The Boy Who Cried Werewolf

Day Seventeen of the 2010 Silver Shamrock Happy Halloween Countdown!

Happy Halloween Countdown Day Seventeen

The Boy Who Cried Werewolf
There are times when a movie poster writes a check the movie itself just can’t cash –  this isn’t one of them.  The poster(above) captures this movie perfectly.   I first saw this one on HBO in 1974, which is appropriate because a made-for-television movie is exactly how The Boy Who Cried Werewolf looks.  It’s like watching an extra long episode of the Night Gallery.  Robert Bridgestone (Kerwin Mathews), the “werewolf” of the film’s title even rocks the Gary Collins’ Dr. Michael Rhodes’  turtleneck with a sport coat look from the TV show Sixth Sense. Yeah,  The Boy Who Cried Werewolf is dated, not only by the horrible neck ties, a mobile hippy Jesus commune and  giant ugly cars; it also sports a truly terrible made-for-television quality soundtrack.  Oh, and the kid who plays Ritchie (Scott Sealey), the “boy” of the title, is as irritating as most child actors.  Hey! I didn’t promise a countdown of great movies.

So, what’s all the hubbub, bub? Ritchie’s parents are in the middle of getting a divorce, an issue just beginning to be addressed in the media of  the time; the ABC After School Special is still a few years off.  Ritchie is understandably disoriented; none of his friend’s parents are getting a divorce, they still handing things the tradition way — with alcoholism and domestic violence.  On “Dad’s weekend,” Ritchie goes camping with his father, Robert,  at the family’s mountain cabin.  On the way there they see some hippies, which they treat much as a roadside attraction or street theater.  Shortly after they get to the cabin, while unpacking the car,  they are attacked by a werewolf.  Robert nails the werewolf a few times with the business end of his walking stick ala Larry Talbot but not before it bites him in the arm.  The fight concludes with the werewolf  falling down a hill and getting impaled on a road sign.

We know what’s gonna happen next, don’t we?  The idea of my dad actually turning into a monster in a literal rather figurative sense was just the sort of thing guaranteed to put me on edge as a kid, which is probably why I have such vivid memories of this film.   Both Ritchie and I clearly have issues.  Ritchie’s dad turns into a wolfman at the full moon and my dad tries to teach me to swim by throwing in deep end of the pool.  If you can’t swim, there is never a better time to learn, eh? I’ll take the werewolf, thank you very much.

As you can probably imagine with a film like this there are quite a few unintentionally funny moments, much of it revolving around the dialogue with lines like:

Sandy: “We have a problem with Ritchie. He’s on that werewolf kick again.”
Robert: “Did you drag me out here just to tell me that?”
Sandy:  “I know that you’ve heard it before, but this time he thinks it’s you.”
Robert: “Tsk! That . . . is . . . lunacy.”

The werewolf make-up isn’t bad and neither is the acting, but it’s not great either.  The Boy Who Cried Werewolf is a fun movie rather than a good movie.

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