movie: Teen Wolf
starring: Michael J. Fox, Jerry Levine
plot: When high student Scott, finds out he comes from a family of werewolves, he has to learn how to balance this new side of himself, with how his neighbourhood now views him.
The first fifteen minutes, is basically how each piece of the first transformation is handled. The lead character has what at first appears as a wave of the flu during a high school basketball game, then when getting dressed he finds the first string of dog hair, and his sense of smell becomes heightened. From there, his sense of hearing is exposed as being overly sensitive when a kid begins playing with a dog whistle. As the night progresses, so does his nails, ears and fangs. After his first full transformation, which happens to be the night of the full moon, he learns that his dad is also a werewolf. After loosing his emotions and exposing his lycanthropy in public, his best friend Stiles decides to manipulate the situation to his advantage and turns him into a local celebrity. But before long, Scott learns people no longer see him for him, they only see the wolf.
This movie is a metaphor for puberty, self acceptance and how fame can strip you of yourself.
Our lead character is sort of caught between a rock and a hard place, given he's only popular when he's in wolf mode, but he himself doesn't necessarily want to be trapped in that image. He embraces it in the beginning, because of the attention it brings him from the girl he's been crushing on, while ignoring the one woman who likes him no matter how he looks. When he discovers he's only being used by his crush for his status, he begins to retreat away from his wolf side.
This also leads to a confrontation with the ex-boyfriend of his crush. Although Scott is able to keep from hurting him, he does lash out physically in what could have been a serious situation. That in itself scares Scott into not wanting to let his lycanthropy be his main personality trait.
Here is a story about someone who never really viewed themselves as an outsider, until everyone around them starts to treat them differently because of one emotional outburst. Once the neighbourhood sees our lead character for the first time as the wolf, it starts a chain reaction that branches out in all sides. Some people love the new side of him, some don't. In fact, one of his long time friends, becomes down right scared of him. This escalates the lead's sense of isolation, making him react less like Scott, and more like the celebrity people think he is. A scene that expresses this the best is when the drama teacher fires him when he refuses to perform in wolf mode.
There is a deeper bias of fear going on here too, with the sub-plot of his principal not trusting him simply because of a former rivalry the principal had with his father. It's that idea that some people never get past their own anxieties to see what you might have to offer.
As much as I've always loved this movie, I always thought it was a shame it didn't go deeper into the heart of the characters. Granted, this is an 80's teen comedy, and those rarely got past the one note stereotypes, relying more on the gags.
That's about it for now, I'll be back with another round next week.
314 Days till Hallowe'en 2018