Aw, c’mon how’s a person supposed to not enjoy THE BOY WHO CRIED WEREWOLF? You’d have to be quite the Smurf kicking curmudgeon. Yes, the werewolf wears a turtleneck but decapitations, even if enacted off-screen, have to count for something. This 1973 PG-rated affair was the last film directed by NATHAN JURAN (ATTACK OF THE 50 FOOT WOMAN) and although it’s about as menacing as a bag of pink marshmallows, it’s a clever enough kiddie telling of the werewolf mythos and you don’t have to scratch too hard to sense heavier themes beneath the surface obstinate as ingrown hairs. For a film directed toward the younger set it refreshingly resists dunking its paw in sugar coating. Little Richie Bridgestone’s parents are getting a very un-Brady-like divorce and although Richie loves his dad, he’s thinking it might be a good idea to snitch on pop for frequently turning into a savage monster and pushing occupied vehicles off of cliffs. The movie says, “Werewolf”; I smell gin.
I’m not sure where this thing was filmed but the locations will probably look familiar to anyone who watched television in the seventies. I think most of us grew up in the haunts shown even if only via boob tube portal. There are some nice subtle references to UNIVERSAL studios more famous lycanthrope movie in the form of Dad’s trusty cane and with this being set in 1973, somebody cleverly transformed 1941’s THE WOLFMAN’s resident gypsies into hippies. The band of hippies really liven the movie and their love power is even shown to have a detrimental effect on the werewolf curse. Now that’s just adorable. Man, I wish I could have been a hippie but by the time I was old enough to join their ranks, everybody had already figured out that humans were hopelessly awful….dratz!
Another very cool thing about this movie is that it was released in a double feature with SSSSSSS. One thing that I’ve learned while working here at Kindertrauma is that there are exactly seven S’s in that title, so I don’t even have to look it up. Apparently it was the last double feature UNIVERSAL ever did and I missed it by being a stupid baby. THE BOY WHO CRIED WEREWOLF is not available in any format for some unknown reason, so I caught up to it on YouTube sporting Spanish subtitles. That means I got to learn a little extra Spanish while I watched and you can ask me what “Hombre Lobo” means and I’ll have the answer.
Like THE GATE or MONSTER SQUAD I think this movie makes a great horror starter kit for monster fans in training wheels. The transformation scenes are stagnantly old school but the resulting make up effects courtesy of TOM BURMAN are not bad at all (all turtlenecks considered.) I guess some will only see a campy howler here but the SHINING-esque parent-paranoia element does have some bite and it at least it takes its whiny protagonists dilemma seriously. If you can look beyond its corncob datedness (Dad dropped Mom for being a career gal!) it makes a fine companion piece to 1996’s BAD MOON. You don’t have to be a kid to enjoy this one but like most things in life, it’ll probably help. Adios amigos!