The film “I Was a Teenage Werewolf” is about a young highschool boy, Tony, who becomes a werewolf. Tony is depicted as an angry and rebellious teenager who often gets into fights with his peers. He is urged by teachers and his girlfriend to see a shrink that can help him. At first he is rebellious but eventually succumbs to the advice to get help. His shrink believes Tony is the perfect candidate for an experiment he is conducting so uses hypnotherapy and injects Tony with a serum which he says will help relax him. Tony is clearly tricked into receiving this experimental serum, which results in him becoming a werewolf. This film uses the character of Tony and the theme of the werewolf to display several themes including teenage angst and human capacity for violence.
A werewolf as defined by Dr. Caffee is “a person transformed into a wolf or capable of assuming a wolf’s form.” [https://arizona.hosted.panopto.com/Panopto/Pages/Viewer.aspx?id=5dbd47a5-ca96-4f95-92c4-798ef39e4b1c] Tony portrays the typical teenager because his anger often gets the best of him. Teenagers are experiencing several emotions for the first time and trying to navigate through different situations. This film shows all how teenage angst can affect a highschool student. This can also be related to the theme of the werewolf because werewolves have to transform and take on this new identity that they may be unaware of. The first time Tony transforms he isn’t completely aware of what has happened to him and thinks it may be a dream. The theme of the werewolf and teenage anxiety go hand in hand in this film.
There is also the element of how the werewolf displays a human’s capacity for violence. There are several tales of folklore that depict werewolves as being violent in nature. Tony exemplifies this violent nature throughout the film. As a person he is angry and has the capacity to commit violent acts but it is not something he wants as a part of his personality, which is why he seeks help. As a werewolf he is incredibly violent and kills people. He portrays this werewolf identity so well in the film because as an individual he is naturally angry, so as a werewolf it is intensified. Tony’s character shows that humans have the capacity to be violent but it is not something that is necessarily chosen.
Tony’s character also shows the popularity of some things during the time period the film was created. During the early to mid 1900’s hypnotherapy was a very popular treatment [http://www.historyofhypnosis.org/20th-century-and-beyond/]. Tony’s therapist uses hypnotherapy on Tony. Not only does the character of Tony relate to the werewolf theme but it also draws on themes relevant to the era the film was created.
Caffee, Naomi. "Unit 1 Slidecast." Audio blog post. N.p., n.d. Web. 19 Apr. 2017. <https://arizona.hosted.panopto.com/Panopto/Pages/Viewer.aspx?id=5dbd47a5-ca96-4f95-92c4-798ef39e4b1c>.
I Was A Teenage Werewolf. Dir. Gene Folwer. Perf. Michael Landon, Yvonne Lime, Whit Bissell. 1957. Web.
"The Truth About Werewolves." The Truth About. Royal Mint Publishing LLC, n.d. Web. 20 Apr. 2017. <http://www.gods-and-monsters.com/werewolves.html>.
"Hypnosis in the 20th Century and Beyond." History of Hypnosis RSS. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 Apr. 2017.