A group of us guys were discussing the scariest films we'd seen as kids. I was 10 in 1957 when I saw this film while spending a week on Catalina Island. The theater was at the landmark "Casino" which was about a half mile walk from the small port village of Avalon. I was heavily absorbed in war, sci-fi, and western action films, with a special appreciation for stunts and special effects but unfamiliar with the horror genre in general and werewolf lore in particular. I was also the runt tagging along with a trio of cool eleven year old friends. It could've been a scene out of "Stand By Me". Four smart-ass kids walking at night down a dirt road to see "I Was a Teenage Werewolf" for my first and only time.
As an aspiring artist, I remember being fascinated by the opening titles where a make-up artist sketched the monster's face but when the actual transformation took place in the film it freaked me out, to say the least. Maybe it was the collective scream of a hundred other kids, but I covered my eyes until brave enough to slowly glimpse the monster. The scenes shot in Griffith Park looked too much like the dark, tree lined path we had walked to the theater. That half mile walk back to town was the longest, creepiest walk of my childhood.
A few months later I saw "A Man of a Thousand Faces" and became completely fascinated by the art of make-up and dove into everything I could find on Lon Chaney Sr. Later I finally saw Chaney Jr. in "The Wolf Man". By then I was too cool to be scared but still reading anything I could find on werewolf and vampire lore and probably first in line to see "I Was a Teenage Frankenstein".
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