I Was A Teenage Werewolf
Synopsis of Movie
Two of the most popular subjects for b-movie filmmakers in the 1950’s were monsters and juvenile delinquency. Both of these trends were united in I Was A Teenage Werewolf, a scary classic that also boasted a debut performance by future film and television legend Michael Landon.
I Was A Teenage Werewolf focuses on a Tony Rivers, a teenager with a bad temper. When he snaps and almost turns on his girlfriend, he realizes that he needs help. Tony turns to Dr. Alfred Brandon, a psychiatrist who agrees to treat him using hypnotherapy. However, this is no normal hypnotherapy. Brandon experiments on Tony with an experimental serum designed to prove Brandon’s theory about man’s animal-like nature by causing Tony to regress to a primitive state. At first, the serum seems to do the trick. Tony’s behavior improves and he impresses his teachers with his new positive attitude.
Just the same, all is not well at Tony’s high school. His improvement coincides with the beginning of bizarre series of murders that appear to have been committed by some sort of crazed animal. Tony’s control of his temper begins slipping once more, and he notices that he feels strange whenever he hears the school bell ring. He discovers that Brandon’s serum has turned him into a werewolf. As he fights to gain control of his now-monstrous nature, Tony realizes he must to bring the evil Dr. Brandon to justice.
The story may have been a little strange, but it played well thanks to solid writing and performances. Michael Landon made his reluctant werewolf character likable and sympathetic, and the good work he did here led to high-profile roles like ‘Little Joe’ on the television favorite Bonanza. Whit Bissell, a character actor who specialized in authority figures, also turned in a memorably intense performance as the villainous Dr. Brandon.
Best of all, the film really delivered in the scare department, including a memorably tense game of cat-and-mouse, wherein the werewolf stalks a solitary gymnast in the school gymnasium. Director Gene Fowler crafted these shock scenes well and would later make another creepy classic in I Married A Monster From Outer Space.
Another unique hook for the film was the unique appearance of the werewolf: a furry beast with claws and fangs who also happened to be dressed in a letterman’s jacket and blue jeans. Over the years, the amusing yet creepy appearance of this creature has become an icon of the horror movie.
I Was A Teenage Werewolf was intended as a drive-in quickie and made on a budget of less than $100,000. Everyone was surprised when it became a big hit and scored over $2 million at the box office. Its success led to more teen-horror movies from producer Herman Cohen. I Was A Teenage Frankenstein had Whit Bissell playing Dr. Frankenstein in a campus-set retelling of Frankenstein. There was also Blood Of Dracula, which featured a hypnotized teen girl becoming a vampire, and How To Make A Monster, which made a team of Teenage Werewolf and Teenage Frankenstein.
However, I Was A Teenage Werewolf continues to be the big favorite from this series with horror fans of all ages. For viewers who want a good old-fashioned monster movie with a hip teen twist, I Was A Teenage Werewolf continues to be the creepy classic of choice.
Movie Release History1957 - I Was A Teenage Werewolf
Movie Sub Categorieslive-action
Movie StudioAmerican International Pictures
CastTony Rivers/Teenage Werewolf Michael Landon
Dr. Alfred Brandon Whit Bissell
Arlene Logan Yvonne Lime
Jimmy Tony Marshall
Theresa Dawn Richard
Det. Sgt. Donovan Barney Phillips
Vic the Bongo Player Ken Miller
Peral, Vic's Girl Cindy Robbins
Frank Michael Rougas
Police Chief P.F. Baker Robert Griffin
Dr. Hugo Wagner Joseph Mell
Charles Rivers Malcolm Atterbury
Doyle Eddie Marr
Pepi the Janitor Vladimir Sokoloff
Principal Ferguson Louise Lewis
Bill Logan S. John Launer
Officer Chris Stanley Guy Williams
Mrs. Mary Logan Dorothy Crehan
Man w/crime scene photos Herman Cohen(uncredited)