I Was a Teenage Werewolf (MST3K-809)
Reviewed by: S. J. Martiene
I mentioned in Experiment 1 that I was a Mom of two teenagers. Some of the best, MSTied movies feature the teenager and B-movie genres. It just so happens that this month’s feature, MST3K #809 I Was a Teenage Werewolf fits both bills perfectly. Of course, they are SUPPOSE to be teenagers in this film, but Hollywood has an affinity for older actors playing high schoolers; ONE of which is playing our monster. We have it all in this movie. There is milk-throwing, raw meat eating, a Halloween party, bad singing, a mad scientist, and yes … a werewolf. The fact that THIS particular lycanthrope is portrayed by none other than TV icon, Michael Landon makes this movie interesting for riffing on so many fronts. There are Bonanza jokes, Little House on the Prairie jokes, and Highway to Heaven jokes. There is even one riff dedicated to a 1976 autobiographical movie Landon wrote and directed called The Loneliest Runner.
I have to say that since re-watching this movie, the host segments are some of the best of the series. With a runtime of only 76 minutes, the host segments are a bit more detailed and really show the comedic timing and writing talents of the gang. So enjoy, as we take you through the exploits of 1957’s I Was a Teenage Werewolf.
HOST SEGMENT 1:
The Bots want to overthrow Mike as Captain of the ship, but they soon learn that none of them are capable of replacing him. Crow and Tom nominate Gypsy, but she has to run the ship. Crow has a set of creepy crawlers in the thing-maker … and well, Servo … is Servo. He has prepared a “statement” on WHY he cannot be Captain. This is one of my favorites, so read on, won’t we?
“… I cannot be Captain, for you see dear friends, I am unfit to lead other men into battle, into space, or in a line dance. I submit that if I picked my nose for a half an hour, my head would cave in. I’m nary to know betwixt shinola and that other stuff. I cannot lead because I cannot find my ass with both hands and a flashlight … I will now open the floor to questions about my accomplishments.”
Since Servo’s concession speech is over, Mike regains his position as Captain. Servo mocks him as only a conceding Bot can. Pearl, Brain Guy, and Professor Bobo are on Earth (somewhere). They are camped out and Pearl has told Mike she is putting the crew on battery back up, disconnecting them from their main power source. This upsets Mike greatly … “We’ll be without power???” And then, what follows, is the BEST Pearl Forrester line ever:
“… You know what else? You’ll be without diapers too, you big, huge, giant babies!! DEAL WITH IT!!”
Pearl packs up all the gear, and sends the guys a movie. Soon, there’s a hull breach and Servo comes back with a face hugger.
During this film, there are many parodies of the Bonanza theme song. The movie opens with our lycanthropic protagonist, Tony, in a schoolyard fight. Soon we see Detective Donovan (Barney Phillips). You may remember him from the EXCELLENT Twilight Zone episode, Will the Real Martian Please Stand Up? He does what he can to calm Tony down, but he doesn’t want to have any of it. You will notice a high number of Richard Jewell jokes during this segment. Google him if you don’t remember what happened at the ’96 Olympics. Anywho, Donovan wants Tony to see a “doctor/shrink/mad scientist.” Tony disagrees and walks off with his girl. The next scene takes us home and his Dad. Tony protests too much when Dad tries to talk about his stubbornness. His Dad leaves for work, chiding him NOT to eat his lamb chops raw like he did his burgers. Tony has had enough of everyone yapping at him all day and we see the whole premise of his demise see ….MILK HURDLING!! (All the guys make kitty meow sounds here) The scene switches to Arlene’s house, where “Jabba the Husband” and the woman with “Aaron Burr’s Hairstyle” live. They give the 50’s “talking” to the Tony the boyfriend. Girlfriend starts harping about the doctor again.
Now it is PARTY TIME…with vague “Kinda White” music, innocuous pranks, great lines, and the running joke with safety dummy, Resusi-Anne. “Ah...kids those days!” (Crow)
HOST SEGMENT 2
Crow has a Proximity Detector to see how bad the alien life forms are on the ship. They are all OVER, problem is…..he had the wrong setting activated on the detector and was measuring the humidity. They have LOTS of humidity, by the way.
Back to the party… “Elvis J. Pollard” is singing. “We are now entering a genital-free zone.” (Servo) The song is one of the worst ever, almost as bad as when Michael Landon was on the TV show Hullaballoo (Google that if it is around…YIKES). After the song is over, the DUMB pranks start. Mike: “The Carnival of Souls boyfriend.” One of the guys blows a horn in Tony’s ear … and suddenly it’s “The Sock Hop of the Damned” (Mike). Tony slugs one of his friends and pushes down his girlfriend. Servo laments, “I thought it was alright if I picked a little fight, Bonanza?”
