David Kessler is the main protagonist in An American Werewolf in London.
David Kessler was a young man in his twenties in 1981. David had black curly hair and brown eyes. During his and Jack's visit to Northern England, David wore a red jacket, blue jeans, and carried a large backpack.
David was very humorous, shown with his interactions with Jack for becoming a werewolf bitten by a werewolf as the main antagonist.
David Kessler was an American from New York who engaged upon a backpacking tour of Europe with his friend Jack Goodman. In 1981, their tour brought them to Northern England. They hitched a ride with a sheep herder who dropped them off on a desolate road near the moors of East Proctor. After an uncomfortable ride in the flatbed filled with sheep, they disembarked the vehicle and the driver warned them to keep to the road and avoid the moors. David and Jack dismissed the man's advice, happy enough to simply be on their feet again. As day turned to night, the weather grew increasingly cold and they sought shelter inside an old-world pub called The Slaughtered Lamb. As soon as they entered the establishment, the two were greeted with cold stares and it became clear that they were very unwelcome there. They ordered some hot tea and the boys tried to fit in, but as the tension grew, they found it in their best interests to leave. As they exited the pub, one of the patrons warned them to "Beware the moon".
As soon as they started walking it began to rain. The rain and the inherent darkness led them astray and they soon lost track of the road. Realizing that they were lost in an empty field David remarked, "Oops". Moments later, they heard a vicious snarling coming from nearby. They tried to make their way back towards the road, but the growling kept coming closer. David stumbled and fell and when Jack leaned over to help him up, a werewolf sprang from the fog and attacked them. Jack was killed immediately and the beast scratched David across the face and chest. The villagers from the bar came out and shot the werewolf and David witnessed the creature transform back into a man before he lost consciousness.
Meeting Alex Price
He remained in a coma for three weeks. When he awakened, he found himself at St. Martin's Hospital in London. The chief of medicine Doctor J.S. Hirsch confirmed for David that Jack was dead. He tried to reassure him, noting that his parents had been informed of the attack and that a member of the American consulate was making all of the arrangements for him to be brought home. A police inspector named Villiers and a Sergeant McManus asked him about the attack. The official record stated that the boys had been attacked by an escaped lunatic, but David insisted that they were in fact attacked by an animal. David began to panic and the staff were forced to sedate him.
One of the attending nurses was a woman named Alex Price. Alex was instantly drawn to David and helped him on his road to recovery. David proved to be a difficult patient however when he refused to eat, forcing Alex to feed him by hand.
During the evenings, David was plagued by bizarre nightmares. In the dreams, he saw himself running naked through the forest attacking and eating a deer. In another dream, he saw himself as the victim of a horde of Nazi monsters that break into his home and slaughter his family. The most stark imagery was unfortunately not a dream at all.
The ghost of Jack Goodman appeared before him in his hospital room. His face bore the savage testament of their hapless journey through the moors. Jack confirmed what David always suspected - that they were attacked by a werewolf. Now however, Jack's spirit is cursed to wander limbo until the bloodline of the werewolf can be destroyed. Solemnly, he told David that he was now a victim of the werewolf curse. The only way to put himself and Jack at ease was for David to take his own life.
Initially, David dismissed Jack's visitation as simply another nightmare, but with each passing moment he began to understand and agree with Jack's sentiments. As anxiety gripped him, David called for the nurse. Jack disappeared with the parting words, "Beware the moon".
On the day of David's discharge from St. Martin's, he had nowhere to go. Alex invited him to stay with her at her flat. She admitted that she was not used to inviting strange American men into her home, but confessed that she was also terribly attracted to him. The two made love with one another that evening.
The following morning, David received another visitation from Jack. His appearance was in an advanced state of decay and he reiterated the need for David to take his own life or else he will become a murderous beast when the full moon rises. After Jack disappeared, David expressed his concerns to Alex, but neglected to go into any great detail about his werewolf anxieties.
Alex went to work, leaving David alone in the flat. He spent the day puttering about trying to entertain himself, but when the full moon rose, David experienced his first change. He transformed into a werewolf and prowled off into the streets of London seeking prey. His first victims were a couple named Harry Berman and Judith Browns. He then stalked a trio of winos near the river named Alf, Ted and Joseph and slaughtered them as well. David then went to a tube station where he hunted and ultimately killed a passenger named Gerald Bringsley.
The following morning, David awakened naked in a wolves' den at the London Zoo. He had no memory of what had transpired the night before. Climbing out of the cage, he sought to find anything to cover up his nakedness. He stole a bunch of balloons from a young boy to obscure his private parts and ran down the street, ultimately stealing a woman's coat.
When he got back to Alex's place, David was in good spirits. Alex was overjoyed to see him as she was worried as to where he had disappeared to. At the behest of Doctor Hirsch, they both agreed to return to St. Martin's for observation. They hailed a taxicab and the driver commented on the six murders that had taken place the night before. David now realized that everything Jack had told him had been true. Though he couldn't remember it, he was convinced that he had turned into a werewolf and killed those people.
David stopped the cab and began running down the street. Alex chased after him and David found a police officer. He confessed to the murders and begged the officer to arrest him. The man didn't believe David's admission and told him to move along. Shocked, David did everything short of striking the man to get him to arrest him. He began shouting profanities and disparaging remarks about English culture. Still, the officer refused to arrest him. Grabbing Alex, he told her that he loved her, but for her own safety, she needed to get as far away from him as possible. Once he was alone, David telephoned his family in the States to tell them that he loved them.
That evening, David was walking past a pornographic movie theater in Piccadilly Circus when he saw the image of Jack Goodman for a third time. Jack beckoned him inside where he found himself seated next to the gruesome spirits of the people he had killed. Jack reinforced the notion that David had to kill himself. The other ghosts in attendance offered forth their own ideas on the best way for David to do himself in.
As the moon rose in the night time sky outside, David experienced his second and final change. He shape-shifted into his werewolf form and slaughtered the human patrons of the movie theater. An usher came upon the carnage and tried to contain the werewolf by sealing the outside security gate, but David tore through the steel door into the street outside.
He attacked several pedestrians and caused massive widespread panic that resulted in a multi-car collision at the intersection. Police with riot gear were called to the scene and they erected a barricade, trapping the werewolf in a dead-end alley. Alex Price arrived and broke through the perimeter and walked down the alley. She finally came to see that David had been telling her the truth about being a werewolf. Tearfully, she told David that she loved him just as police opened fire on him. Once he was dead, the werewolf transformed back into the shape of David Kessler.