Before he had a Little House on the Prarie, or traveled on the Highway to Heaven, Micheal Landon was a Teenage Werewolf, and I got to go on the prowl with him as I settled in for this 50s era classic, and the next recommendation from DK Canada’s Monsters in the Movies.
Landon plays Tony, a young teen who seems to have problems with sudden loud noises, and physical contact, both of which seem to land him into altercations on a regular basis. When both the cops, and his long time steady, Arlene (Yvonne Lime) recommend that he get help, he turns to hypnotherapist (and scientist) Alfred Brandon (Whit Bissell) for aid.
And that’s where his troubles really begin, because Brandon sees in Tony an opportunity to test a serum he’s been refining, that in conjunction with hypnotherapy, will let the subject return to an earlier state. In this case, it turns Tony into a werewolf, and no one in town may be safe.
Poor Tony has some problems, sure, and he definitely needs a good talking to, but he’s not a truly bad kid. I think he was written the way he was so the viewing audience (once again that Saturday matinee crowd) could relate to him all the more. Consequently, it’s troubling to see Brandon take advantage of him.
As a couple of deaths shake the town, Tony becomes the subject of a manhunt. I guess that’s what happens when people recognize your clothes, even if you are all covered in fur.
Despite some of the hokey dialogue, and the iffy transformation, the wolf makeup is fairly solid, and Landon is likable in his role, even when you want to shake him and say, Dammit Tony shape up!
So while it has Landon going for it, and an appearance by Barney Phillips, instantly recognizable to any Twilight Zone fan, there are some flaws, and none more so than a terrible musical number with lyrics and music that never seem to match up called Eeny, Meeny, Miney, Mo.
This one was a fun one, and it is in fact a werewolf classic, it’s well known, and even beloved, though there isn’t that much werewolf action in it. Still, it’s fun to see Micheal Landon in a different kind of role, as opposed to the fatherly type roles he became known for.
So if you fancy something hairy, and scary, pick up a copy of DK Books’ The Movie Book and find something macabre to watch tonight!