I Was a Teenage Werewolf
(I Was a Teenage Werewolf)
I WAS A TEENAGE WEREWOLF, Gene Fowler, Jr., Director, with Michael Landon, Whit Bissell, Yvonne Lime, Barney Phillips, Guy Williams. Interesting idea done well. From the fist fight, the transformation, the destruction, to the demise, it rated a high audience score, because it is an intelligent movie about teenagers.
In the framework of a monster film, it explores what it was like and what it is like to be young. You notice Bissell says the word teenager as teen ager. It was that new a word then. As the psychiatrist, he experiments on his teenager who's angry all the time for no particular reason. It's just he wants to break free, bust out. The psychiatrist hypnotizes him back to his primal self. Which is the werewolf of course. This aspect of the film lies ahead of then, really.
Devolution. Primal self. And that being inside all of us that rages. Especially when we are young. When Landon finally turns into that werewolf, with his already double story head of hair (a JD for sure, with the letter jacket, natch), panic is achieved, as the alarm bell in school sounds and he, still in his high school clothes and jacket, menaces to the gym, to the girl hanging upside down on the parallel bars, as we see through her eyes as he meets his first kill. The upside down thing, the the high school monster and the helplessness is a brilliant idea. The mad scientist.
The monster who can't help himself. The killings. The legends of the old country, always wondered, which old country that was. There is break of tension at a Halloween party. And the song that will make your socks sweat. With a fine cast of character actors, a gripping .sense of form and a satisfying denouement. It is a film that has you on his side. So many people care about him and can't help him. Landon gives the character depth. I have to tell you, the werewolf is incredibly handsome. Go figure.
Hot rods be bop strict parents, all in 50's California black and white. A timeless film about being young and fate and tomorrow.