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I Was a Teenage Werewolf (1957).

September 22, 2009

The Scoop:
This cult classic follows a formula pretty common in the late 1950s — take a conventional B-movie concept and weld it onto a teen alienation story derived from “Rebel Without a Cause.” Obviously, the B-movie theme this time around is lycanthropy.

A young Michael Landon (in tremendous spasms of scenery chewing) is Tony, a typical ’50s version of a troubled teen who is sent to psychologist Dr. Brandon (Whit Bissell) to get his head straight. Unfortunately, the doctor is secretly a mad scientist who wants to use Tony as the test subject for some hypnotic devolutionary mumbo-jumbo that turns people into werewolves. In completely predictable fashion, Tony turns hairy, terrorizes his small town, turns on Dr. Brandon, then is put down by the authorities.

The make-up isn’t bad, but otherwise the movie’s huge financial success at the time has colored its perception today, making it far too overrated. Especially bad is the “Eeny Meeny Mieny Mo” song.

Best Line:
“It’s my belief that these legends and myths died out with the invention of electricity.”

Side Note:
Landon later returned to spoof this material in an episode of “Highway to Heaven” called “I Was a Middle-Aged Werewolf.”

Companion Viewing:
Producer Herman Cohen’s follow-up films, “I Was a Teenage Frankenstein” (1957), “Blood of Dracula” (1957) and “How to Make a Monster” (1958).


Take a Look:
The trailer:

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