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London on screen: the cinema from ‘An American Werewolf in London’

By Thomas Hobbs
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Did you know that one of the key locations for ’80s horror classic ‘An American Werewolf in London’ is now a branch of Gap? Here’s a look behind the scene…

The location: Eros Cinema, Piccadilly Circus.

The scene: David Kessler – an American backpacker by day and werewolf by night – is cursed to see the undead souls of his victims. Towards the end of the film, he spots the rotting corpse of his murdered friend Jack Goodman leading him towards a grimy porno theatre. Inside are all the Londoners he has murdered in his wolf form. Yes, this is quite a weird film.

Then: In the early ’80s, the Eros Cinema was right in the middle of London’s red-light district. ‘You went there to catch a racy European arthouse flick,’ says architecture critic Ellis Woodman. ‘This area was associated with sex and a lot more derelict than it is today.’

Now: The Eros Cinema is no more: it closed in 1985 and the site now houses a Gap store (currently covered in scaffolding). ‘An American Werewolf in London’ perfectly captures a time where Piccadilly Circus was less a tourist hub, more an extension of seedy Soho.

For more of the city on screen, check out our list of the 30 best London movies.

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