The werewolf figure has historically played a unique role in literature and film, serving as an alter ego to unleash the primal urges within human nature, notably those experienced during our pubescent years. Werewolf folktales and films all share a common theme and communicate messages about the society in which they were created, all while revealing anxieties about sexuality and the responsibilities and traumas associated with the path to adulthood.
This is clearly evidenced in the 1957 film, I Was a Teenage Werewolf, which provides an interesting, monsterous take on “teen angst” and essentially captures the teenage sexual awakening in postwar America. Upon first glance, one would assume that this is another perfect example of a delightfully terrible B list horror flick, however, it does include a deeper message about society. The protagonist, Tony Rivers epitomizes every misunderstood, angry, hormonal, outsider teen struggling to fit in and find his place in the world while growing up, basically the same struggle every adolescent deals with. In effort to cure his teen angst (and hyperagressive/sexualized nature), he’s turned into a werewolf which gives him the means to act on his rage and hormonal outburst and primal urges, basically giving him an alter ego to wreck the havoc every teenager fantasizes about.
I Was a Teenage Werewolf (1957)
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