The Cast: Michael Landon, Yvonne Lime, Whit Bissell, Tony
Marshall, Dawn Richard, Barney Phillips, Ken Miller and Guy Williams.
Produced by Herman Cohen and Directed by Gene Fowler Jr. Screenplay by
Ralph Thornton (Aben Kandel) and Herman Cohen. Make-up by Philip Scheer.
Production began: March 14, 1957 at ZIV Studios; Release date: June 19, 1957
on a double bill with INVASION OF THE SAUCER-MEN.
Running time 76 minutes. (Announced titles: "Blood of the Werewolf", "I Am A Teenage Werewolf.")
Belgian poster titles: LES GRIFFES DU LOUP GAROU and DE KLAUWEN VAN DE WEERWOLF (THE CLAWS OF THE WEREWOLF); in
Mexico the title is YO FUI UN HOMBRE LOBO (I WAS A WEREWOLF); In Sweden,
the title was "UNG DESPERADO" (YOUNG DESPERADO) when it was
released in February 1961. The German title was DER TOD HAT SCHWARZE
KRALLEN (DEATH HAS BLACK CLAWS) in 1962.
It has been reported that BLOOD OF THE WEREWOLF was the original title but Herman Cohen has always denied
it. Cohen said he thought up the "Teenage Werewolf" title and Jim
Nicholson added the "I Was A". However, "Blood of the Werewolf" was listed as an upcoming AIP title
at one time before Teenage Werewolf began production. To make matters more
confusing, DIG magazine had an article in the May 1956 issue called "I Was A Teenage Werewolf"
(see photo below) that may have been suggested to Nicholson by his daughter who read the magazine
and he may have liked that title better than "Blood of the Werewolf".
The best of the teenage horror/monster movies. The movie cost about $82,000 to make and grossed
over $2 Million in 1957 when ticket prices were much less than today.
The police dog used in the film was said to be a stand in for Rin Tin Tin and
according to publicity, was afraid to go near Landon in his werewolf
makeup. Then again, director Gene Fowler Jr. said in an interview with Tom Weaver that the dog
in question was his dog Anna. Another bit of trivia is that Dawn Richard, who plays Theresa,
the gymnist killed by the werewolf, had posed for Playboy magazine back
in May 1957. Another unconfirmed rumor was that Elvis Presley, who was
dating Yvonne Lime around the time the film was being shot, visited the set.
This film made popular the term "I Was A Teenage".
Landon's salary was only $1,000. I WAS A TEENAGE WEREWOLF was the 10th
top-grossing film of 1957. Some of its exterior scenes were shot in
The Plot: Tony Rivers, a teenage student at Rockdale High,
is brilliant in his studies but deficient in his deportment. He is moody,
tempermental, hypersensitive, fights at the drop of a wrong word, and
above all, cannot stand for anyone to startle him with either sudden touch or sudden noise.
At the combined suggestions of his school principal, and a kindly
detective, Sergeant Donovan, who feels that unless Tony learns to
adjust he will be in trouble with the law, and after an explosion of
temper at a teenage Halloween party, Tony consents to accept medical
assistance from Dr. Alfred Brandon, an anaylist who has volunteered
to cooperate with both
police and school authorities in aiding maladjusted students. This
decision is greeted by relief and joy by his girl friend, Arlene,
who now feels more secure in their future.
But, instead of helping Tony, Dr. Brandon uses him
as the subject of an experiment in regression. And
after a few sessions, under the influece of hypnosis, diabolically
implanted auto-suggestion and an injection of a secret drug, he
succeeds in taking Tony back in time to a primitive, animal period
in his evolution.
As a result, Rockdale is shocked by a series of
brutal, unpremeditated murders of teenagers, which finally point to
Tony as the perpetrator. (One of the victims is Theresa, the girlfriend
of his friend Jimmy, in the school gymnasium).
In a suspenseful scene, Tony in his guise as werewolf, seeks and
implores help from Dr. Brandon to restore him to his normal life.
When this is refused, Tony, in a shattering climax, kills both the
doctor and his assistant and destroys all evidence of his transformation
and its methods. His savage
existence is mercifully ended by police bullets and in death, he returns
to the normal, human appearance of a teenage student. (Taken from
the original pressbook)
Considering the budget and the fact it was filmed in a week, I WAS A
TEENAGE WEREWOLF is a much better movie than most people and critics
are willing to admit. Whit Bissell is excellent as Dr. Brandon and
Michael Landon gives a terrific performance in the dual-role of Tony
and the werewolf. Gene Fowler Jr., an academy award winning film editor,
does a very fine job in directing his first film, one which he had second
thoughts about doing at first. And I think Philip Scheer's werewolf
makeup is one of the better ones created before THE HOWLING and AMERICAN
WEREWOLF IN LONDON revolutionized the concept. The regression storyline
seems a bit far-fetched today, but in the 1950's it was used quite often
based on the book "The Search for Bridey Murphy" by Morey Bernstein,
a businessman and amateur hypnotist. Bernstein claimed that he used
hypnosis on Virginia Tighe to regress her to a 19th century woman in
Ireland named Bridey Murphy. The reincarnation boom in American
publishing had begun.
Some critics complained that some of the actors playing teenagers were
obviously well past their teen years (and many were in their 20's and
early 30's) but this was been done frequently in Hollywood. It should
be noted that in films like WEST SIDE STORY, which also had older actors
playing teenagers, the critics overlooked the same criticism since they
praised the film. A lot of adults back in 1957 looked down on movies
made for the teenage crowd and panned films like this one. TV comedians
poked fun at the title, and the senate even held hearings trying to find
a link between all the movies aimed at the teenage moviegoer as being a
cause of juvenile delinquency. No connection was found. These films
were produced to entertain and to make money for American International
Pictures, which it did on both counts.
