Major spoilers below for American Gods' latest episode.
Even with Neil Gaiman's novel as a blueprint, Bryan Fuller and Michael Green's adaptation of American Gods is about as unpredictable as TV gets, and fans who tuned into "Git Gone" expecting more old-timey prejudice from Mr. Wednesday and further wisdom from the Zoryas were treated to an installment focused entirely on Emily Browning's Laura Moon. While supernatural things definitely happened, it was a more human episode than others, though one of its inspirations was anything but. Speaking with CinemaBlend about the episode, Fuller revealed to me how the classic horror-comedy An American Werewolf in London was an inspiration for Laura's return.
We had talked a lot about Griffin Dunne and American Werewolf in London, and the rate of decay he was experiencing, and how to use that narritively to arc out Laura's story. So we were very conscious about where we were in her arc and how much rotting and corpse humor we could use. [laughs] We may have indulged at a high rate and will probably continue that pattern.
Perfecto point of reference, right? I mean, few second banana characters in horror's history are as memorable in a visuall and tonal sense than Griffin Dunne's Jack Goodman. John Landis' An American Werewolf in London is revered by fans and critics in two big ways. First is the legendary Rick Baker's makeup work, itself a basis for the Oscars introducing a Makeup category, and though David's big werewolf transformation is often cited the most, Jack's increasingly disgusting mug was the gift that kept on giving. The second reason is the winning balance between legitimate genre scares and the macabre EC Comics-ish humor, showcased perfectly in Dunne's scenes. Laura's official American Gods introduction dealt with both gross-out gags and gory visuals in an equally excellent manner, and I cannot wait to see what happens next.
After learning why they expanded Laura's story from the book to the Starz series, I had to ask Bryan Fuller and Michael Green about the amazingness that was "blood-stained Emily Browning walking about with only one arm attached," but I'll admit good ol' Jack Goodman didn't cross my mind at all while watching. Not much did, really, because I was either trying to wrap my head around the slo-mo bloodbath at Shadow's attempted hanging, or I was laughing hysterically at Betty Gilpin's shriek-filled reaction to her resurrected best friend.
That particular sequence, which mostly took place inside Audrey's bathroom, was easily the funniest scene that American Gods has given fans thus far. (At least in my opinion.) And in true Laura-fashion, Emily Browning rolled with the punches with an emotionally pragmatic distance, with the character not immediately grasping why Audrey is reacting quite so harshly to the grave-fresh return of the person responsible for simultaneously killing her husband and outing him as an adulterer, all while the former corpse is having a toilet purge for the ages. This is just the kind of absurdity that happens in the best horror-comedies, and while it's not exactly what we expected from American Gods in the middle of its freshman season, we welcome anything and everything Fuller and Green are bringing to Czernobog's table. And we're pretty sure Jack Goodman would approve.
While An American Werewolf in Paris was a forgettable follow-up to the London original, Bryan Fuller and Michael Green should be the pair that brings the American Werewolf flicks back to the horror forefront, right? After howling at the moon and checking out more American Gods stories that the co-creators shared with us, get ready for more all-new episodes every Sunday night on Starz at 9:00 p.m. ET. Then head to our summer TV premiere schedule to see what other fantastic shows are hitting the small screen soon.