I Was a Teenage Werewolf (1957)

Article #807 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 5-31-2003
Posting Date: 10-28-2003
Directed by Gene Fowler Jr.
Featuring Michael Landon, Yvonne Lime, Whit Bissell

A teenager having trouble controlling his rage hooks up with a psychologist who performs unethical experiments on him.

Title check: Technically, it’s accurate, and in its own way, the title is a classic of its sort, but it makes the movie sound a lot cheesier than it is.

This movie that attempts to combine teenagers and monsters is surprisingly effective on several levels; certainly, Michael Landon’s performance gives a lot of richness to the role. In fact, all the performances are good; the characters are solid, convincing, and have dimension. Some of the scare scenes are handled beautifully, particularly the walk through the woods sequence and the attack of the gymnast. In fact, I only have two real problems with the movie; the colorful old-world janitor who knows all about werewolves, as fun as he is, is pretty cliched and detracts from the believability of the movie, and the rationalization that the scientist uses for his experiments (that mankind is on the brink of destruction and can only be saved by regressing man back to his primitive instincts) is somewhat akin to saying that nuclear weapons are so dangerous they should only be left in the hands of paranoid schizophrenics; in short, it’s the biggest piece of crap I’ve ever heard in my life. Nonetheless, the good points far outweigh the weak ones, so much so that I’ll even forgive the musical number (“Eeny Meenie Minie Moe”), though I do wish they had synced up the singing with the music. By the way, the detective is played by Barney Philips, who would later grow a third eye for an episode of “The Twilight Zone.”

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