I Was a Teenage Werewolf (Gene Fowler Jr. / U.S., 1957):

The animosities of adolescence, fur in new places and raw meat on the plate, a girlfriend uneasy about hormonal flares. "Do I have to draw you a diagram?!" It opens mid-dogfight, the young hothead (Michael Landon) brawling in the dirt because "people bug me." His father (Malcolm Atterbury) is a helpless widower, the police detective (Barney Phillips) is tired of giving him breaks, his date (Yvonne Fedderson) begs him to seek help. "I say things. I do things. I don’t know why," he moans. Back to "savage beginnings," declares the psychiatrist (Whit Bissell), who straps the lad down and coaxes out the primordial beast. The upshot is the eruption of lycanthropy in Eisenhower’s placid campus, a wily joke that finds the moody juvenile metamorphosed into a fanged bison in a varsity jacket, seen at one point skulking toward the upside-down coed in the gymnasium in an echo of Nicholas Ray’s own high-school tale. "Le loup criait sous les feuilles..." Vladimir Sokoloff as the janitor full of Old World warnings is out of Val Lewton, Albert Bandura’s experiments in aggression are concurrent, Russell in Altered States sees a parable for the Artist. Having edited films for Lang and Fuller, Gene Fowler Jr. knows how to pull the whole megillah together into a potent little apocalypse, with anxious youth and corrupt adulthood both sprawled lifeless on the laboratory floor. De Palma’s Carrie picks up the line of thought and explodes it, Landis' Thriller is an ample analysis. With Tony Marshall, Dawn Richard, Ken Miller, Robert Griffin, and Joseph Mell. In black and white.

--- Fernando F. Croce

Back to Reviews
Back Home