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Parents' Guide to

I Was a Teenage Werewolf

By Charles Cassady Jr., Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 12+

Dated 1950s drive-in shocker has metaphorical bite.

Movie NR 1957 75 minutes
I Was a Teenage Werewolf Poster Image

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The plot seems to be missing a complication or two. Once Tony becomes a werewolf, there's little for the poor guy to do but lope around wooded backyards for a while until the law catches up with him. But the brisk little B-movie works thanks in no small part to future TV star Michael Landon, who makes the short-fused Tony a non-caricatured (if very 1950s-ish) portrait of a discontented youth; the boy's not really a hoodlum but perpetually PO'd because "people bug me" and constantly in trouble.

Drawing a parallel between the wolf metamorphosis and trendy Eisenhower-era fears of juvenile delinquency and boys-gone-wild as their hormones kick in was a neat idea. Producer Herman Cohen has claimed he purposely tapped into another primal fear that young audiences have -- that when they surrender their independence and power to doctors or other adult-authority figures, they will be abused, exploited, or in this extreme case, transformed into a monster (and Cohen went on to repeat the theme in later lookalike horror flicks like I Was a Teenage Frankenstein and Blood of Dracula). Michael Landon affectionately reprised the Teenage Werewolf role (and distinctive monster makeup) in an episode of his TV series Highway to Heaven, and the werewolf makes a guest appearance in the Stephen King shocker It.

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