Teenage Monster (1958)

Article #1566 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 6-28-2005
Posting Date: 11-25-2005
Directed by Jacques R. Marquette
Featuring Anne Gwynne, Gloria Castillo, Stuart Wade

When a meteor kills a prospector and turns his son into a hairy monster, the grieving mother hides him away from the world. When she discovers a vein of gold in her husband’s mine, she moves to town, only to have her son go on a killing spree.

At the core of this movie is a potentially strong idea; a movie about a mother trying to hide and protect her monstrous son lends itself to some strong possibilities. You have the possibility of exploring any number of intriguing relationships and situations (the mother’s love for her son, the son’s attachment to his mother and fear of desertion, the scheming younger woman’s desire to escape from her condition and willingness to use anyone to serve her ends) that could have made for an emotionally compelling feature. Unfortunately, the movie fumbles the idea on practically every level; the direction by cinematrogapher Jacques R. Marquette shows a total lack of good judgment, the actors and actresses have no chemistry with each other, and the performances range from the merely adequate to the stunningly awful, and the script is full of howlingly bad lines. The worst performance comes from a miscast stuntman Gil Perkins who, at the age of fifty, plays the Teenage Monster. He reacts to every situation in the same way – with whiny, twitchy mewling. It’s just plain ridiculous to have characters engage in long conversations with the monster when only one in twenty of the monster’s lines are even remotely coherent. The end result is a movie that is painfully awkward. THE BRAIN FROM PLANET AROUS was its cinematic companion at the drive-ins, and though that movie is no classic, it must have seemed so in comparison to this one.

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