Michael J. Fox may have become a household name thanks to Back To The Future, but I think that Teen Wolf also played a part in his early success as well. The film is about teenager Scott Howard who when we first meet him is a pretty average kind of guy, reasonable at his school work and a member of the school basketball team, but not the star player by any means. In fact, the entire basketball team aren’t really up to much if it comes to that.
Scott’s hum drum life starts to change when he literally starts to go through strange changes himself. He starts to grow more hair, and his voice deepens, and he’s already been through puberty once. Turns out the Scott is actually a werewolf, and the ability to change from man to wolf-man is something that runs in his family. This is hilariously revealed when Scott undergoes a full transformation one evening, and in a panic locks himself into the bathroom. His father comes to check on him, and Scott panics further, telling his father he his fine despite all the groans and moans he is uttering due to the transformation process. Eventually Scott has to open the door to see his father standing before him, also in full werewolf mode, although his hair is a little greyer than Scott’s. His father had never mentioned the family affliction before because it sometimes skips a generation.
Unlike most traditional werewolf stories, Scott actually has a certain degree of control over his power, and is able to change form at will, not just on a full moon. He keeps his ability secret at first, but it eventually comes out when in a fit of anger during a basketball match Scott transforms into his wolf-man persona, and finds his heightened skills useful in bringing the team to victory. After this there is no stopping Scott, his popularity at school soars and he starts to spend most of his time in werewolf mode, much to the disappointment of his father.
Eventually though Scott learns his lesson, realising that he has started to neglect his original friends and family in favour of his new false friends. The film comes to a close during a Basketball match where Scott refuses to play as a wolf. The team have actually all benefited from having a winning streak and have managed to get to the end of the match with the scores being almost equal, and Scott manages to win the match on some penalty shots in his human form.
I remember seeing Teen Wolf about a year ago when I happened to catch the great “keg of beer” scene, where Scott goes into an off licence to buy some booze for a party. The shopkeeper refuses to serve him until his voice deepens into a snarl and his eyes flash red, instructing the man to “give me a keg of beer”. The only thing I feel has really dated is the incidental music, which is a strange synthesiser heavy mix with lots of repetitions of a single note. The wolf make-up is still pretty convincing, even if Michael J. Fox does look incredibly strange wear basketball kit and having the longest flowing leg hair you’ve ever seen!