That little episode at the party lands our little werewolf-to-be in the office of veteran B-movie actor, Whit Bissell (who was actually in some really good films too). Bissell’s character, Dr. Brandon also has a sidebar conscience (his assistant played by Joseph Mell). Dr. Brandon hypnotizes him, and he closes the session saying, “Soon…you’ll be yourself.” “An angel, a cowboy, a pioneer dad.” (Mike)
The kids have another gathering…but Tony is bumming. Frank (another kid) isn't pairing up with anyone and will walk home alone.
Cut to Frank walking home ALONE. ”Ralph Fiennes IS Li’l Abner!” (Crow) “I was a teenage werewolf snack.” (Servo) We know Frank is TOAST he just runs and falls and falls and runs…and well…this IS a predictable set-up in a B-movie.
HOST SEGMENT 3
Servo hunts down face hugger and kills him. Did I mention he was heavily armed? He is going after the “beast” that has the ship surrounded. Crow and Mike are taking bets on how long it takes Servo to cry. And he does cry ...singing…”Don’t Cry Out Loud,” “You’ll Never Walk Alone,” and “(They’re Coming to) America.”
The movie returns and we find ourselves at the police station, with Detective Donovan. Another policeman walks in. This guy….NAMED GUY Williams did not get a first billing, but he became known later playing TV’s Zorro and Dr. John Robinson of Lost in Space. Also, there is an introduction to Pepe, the janitor, at the police station who wanted to look at the pictures. Pepe knows right away, the death is caused by a werewolf. “You’re crazier than Dr. Smith!” (Servo)
Tony goes back for another session at Dr. Brandon’s. Tony is scared. “I found a leather jacket in my stool this morning!” (Servo) Brandon keeps battling with his assistant. Tony remains tense.
High school, high school and we have to see a girl in yucky gym leotards. Tony talks to the principal and he gets kudos from her. He leaves and starts watching the gymnast. “It’s alright if I kill a couple of kids, Bonanza!” (Crow) He leaves the office and bells ring “Oops, he’s Johnny Depping.” (Mike) He attacks her in front of many people then, the poor girl dies. “This is good, she caught him in the act and she can rub his nose in it.” (Servo) When the cops arrive, all the kids finger Tony, but they can’t believe it. Even Dr. Brandon denies Tony could BE a werewolf. Everyone gets a going over, the Dad, the girlfriend, and Tony is still howling up and down the woods. “Just give him a Liv-a-snap.” (Servo)
HOST SEGMENT 4
The beast is laying GIANT alien eggs. The guys start making omelets and …well, Crow starts designing the menu. “She’s not around, which means she could be anywhere!” (Servo) Suddenly Crow becomes a restaurant critic.
A search commences for Tony. I’ll just list a series of riffs during this segment because there is no real action to describe except for guys peering through things. “Try banging on his food dish, men.” (Mike) “The Bernard Hermann score really heightens the tension.” (Servo) “Looks like Paddington on a bender” (Mike) “This werewolf is an herbivore. Luckily, this guy’s name is Herb.” (Crow) “Indiana Jones and his sidekick, Merle.” (Crow) “Never let Jose Feliciano lead your search party.” (Mike) “Sir, I think I saw a werewolf with a Chinese menu in his hand.” (Mike) “1943- An Ewok makes it behind German lines” (Servo)
Finally Tony changes back to Tony. He calls Arlene but cannot speak to her. The police want to know who called her; she couldn't tell. “… I’ll check in with Huggy Bear.” (Servo) Tony then returns to Dr. Brandon, who decides to put him under one more time. “Dogs can sense bad acting.” (Servo) Tony changes back into a wolf; this isn’t good for Whit Bissell. The cops FINALLY come in and look at the debris field. “Wow, a werewolf that size can really poop!” (Servo) They shoot to kill, guessing somewhere along the line the silver bullet necessity has been covered. Tony is dead. Whit Bissell is dead. All that is left is for the police to cry over spilled werewolf.
The guys exit the theater and they soon see the alien has taken over the ship. They have to reverse the ship polarities to remove it. This didn’t work, so they have to do the one thing they were saving that would repulse the alien so much, it would have to leave. Mike became Adam Duritz of Counting Crows. It worked. Once they regained control of the ship, we see Pearl telling ghost stories around the campfire to Bobo and Brain Guy. She has them crying like little girls.
This movie is a howling good time. Seriously, it has EVERYTHING. I have seen it unriffed and riffed many, many times and every time I laugh my butt off. If you get the chance to see it, don’t miss it.
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