Tuesday, October 9, 2007

"The Boy Who Cried Werewolf"(1973)d/Nathan Juran

Released as one of Universal's last double bills with equally groovy horror,"Sssssss"(1973),Nathan Juran's "The Boy Who Cried Werewolf"(1973) is a lost treasure for those who cherish painful,flailing attempts at acting by a cast of forgettables,cookie-cutter 1970's made-for-tv movie horror plots(see:"Gargoyles"(1972)),embarrassingly bad makeup(an early queef from FX Wizard Tom Burman),day for night shots that rival even Viktors Ritellis' "The Corpse(Crucible of Horror)"(1970),and the feeling that the individuals responsible for this little ditty either had no idea what the hell they were doing,or just couldn't give a monkey's about the subject matter they were dealing with,which makes for a pleasant evening of '70s horror hijinks.
The late Kerwin Matthews is Robert Bridgestone,a divorced father trying to spend quality time with his son Richie in a little cabin out in the woods,just down the road from a gaggle of travelling hippie Jesus freaks,perpetually hopped up on the Bible and goofballs.Unbeknownst to Bridgestone,there's a laughable-looking lycanthrope prowling about his property,probably looking to bum a smoke from Michael Landon in his "I Was A Teenage Werewolf" get-up,as he certainly seems to have studied him briefly in preparation for this role.His son Richie gets accosted by our furry fiend one night,only to have Dad subdue the beast with a stake through the heart(?),but not before the wolfman manages to bite Robert on the arm.See where they're going with this one?
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"Dad!Dad!DAAAAAAAAAD!Dad!Help me,Dad!"...Scott Sealey's only lines.
Robert is now a werewolf,and only Richie and Dr.Marderosian know better,and the sheriff is only interested in giving the hippies a hard time,in typical '70s cinematic fascist law enforcement fashion.Even when dad starts murdering the townsfolk,by strangling them a little and drawing less blood than a big wheel brushburn,nobody believes Richie for a minute.Bland dialogue between the separated parents doesn't help move this folkloric take on the Hollywood werewolf flick,and neither do the sparse,bloodless killings that seem to be happening each night,as opposed to the ritual monthly full moon murders in other pictures.Eventually,Robert commits a puppy faux pas by bringing a young girl's head in a sack home to the cabin to bury in the cellar like a macabre steak bone(!)and chases Richie through the local woods, just as the lawman is forming a posse to hunt him down like the mangy mutt that he has become.He gets riddled with bullets,spinning around like a slow-mo ballerina after too many appletinis,and dies,impaling himself on the gypsy hippie leader's cross.Richie and mom are reunited at the close of the picture,and she hugs him and tends to the bite that his father gave him in the melee...Sequel anybody?
"Just because you can lick yourself now,I'm out of the picture?"
All in all,I enjoyed seeing it after all these years,and I'd imagine it was an effective flick in luring that outta sight brunette to the back seat of your '70 Nova during the drive-in intermission,so long as you gave her the tapioca in time to return to the front seat for Strother Martin injecting Face from the A-Team with cobra serum in the second feature.Look for it!
Two out of four B.W.'s

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