Friday, August 11, 2017

Teen Wolf

Director - Rod Daniel (Beethoven's 2nd, Newhart)
Starring - Michael J. Fox (Back to the Future, Mars Attacks!), James Hampton (Teen Wolf Too, The Greatest American Hero), Mark Holton (Leprechaun, Pee Wee's Big Adventure)
Release Date - 1985
Genre - Horror/Comedy
Tagline - "He always wanted to be special...but he never expected this!"
Format - Bluray (Personal Collection) (Screener)

Rating (out of 5):
     Most people know me as the horror and exploitation guy which sums me up pretty fucking well.  I love horror and exploitation and spend most of my free time indulging in this love.  However, one of my favorite films of all time, in fact, I could confidently say that this IS my favorite, is not horror.  When I was a kid, talking 5 or so, I was obsessed with Back to the Future and the sequel.  I could watch it all day and night.  That is something I never grew out of.  If I toss it BttF you can damn well bet I watch the first two films at least 5 times a piece before I finally give them a break.  A few years after this obsession I saw Teen Wolf on television.  The second I recognized Michael J. Fox I had to stop what I was doing and watch it.  When the film was finished I had to see it again.  I begged my dad to take me to the local video store and I rented it.  I fell in love with the film.  Several years ago I bought the DVD and would toss it in after I went on a Back to the Future binge.  It was a fun film that I thought paired very well with it.  When Scream Factory announced the blu release I had to review it.  I reached out to them and they were kind enough to send a review copy my way.  Thanks guys!
     The film follows Scott Howard (Fox) who is having a hard time fitting in.  He's on the basketball team but they can never win a game, his best friend the clich├ęd fat guy nicknamed Chubby (Holton), and his crush is dating the one guy in the whole school that wants to see him dead.  To make matters even worse, he is having trouble controlling body hair.  One night things change and he rushes home to discover that his is part of a line of werewolves.  His dad fills him in on all the details and instructs him to keep it a secret.  However, Scott decides to use his new found gifts to lead his team to victory and get the girl of his dreams but this all comes at a price.
     Most of you may read my opening paragraph and think that I like Teen Wolf as much as I do Back to the Future.  That is not the cast.  No movie will be as good as the first two Back to the Future films.  They are damn near perfect.  I do like Teen Wolf and I think it has a similar atmosphere to BttF but it is not on the same level to me.  The acting in this one is fantastic.  Once again Michael J. Fox delivers an unforgettable performance and creates a character that will stand the test of time.  I really liked James Hampton as Scott's father Harold.  He was a strong father figure that added some reluctant humor to a few dry scenes.  I also enjoyed Mark Holton's performance.  I have seen him in so many films where he was phenomenal.  I was always surprised his name wasn't well known.  The rest of the cast is great but they didn't really stand out like these three.  The story for this one is fun.  I love 80s coming of age stories and I love 80s horror so having these two come together is a dream come true though this is not the first time an 80s coming of age comedy added a horror twist and it wouldn't be the last.  In 1985 saw the release of not only Teen Wolf but the Jim Carrey led Once Bitten which follows a similar story except the teenage male in this film is faced with a vampire problem.  A few years later in 1987 we would find the film My Best Friend is a Vampire which once again places teenage angst in the skin of a werewolf and My Boyfriend's Back would be released in 1993 and placed the main character in the role of a zombie.  This doesn't count the numerous films from the 50s, 60s, and 70s that had teenagers take on a supernatural element like I Was a Teenage Werewolf.  Turning a teenage into a creature was not something new but it did add some element of spice to the teenage sex comedies after the popularity of Porky's, Revenge of the Nerds and so on.  The film is very well written and has several memorable moments, one liners, and unforgettable characters.  Finally, the film is not your typical werewolf flick.  The film uses some solid practical effects but there is no blood and gore.  The film stays true to the comedy portion with the horror twist riding in the back seat.  The werewolves look good but that is the extent of the effects.  Overall, Teen Wolf is an iconic film.  A fan of 80s movies, horror, or comedies need to own this.  In fact, if you have not seen this film then you need to pick up Scream's blu and do yourself a favor.    

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