In the 1981 film, An American Werewolf in London, Jack and David are backpacking across the Yorkshire moors, when they enter a pub called The Slaughtered lamb at night. When they ask about the five pointed star on the wall, everyone starts acting very strange and hostile, eventually making them leave the pub. When the locals knew that a werewolf roams in those moors and it was a full moon night, why did they make them leave?

Later they start repenting and go in their direction to save them, but I could not understand why did they make the Americans leave at the first place? Everyone starts acting as if the Americans were some kind of danger as soon as they asked about the star on the wall. It is later revealed that the locals knew this very well that if bitten by the werewolf another dangerous creature will be formed which will be very dangerous for all. Usually in plots like this, it is the traveler who insists on going out but the locals warn against it, but this was quite different. Did I miss something else in the story or was it really unusual?

  • 'you made me miss', 'local shop for local people' etc. - small communities not wanting to reveal their secrets to the outside world – queeg Oct 26 '14 at 14:36
  • They did not have to reveal any secret. They could have said anything, like they said to the doctor who visited the pub afterwards. – Ankit Oct 27 '14 at 5:41

The patrons of the Slaughtered Lamb are obviously aware of the roaming werewolf, and are naturally suspicious of outsiders. By barricading themselves into the pub, they are enacting a strategy against the beast which they are clearly familiar with.

Considering the remoteness of the location, and the fact that the locals are organized enough to band together within the Slaughtered Lamb every full moon, the inference here is that the identity of the Moors werewolf is known to them, if not one of their own.

Its not something explicitly stated within the film, but think about it: if the entire community huddles into a pub every month, and one person is always conveniently missing, it doesn't take a genius to work out which member of the community is a lycanthrope.

The fact that the strangers begin to inquire about the five pointed star (which is a pentagram, traditionally a ward against the supernatural) makes the villagers naturally suspicious and defensive: undoubtedly this is in reaction to what they might perceive as unwanted investigations that could reveal their knowledge of the werewolf.

In knowing about the creature and not reporting it to other authorities, they could be seen as being complicit in its survival by external sources and thus accomplices to its behavior: they could even be attempting to protect the werewolf, who may be one of them.

When the Hitchikers leave, their collective guilt seems to kick in, and they realize they have effectively knowingly sacrificed the two innocent strangers to the beast by allowing them to leave: the preferred strategy is to avoid the beast, but in finding it they have no choice but to kill it.

This is something they could have easily accomplished earlier, but for some reason have chosen not to... if all it takes to put the beast out of action is a well placed shotgun blast, surely this is preferable (not to mention the peace of mind granted) to locking the entire village up every month, so why haven't the villagers attempted this earlier?

...Because they didn't want to kill it unless neccessary: because it was one of them.


Another idea is that the locals at The Slaughtered Lamb are really just maintaining a strict rule of survival based on generations and generations of simple, crude tradition. The only way to be certain you can live through the full moon is to be barricaded in the pub, and don't let outsiders in. That way you know who's next to you and can be safe. Remember, werewolves are ancient creatures so that community has been trying to stay alive for years. I'm sure that there were occasions where lycanthropes tried to sneak into the bar either out of desperation and for help or to kill. So, even though David and Jack were nice guys, how would the locals know. They may/may not know who the current werewolf is (theres a lot of small towns out there) and they definitely don't know who else he/she bit. So, they kicked them out out of habit and to be safe then felt bad afterwards.

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