An American Werewolf In London

Lot #39 - Entertainment Memorabilia Live Auction - Rick Baker SFX "Change-O" Mechanical Werewolf Transformation Bust

Stock #104718

This lot will be sold on Tuesday, 1st December (day 1 of the auction.) Lots 1-463 will be sold on day 1 (lots 464-913 will be sold on day 2). The auction will begin at 2:00 pm GMT. Lots are sold sequentially so there is no preset ending time. A live streaming broadcast of the auction will be available on auction days.

A special effects "change-o" mechanical werewolf transformation bust from John Landis' horror comedy An American Werewolf in London. After screaming in pain with the rise of a full moon, college student David Kessler (David Naughton) transformed into the titular lycanthrope. This scene is considered one of the greatest special effects sequences in the history of cinema.

All of the film's innovative makeup and special effects were created by renowned special effects artist Rick Baker, who won the first ever Academy Award® for Best Makeup and Hairstyling for his work on this production. Baker went on to win the award seven times throughout his career.

This is one of two "change-o" heads created to showcase the stages of the transformation. The lot comprises a fibreglass skull and hunched over shoulders, featuring protruding vertebrae at the back. The majority of the skin and fur have unfortunately worn away over time, but there is evidence of the original smooth-on urethane skin on the neck, and there are some sporadic hairs still adhered to the piece, notably on the lower jaw. The prominent jaw section displays a set of yellowed fangs.

When in use, the forehead and cheek sections of the piece move outwards and the jaw section extended forwards, opening the mouth. These actions would have been operated on set by a team of effects technicians using air-filled syringes. This mechanism has been sympathetically replicated using electric motors and cables, allowing the piece to cycle through a series of movements that recreate the motion seen in the film.

The lot remains in a working condition and is presented on a custom-made display base containing the electric pneumatic components. The film's title and the text "The original 'change-o' head #1" decorate the front of the display. Powered by a UK 250V plug, the title illuminates via a large red switch situated at the back of the base. The lot is accompanied by two separate remotes which control the animatronic features. Dimensions (displayed): 50 cm x 58 cm x 65 cm (19 3/4" x 22 3/4" x 25 1/2")

Contains electronics and mechanical components; see electronics and mechanical components notice in the Buyer's Guide.

Special shipping required; see special shipping notice in the Buyer's Guide.

Estimate: £30,000 - 50,000 †Δ


Item size - 25.59" x 22.83" x 19.69" (65cm x 58cm x 50cm)

Certificate of Authenticity This item comes with a Prop Store Certificate of Authenticity.

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