Tuesday, May 10, 2016

I Watched Michael J. Fox in The Original Teen Wolf, So You Don’t Have To

Teens in the 80’s were less complicated, but I’m certain that’s what adults in the 80’s said about teens in the 50’s, and that’s why Happy Days was so popular.  Teen Wolf came out in 1985, a month after Back to The Future had catapulted Michael J. Fox into 80’s superstardom.  With his nervous energy and confused grin he came across like an 80’s Mickey Rooney with the acting chops of a Jimmy Stewart and was immediately popular.  He plays Scott Howard, the worst player on his losing basketball team, but then again he’s Michael J. Fox, so you know you’re rooting for him.  Scott’s hearing dog whistles, growling at players, has hair growing in unusual places and is infatuated with the most popular girl in school, while ignoring his female best friend that he’s known since kindergarten.  
Teen Wolf is very light on the horror and not exactly funny anymore, unfortunately the jokes don’t hold up over the decades.  There’s a long sub-plot devoted to teens trying to buy liquor, some things don't change, whether it’s American Graffiti (1973) or Superbad (2007). 
Scott eventually transforms into a classic Universal Monsters werewolf, but retains his personality and ability to talk.  The condition is played for laughs and he has no discernable blood lust, in Teen Wolf lycanthropy is merely a biological condition brought about by stress.  His werewolf looks a bit like the Geico Caveman or Chewbacca.  Because it’s the 80’s, he’s immediately accepted by his friends and team, becomes a basketball star with his werewolf reflexes and the most popular kid in school.  It’s a blunt metaphor for puberty, much like the far darker and far more effective Ginger Snaps (2000).
Teen Wolf also features Mark Holton, who you may remember as Francis from Pee Wee’s Big Adventure, as “Chubby” (that’s his actual screen credit, like I said, the 80’s were a less-complicated time).


my first novel? thanks for asking:) I wrote a 4 book supernatural martial arts series concerning the ongoing feud between a group of kung-fu killer witches in san francsico’s chinatown.