Happy October, folks! My apologies for not blogging much as of late. However, I look forward to bringing you some fantasy themed 80’s flicks over the coming month, to prepare for Halloween. Today’s first flick is 1985’s “Teen Wolf”, which later became one of the inspirations for the hugely popular MTV TV show of the same name.
This movie stars Michael J. Fox in one of his most notable outings in the 80’s, albeit one in which he doesn’t travel to the past or to the future in a time-travelling Delorean. He’s Scott Howard, a picked on, socially awkward nice guy, who, of course, pines after blonde cheerleader Pamela (Lorie Griffin), while being oblivious to his best friend Boof’s (Susan Ursitti) affections for him. He is far from the best on the basketball team, with the rival player on the opposing team, Mick McAllister (Mark Arnold), taking particular relish in routinely taunting him. Scott just longs to be seen as special.
And that’s just what he becomes when he involuntary grows hair all over his body during a full moon ,thanks to a hereditary condition possessed by his family in which all the members gradually undergo a complete transformation into (you’ve guessed it) werewolves. Scott confronts his father, Harold (James Hampton), who explains that the curse sometimes passes by a generation, and was hoping that it would be likewise for Scott. (“Well Dad, it didn’t pass me by. It landed on my face!” he exclaims).
After Scott’s secret inevitably gets found out,he almost immediately becomes the host of his high school, due to a teenage wolf being a rarity in a sleepy, suburban town, naturally. But with his friend Stiles (Jerry Levine) looking to exploit him beyond his limits, and Pamela suddenly becoming interested in his wolf persona, can Scott tame his wolf side and win the major basketball game?
First things first, “Teen Wolf” is a silly, at times unrealistic, movie, but it has enough laughs and one-liners that make up for the overall absurdity that is the plot, mainly in the form of Michael J. Fox. “Teen Wolf” came out a month after “Back to the Future”, after Fox was just basking in the success of the latter movie. He has gone on to say that he regrets being part of the former movie, and wisely refused to come back for the sequel, “Teen Wolf Too” (1987), which features a young Jason Bateman as Scott’s cousin, Todd, who tries to balance college life with the trials of being a werewolf (seriously, don’t waste your time with this sequel).
Nevertheless, “Teen Wolf” is a feel-good flick. I’d recommend it if you love seeing Michael J. Fox act as someone other than Marty Mc Fly, and if you want to see a werewolf surfing on a moving van to the strains of the Beach Boys’ “Surfing USA”, or if you like your movies to have a bit of a bite! This flick earns three out of five stars from me!