|I WAS A TEENAGE WEREWOLF (director: Gene Fowler Jr.; screenwriters: story by Ralph Thornton/Herman Cohen & Aben Kandel; cinematographer: Joseph La Shelle; editor: George Gittens; music: Paul Dunlap; cast: Michael Landon (Tony Rivers), Ken Miller (Vic), Whit Bissell (Dr. Alfred Brandon), Yvonne Lime (Arlene), Barney Phillips (Detective Donovan), Vladimir Sokoloff (Pepe), Joseph Mell (Dr. Hugo Wagner, Brandon's assistant), Dawn Richard (Theresa), Michael Rougas (Frank), Cindy Robbins (Pearl), Robert Griffin (Chief Baker), Guy Williams (Officer Chris), Louise Lewis (Miss Ferguson), Malcolm Atterbury (Charles, Tony's father), Dorothy Crehan (Mary, Arlene's mother), John Launer (Bill Logan, Arlene's father); Runtime: 76; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Herman Cohen; AIP; 1957)|
title but a lousy movie."
by Dennis Schwartz
great title but a lousy movie. Gene Fowler Jr. ("Gang
War"/"Showdown At Boot Hill"/"I Married a
Monster from Outer Space") directs this
low-budget AIP film, that's a blend of troubled youth
and horror movie. It's shot in black and white. The
nonsensical schlock film registers as a bad movie cult
classic that some might enjoy more than others, and
can be remembered for starring Bonanza's Little Joe as
teen Tony Rivers (Michael Landon) is a
hot-head, who always gets into fights. Tony attends Rockdale
High School, whose principal, Miss Ferguson (Louise
Lewis), and the local detective,
Donovan (Barney Phillips), who
breaks up his fights, both recommend he get help from
Dr. Alfred Brandon (Whit Bissell), a psychologist
at the local aircraft plant who treats problem
children without a charge. At a teen Halloween party,
Tony goes berserk over a prank and beats up his friend
Vic (Ken Miller) and has no
choice anymore in resisting treatment with the shrink.
Tony is encouraged to get help by his hard working
widowed night-shift aircraft plant father (Malcolm Atterbury)
and his sweet girl friend Arlene (Yvonne
shrink injects Tony with a serum and puts him under
hypnosis. Brandon uses Tony to gain fame through the
unscrupulous treatment of his violent behavior, in the
hopes it will get national attention. The unrecognized
experimental treatment causes a regression back to
Tony's primal instincts, and after just two sessions
Tony turns into a werewolf. When Tony's friend Frank
walks through the woods after leaving the teen's
hangout, Tony appears as a werewolf and kills him with
his fangs. A second werewolf murder occurs in the
school gym, where the school bell transforms Tony into
a werewolf and he slaughters an exercising gymnast,
Theresa (Dawn Richard, Playboy Playmate).
Though Tony's face is that of an animal, those in the
school building recognize him by his clothes and the
police try to capture him as he flees into the woods.
Tony evades the manhunt and in the morning after
appearing normal again returns for help to the
demented scientist Brandon and during the treatment
session when the phone rings he turns werewolf and
Brandon pays the piper for his evil deed.
The clunky story by Ralph Thornton never is more than a titillating B-film cheapie and the production values are poor, but the acting is bearable and on par with the genre's requirement for such hokum.
REVIEWED ON 4/21/2014 GRADE: C+
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
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