAWiL another screening. It really quite something.



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