There was time when STARBURST was appealing to the FANGORIA market and the AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON issue (No. 40, Volume 4, Number 3, 1981) has a cover that is drenched in blood, featuring a publicity still, with the incongruent promise of Walt Disney’s FOX AND THE HOUND (1981). It was different times.
Inside the magazine, it was not much better, with the emphasis on the gore and gorged eyes from DEAD AND BURIED and THE BEYOND. I have bought the copy that I have now on e-bay as my original copy was cut up to appear in a school project. We were asked to produce a magazine about the strange and the unexplained. I relished the exercise, producing a magazine that was named ENIGMA and featured stills from this copy of STARBURST. I was given a good grade for the work, but was asked to remove the pictures of throat-cutting nazis. I don’t know why it caused so much offence.
The film is given a positive feature review by John Bronson who rightly recognises that this is a revolutionary film within the genre. He concentrates much of his analysis on the transformation scene, where he says, “these days the idea of someone turning into a werewolf has become something of a joke. It’s something of a joke. Its the stuff of old Universal movies – the ones everyone laughs at on tv as poor Lon Chaney Jnr gets progressively hairier. But what Landis does in this movie is day – right, we all know its a joke but just imagine but just imagine what would happen if you were forced to accept it as being true even though you didn’t want it to.”
He points to one flaw in the film. He doesn’t like the sentimental ending that I’ve always found very touching. Maybe you have to have a natural affinity to Jenny Agutter. In the same issue she features in the FANTASY FEMALES IN JEOPARDY with a caption saying “Jennie Agutter in something or another.” John Landis apparently had a retort, saying, “Only people over 40 who don’t like the ending.”