FULL MOON HIGH (1981)
Article 4986 by Dave Sindelar
Directed by Larry Cohen
Featuring Adam Arkin, Roz Kelly, Ed McMahon
What it is: Werewolf comedy
When a high school football player contracts lycanthropy on a trip to Romania, he drops out of school and travels around the world right before the big game. Twenty years later he returns and goes back to school, hoping to break the curse by making a touchdown in the big game.
Larry Cohen is a very interesting writer and director, but that doesn’t necessarily mean he has a flair for comedy. I will admit there are some fun lines and entertaining moments in this werewolf comedy, and the movie actually starts strongly enough that I thought I was going to enjoy this one. Alas, when it doesn’t work (which sadly is most of the time), it feels forced and awkward, and occasionally even desperate. I gather that Cohen was also intending to make some observations about how times and people change, and I can see some attempts being made in that direction, but the movie is a little too silly to make it stick and it gets lost. It’s also rather disappointing that the werewolf makeup is extremely lame. For me, the best thing about the movie was a surprise appearance by Adam Arkin’s father Alan as a psychiatrist that treats his patients by insulting them; he’s the only thing in the movie that is consistently funny. The movie may also have the single weirdest variation I’ve seen on the shower attack scene from PSYCHO, and though it feels out of place, it’s far from the only thing in the movie that does. All in all, I thought this one was a bit of a mess.