Teen Tony (Michael Landon) has problems adjusting and thus always gets
into trouble, so much so that well-meaning cop Donovan (Barney Phillips)
tells him to go see the local shrink Doc Brandon (Whit Bissell), something
Tony refuses to do of course ... until he (accidently) hits his girlfriend
(Yvonne Lime) when he blows his top once more.
The thing neither Tony
nor anybody else knows about Doc Brandon is actually a mad scientist
working on a way to regress humankind to a more primitive state in order
to save it, and in Tony he has found the perfect subject, turning him into
a werewolf under hypnosis.
Soon, one of Tony's friends is found dead,
killed by a wild animal, though there aren't any in the area, but nobopdy
suspects Tony of course. When he the next day in school spontaneously
turns into a werewolf and kills a pretty gymnast (Dawn Richard), several
people see him fleeing the scene, and though his face is that of a
werewolf, he is identified by his outfit.
Werewolf Tony is chased like
an animal (which he actually is), but he manages to outsmart his pursuers
and (as human) make his way to Doc Brandon, who he thinks is the only one
who can help him. Doc Brandon though thinks it's a good idea to hypnotize
him again and regress him to werewolf-state ... something the good doctor
hasn't totally thought through, because as soon as Tony is in his werewolf
state, he kills Brandon, only then he is shot by a couple of cops who have
finally caught up with him.
In a way, I Was a Teenage
Werewolf is a seminal fifties drive-in flick: There was hardly any
other film that managed to marry teenage alienation (seen through the eyes
of the younger generation) to the sciencde fiction/horror genre quite as
successfully, which includes making a point that the problems are mostly
caused by the grown-ups - and in that respect, the film perfectly related
to its target audience.
That said though, I Was a Teenage Werewolf
is not exactly a very good film, it's full of (teen)clichés, it's filmed
in a very impersonal style, its script is pretty stupid from start to
finish, its (too) low budget is often painfully obvious, and it never
manages to build up any real tension and suspense, up to the underwhelming
Having said that, fans of fifities drive-in cinema will probably
still love it, despite or maybe even because of its shortcomings.