I WAS A TEENAGE WEREWOLF is one of my favorite movies
and is still considered a cult classic.
The complete review from Variety, June 1957:
Summary: Tease-titled science-fictioner, okay upper half of exploitation
package. (Hollywood, July 5.)
American-International release of a Herman Cohen
production. Stars Michael Landon, Yvonne Lime, Whit Bissel, Tony
Marshall; features Dawn Richard, Barney Phillips, Ken Miller, Cindy
Robbins, Michael Rougas, Robert Griffin, Joseph Mell. Directed by Gene
Fowler Jr.; story-screenplay, Ralph Thornton; camera, Joseph La Shelle;
editor, George Gittens; music, Paul Dunlap. Previewed July 3, 1957.
Running time, 76 Mins.
Tony Michael Landon
Arlene Yvonne Lime
Dr. Alfred Brandon Whit Bissell
Jimmy Tony Marshall
Theresa Dawn Richard
Detective Donovan Barney Phillips
Vic Ken Miller
Pearl Cindy Robbins
Frank Michael Rougas
Police Chief Baker Robert Griffin
Dr. Hugo Wagner Joseph Mell
Charles Malcolm Atterbury
Doyle Eddie Marr
Pepi Vladimir Sokoloff
Miss Ferguson Louise Lewis
Bill John Launer
Chris Stanley Guy Williams
Mary Dorothy Crehan
Another in the cycle of regression themes
is a combo teenager and science-fiction yarn which should do
okay in the exploitation market. American-International
will topbill pic with the not-so-good "Invasion of the
Saucer-Men" as a horror package.
Only thing new about this Herman Cohen production is a
psychiatrist's use of a problem teenager who comes to him
for help using the youth for an experiment in regression,
but it's handled well enough to meet the requirements of
this type film. There are plenty of story points which are
sloughed over in the Ralph Thornton screenplay, but good
performances help overcome deficiencies. Final reels, where
the lad turns into a hairy-headed monster with drooling
flangs, are inclined to be played too heavily.
Michael Landon delivers a first-class characterization as
the high school boy constantly in trouble, and has okay
support right down the line. Yvonne Lime is pretty as his
girl friend who asks him to go to the psychiatrist, and
Whit Bissell handles doctor part capably, although some of
his lines are pretty thick. Barney Phillips is competent as
a detective trying to straighten out Landon, as is Robert
Griffin in role of police chief and Dawn Richard as one of
Gene Fowler Jr's direction is up to standards of the script
and Joseph La Shelle's photography leads technical credits.
READ this excerpt from actor
Kenny Miller's book Hollywood: Inside and Out
about what Kenny remembers happening during the filming of
Providence Journal movie review
by film critic Ted Holmberg, June 1957:
The RKO ALBEE theater presents "I WAS A TEENAGE WEREWOLF", an American
International Picture, produced by Herman Cohen and directed by Gene Fowler Jr.,
from a screenplay by Ralph Thornton. The Cast:
Dr. Alfred Brandon-----Whit Bissell
Detective Donovan---Barney Phillips
Whoa there! Enough is too much!
Teenagers as rock-n-rollers -- probably. Teenagers as hot-rodders --
possibly. Teenagers as calypsomaniacs -- perhaps.
But teenagers as werewolves? Maybe I'm
out of touch with the younger set but I haven't seen a teenage werewolf
all year. Michael Landon in the title role appears as a normal mal-adjusted
high school student at the beginning of the film.
Friends (?) suggest he see a psychiatrist
and that's where the trouble begins. This particular psychiatrist needs
help himself. He sticks a needle in our hero and the boy grows hair all
over his face and a mane to add to his already ample sideburns.
First thing you know, he's prowling in the local park
and chewing up other youngsters. Needless to say this makes him ineligible
for the college scholarship and after he has slain his mental adviser,
he is disposed of by the police.
If I were a psychiatrist, a teenager or a
werewolf, I think I would ask for equal time to present my side of the story.
The Teenage Werewolf made a brief appearance in a segment of the TV mini-series
Stephen King's IT
Mark Statler as the Teenage Werewolf with makeup by Ron Chamberlain
at the Monster Mash 2006 in Pennsylvania
There have been rumors and talk of remaking I Was A Teenage
Werewolf; the following is from Cinescape Online, News and
Rumors, September 14, 1999:
"With the recent resurrection of the horror film genre,
a number of projects are likely to crawl back up out of their seeming
graves. One such project appears to be the long rumored remake of the
1957 cult classic I Was a Teenage Werewolf. According to Variety
columnist Michael Fleming, Seven Arts has just signed Anthony Hickox
(Waxwork, Hellraiser 3) to direct the potential film which will have
a budget in the $25M range. Plans are to create the film in the vein
of Dawson’s Creek, plus that cool werewolf." There’s no word on who might
be picked to take on the title role made famous in the original by
While Hollywood has been remaking a lot of films lately, I Was A Teenage
Werewolf seems to have been spared so far. If there is
any more news of a remake, I will post any updates.
Disclaimer: I WAS A TEENAGE WEREWOLF was
copyright 1957 by Carmel Productions; released by American International
Pictures and renewed in 1985 by Selma Enterprises. All rights reserved.
No rights given or implied. Do not use any material on this website
without permission. Current copyright owner is Susan Nicholson-Hofheinz
and Academy Pictures Corporation. All rights reserved. No rights given
or implied. Used here for historical, educational and nostalgic purposes
with reviews, comments, cast and credits.
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