Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, September 20, 2012


Michael Landon as teen wolf


 I WAS A TEENAGE WEREWOLF (1957). Director: Gene Fowler, Jr.

"This is modern America -- not a hamlet in the Carpathian mountains!"

Tony Rivers (Michael Landon), who has serious anger management issues, is sent to a nutty psychiatrist named Dr. Brandon (Whit Bissell). Brandon has developed the insane theory that the only way to save mankind is to regress it back to its primitive state. To this end he experiments on poor Tony, using hypnotic regression to turn him more or less into a werewolf. Teenage Werewolf works on the level of an old horror comic book story, is nevertheless played more or less straight, and is not a bad picture. There is a genuinely well-done attack scene in a forest [greatly abetted by the performance of victim Michael Rougas] and the wolf make up is reasonably effective (even if the teeth could use a little work). Landon and Bissell give very good performances, and there's nice work from Louise Lewis as the concerned principle Ferguson, and Malcolm Atterbury as Tony's father. Guy Williams [Captain Sindbad] and Robert Griffin [Monster from Green Hell] are the cops on the case. The movie probably could have done without the "Eenie Meenie Minee Mo" number sung by the teens. Yvonne Lime makes virtually no impression as Tony's girlfriend. Released on a double-bill with I was a Teenage Frankenstein.

Verdict: Fun if downbeat horror flick. ***

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