LOUISVILLE LOVES HORROR #11: Jake Hellman of Quiet Hollers LOVES American Werewolf In London (1981)

Nowadays, aside from being a member of the Never Nervous team,  Jake Hellman plays bass in bummer rock band Quiet Hollers whose recent self titled album has continued to garner critical praise not only here in Louisville, but all over the world. I’d like to say that their rapidly growing warm reception has been a bit of a surprise, but after spending just a bit of time with their new record I’m sure you’ll understand what the hubbub is about.

The next Quiet Hollers show is scheduled to happen this  Thursday, October 13 at Tim Faulkner Gallery as part of the LEO Reader’s Choice Party. Tickets cost $10 and can be purchased here.

Jake and I have a lot in common, which in part is the reason that we’ve been close friends for 15+ years (wow, has it been that long?!).  We met in high school, and quickly bonded over our similar passion for music, movies, and sports. Over the years we’ve played in several bands together and had good times making music with one another, but I’d be willing to say the majority of my most cherished memories with this guy involve us just watching a movie while drinking beer.

He’s kind of a nerd in the best way as his love of pop culture is as deep as it is infectious. Naturally I was especially curious to see what movie he’d decide to discuss as part of our ongoing daily LOUISVILLE LOVES HORROR series. He decided to give a bit of personal insight into one of his favorite scary movies, a flick that may be the defining comedy-horror mash up…


It may not come as a surprise to most, but I was an uber-nerd in middle school. I had my first girlfriend in eighth grade and I don’t think her father liked me much, especially after he took us to a haunted house and I was paralyzed with fear behind his daughter most of the way through. I didn’t like him much either, but he made sure that I saw his favorite movie, American Werewolf In London and I’ll always appreciate that.

American Werewolf in London is the perfect comedy horror film. It has just enough serious gore via Rick Baker‘s revolutionary and imaginative special effects to keep you on the edge of your seat. Simultaneously it has ridiculous, dark humor of a variety that has only been matched, in my opinion at least, by Beetlejuice. Where Beetlejuice is mostly a comedy, AWIL stands out because it’s still overwhelming as a horror film.

AWIL is about two backpackers traveling Europe who are attacked by a werewolf early on. One dies, the other goes through a long and agonizing process of transforming into a werewolf himself. The transformation scene is one of the greatest in cinematic history (see below); the special effects as a whole are fucking stellar. There are nightmare sequences that will chill you to the bone. There are also conversations with the rotting dead people that will have you crying with laughter. This movie is an absolute must see for all fans of the horror, comedy, and horror/comedy genres.

Worth Noting: There is no better soundtrack for a werewolf movie than this one. It’s the best use of “Bad Moon Rising” by CCR that you will ever experience. Listen to it here.