A hypnotherapist uses a temperamental teenager as a guinea pig for a serum which transforms him into a vicious werewolf.A hypnotherapist uses a temperamental teenager as a guinea pig for a serum which transforms him into a vicious werewolf.A hypnotherapist uses a temperamental teenager as a guinea pig for a serum which transforms him into a vicious werewolf.
Star making vehicle for Michael Landon
The influential "I Was a Teenage Werewolf" marked the starring debut of 20 year old Michael Landon, still two years away from TV's epic Western BONANZA. The sad fate of the late James Dean would inspire a number of copycat versions of "Rebel Without a Cause," so the intervention of new AIP producer Herman Cohen to combine teenagers and terror would quickly become a staple of drive in fare for many years (the shooting title was the very straightforward "Blood of the Werewolf"). Veteran film editor Gene Fowler Jr. (working steadily from the early 40s into the 80s) made his feature directorial debut, directing another six cult films and a number of TV episodes over the next five years before returning to the editing room for the remainder of his career. He was at the helm for Gloria Talbott's classic "I Married a Monster from Outer Space," plus a pair of early starring roles for Charles Bronson, in "Showdown at Boot Hill" and "Gang War," typically displaying more savvy than more experienced pros. Just as Alfred Hitchcock graduated from the editor's chair, Fowler benefits from a solid script and characterizations, instantly grabbing the audience with an opening fistfight that demonstrates the short temper and mistrusting nature of our protagonist, Tony Rivers (Landon), whose past run ins with the law have mounted to such a degree that he is now required to seek psychiatric help. Unfortunately (or fortunately, since we wouldn't get a monster), the MD turns out to be the less than ethical Alfred Brandon (Whit Bissell), who sees his latest patient as the perfect 'disturbed' subject to undergo hypnotic treatment coupled with a serum that is supposed to prove than mankind's future depends on the savagery of his past (another topical nod to Bridey Murphy). The first attack is masterfully staged, the intended victim walking home alone through the woods, unable to see whatever it is that's creeping up on him yet too terrified to escape (even the music is effectively scary). We first watch him transform into a sweater clad werewolf at the 45 minute mark when the school bell rings in his ear, his gymnast victim played by Dawn Richard, Playboy's May 1957 Playmate of the Month, who sees her attacker approach upside down in a nice touch. The remainder of the film keeps him in hirsute form, until his human self seeks help from the doctor who betrayed him, earning his justified reward. Landon takes full advantage of the part and always cherished his lone horror vehicle, paying tribute as a middle aged werewolf on his last TV series HIGHWAY TO HEAVEN. The transformations are done by lap dissolves, Landon's snarling, drooling creation one of cinema's best, going on to play a multitude of villains prior to the phenomenally successful BONANZA. From the teens to the cops the entire cast performs admirably, only the oddball scientist is cliched to the point of ridicule (we could of course do without the token musical number). Whit Bissell took the top slot in the even more outrageous "I Was a Teenage Frankenstein" before returning to supporting roles, while James Best ("The Killer Shrews") surprisingly pops up unbilled as a record spinner who gets slapped for being fresh. Both the Teenage Werewolf and Teenage Frankenstein would be teamed in "How to Make a Monster," Gary Clarke replacing Landon under the makeup. One of AIP's biggest moneymakers, earning $2 million on a budget of $82,000, theatrically double billed with Robert Gurney's "Invasion of the Saucer Men."
- Apr 4, 2019
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By what name was I Was a Teenage Werewolf (1957) officially released in India in English?Answer