Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Teen Wolf (1985)





















In the same year that Fox became a superstar going back to the future he also had this little werewolf gem creep out. The title says its all really in its brilliant cheesy way, a typical 80's film title. Young teen Fox slowly discovers that he is in fact a werewolf and its been in the family for generations.

In all honesty this is your very standard cheeky 80's high school romp which was the staple diet of many classic comedians throughout the 70's and 80's. The twist in this of course is the supernatural element which is simply a play on the effects of puberty, swapping spots for claws. Its all here as you would expect, the sexy blonde everybody lusts after, the plain brunette our hero never notices, the party obsessed crazy ass best friend, the quiet sensible best friend, the bully, the fat kid, the token black guy ('lemonade'...awesome character name) and various amusing stereotypical teachers. The best easily being the carefree gum chewing basketball coach.

So if you put the predictable teen antics to one side what are the wolf antics like?. Well its pretty darn sweet as a matter of fact, and what's more amazing is the makeup effects on show are really quite good. The little sequence of Fox turning into the wolf has clearly been influenced by 'An American Werewolf in London' and its a really well done moment. Its not scary or gruesome in any of course but it still does look quite realistic utilising simple effects and quick editing. His father in wolf mode doesn't look quite as good admittedly, more like a greying woodland animal with puffed up hair.

There isn't all that much wolf action so to speak, its mostly more silly high school antics but in wolf mode. Wolf mode gives our hero greater strength, better vision, brains etc...the guy becomes a super werewolf and aces everything in school whilst becoming a ladykiller (not literately). The main events of the film are based around the high school basketball games in which Fox's character usually sucks but naturally as a werewolf he's turned the game on its head. This film actually got me into basketball for a time, it introduced me to the game, because of this I bought NBA Jam.

The game segments are really good fun and as the film climaxes it does get a little emotional I can't deny. The game montage accompanied by Mark Safan's Win in the End is glorious mainly down to that corking track. Funny how the underneath of Fox's arms didn't have any werewolf hair applied, always obvious when he raises his arms.

I think people can relate to this film in many ways, certain characters despite them being cliche, the problems of popularity, loneliness, bullying, sexuality etc...usual teen stuff. In all fairness this film doesn't really differ much from the vast array of fast food American high school flicks out there, the werewolf angle is only a different representation of teen angst. It shouldn't really be a good film but somehow it is, what you see isn't original and there aren't any dazzling special effects, its more a character/school based fantasy which is simply a good fun little ride. Attractive performances all round especially from Levine as 'Stiles' and a wicked soundtrack make this a solid cult gem.

8/10