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I Was A Teenage Werewolf Review

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Hot-headed Tony Rivers, a misunderstood juvenile delinquent, volunteers for a course of hypno-therapy conducted by mad scientist Dr Brandon, and periodically transforms into a monster who terrorises the high school.

★★★★★

Quite apart from its modest but genuine virtues as an exploitation picture, this boasts one of the greatest titles in the cinema – a tabloid confessional exclamation which has been endlessly imitated, parodied and referenced down through the decades (star Landon appeared in an episode of the mild TV show Highway to Heaven called ‘I Was a Middle-Aged Werewolf’).

Besides the title, this has gone down in pop culture history because it's a clever little film, rising above the limitations of its intermittently ridiculous script thanks to effective direction from Gene Fowler Jr (who also made the soundalike I Married a Monster From Outer Space) and unusually committed performances. 'I don't like to hear the subject of a world‑shaking experiment referred to as a "victim",' snarls mad scientist Bissell, who -‑ under the influence of the then-topical Bridey Murphy case -‑ attempts to solve Landon's social problems by regressing him to an earlier evolutionary stage.

An unfortunate side effect is that he turns into a greasy‑haired, repulsively‑fanged werewolf when he hears the school bell. Typical of a cliché scene pepped up by Fowler's touch is the werewolf's attack on a leotard‑clad gymnast, where the creature is first seen from the point of view of the victim, upside‑down. Bissell may look like a buttoned-down 1950s type, but he’s just as mad as Karloff or Lugosi ever were, relishing the choice dialogue which enlivens the otherwise staider follow-up I Was a Teenage Frankenstein.

Landon's dilemma as a Dean‑age troublemaker whose uncontrollable hormones give him the worst ever case of unsightly facial hair and bad skin condition, makes the film a surprisingly perfect metaphor for miserable adolescence.

Overcomes a variety of short-comings to be a pretty smart little film