Today’s showing is “I was a Teenage Werewolf” staring Michael Landon and Whitt Bissell. Released in 1957 in glorious black and white.I hadn’t seen this movie in a long time. I remember seeing it a couple of times on Saturday night’s Chiller Theater and maybe once in the VCR days. I scored a copy on eBay recently from a guy who was rolling his own. Ok so it’s not an official studio release but then again there is no official studio release. The eBay version isn’t bad, it’s a little fuzzy at times but that kind of adds to the dream like quality of the movie.
This movie should not be confused with Michael J Fox’s Teen Wolf. The only thing this movie has in common with is a high school student turns into a werewolf. Teenage Werewolf is more like Rebel Without a Cause turns into a Werewolf. Michael Landon, Bonanza’s Little Joe, handles the lycanthropic James Dean role reasonably well. Whitt Bissell is a bit bland in the Mad Scientist role. Some cackling would have helped although he does deliver the classic line “….and you call yourself a scientist!”.
One of the things I love about these low budget movies is the low budget. This isn’t Hollywood trying to recreate a period and restyling the clothing so it looks chic by today’s standards. For the most part I’d bet the costumes are the clothes the actors showed up in. The movie is filled with non classic old cars and sparse sets, in a word…perfect.
The movie starts with a fist fight that includes a nice fist to the camera shot that sends Landon’s Tony to the ground. Also note worthy is the incredibly wild party the gang throws since there are no adults around. Just like the rest of the movie, it’s so corny that it’s fun.