BADass SINema Unearthed - Blu-ray Review
- Published Date
- by Loron Hays
Released in 1973 as the bottom-half of a double feature, The Boy Who Cried Werewolf never could match wits with its running mate, Sssssss. Both were creature features. Both were low budget offerings. Both were weird enough, yet cult filmmaker Nathan Juran (Attack Of The 50 Foot Woman, 20 Million Miles To Earth, and many more) kept his hair-raising tale a bit more understated. It slipped easily into the cracks of time and was remembered by only the few who ever saw it.
Until now. That's right, there's been no laserdisc, no VHS, no Beta, no DVD, and no prior blu-ray release of this film. It has been reserved for television fodder only and I don't honestly know if it has been televised since the late 1970s. All that changes, though, with this release.
The tale of one unlucky son whose father becomes a head-hunting werewolf finally makes its home video debut with a new high-definition transfer this week. Thanks to the efforts of the ghouls over at Scream Factory, Juran’s final film rejoins the hunt alongside its B-movie pack. Featuring the final performance of actor Kerwin Mathews (The 7th Voyage of Sinbad, Jack the Giant Killer), The Boy Who Cried Werewolf completes his Juran partnership. The duo, whether they planned it or not, simply closed shop after this release.
It is quite an interesting conclusion, too. Juran, who never really considered himself a director, knew how to get effects films onto the screen. His work with Ray Harryhausen on stop-motion features like First Men in the Moon is proof enough of that. The Boy Who Cried Werewolf is no different. Mixing photography effects with creature makeup work, the lupine that taunts a small boy and officers of the law in his final feature is weirdly brought to life. It might not scare you but it is effective.
There are plenty of man to wolf transformations rendered by artist Tom Burman. The werewolf design is probably solely remembered by freaks like me due to its non-threatening appearance. The canine snout and the streaks of discolored hair make domestication a possibility if one were to consider such a thing for these beasts. Sure there are pointy teeth and long fingernails but you don’t really get scared by the werewolf until you see it with a shovel in a basement with a bag with a severed head inside.
The young Richie Bridgestone (Scott Sealey) is having a hell of a time. His father (Mathews) and his mother (Elaine Devry) are getting a divorce. He’s with his father, nestled next to a forest in a secluded area of the country, when the werewolf attacks begin. Thanks to a pre-credits scene, we already know one is lurking about. And, while still getting over the look of these beasts, our hearts are tugged on a bit as Richie’s father explains to the boy that his parents’ love for him hasn’t faded, just their love for each other. Divorce is always tougher on the children, you know. They then decide to work up an appetite by growing on a stroll.
Bad idea. Richie is attacked by the werewolf but it is his father who is bitten. After knocking the strange attacked off a cliff and watching him turn back into a man after a beam pierces his chest, the two find themselves explaining what happened to the local sheriff (character actor Robert J. Wilke). The sheriff believes they were acting in self-defense but wants to hear nothing about Richie’s claim that it was a werewolf. Hence the title. Richie’s done nothing but the villagers don’t believe him and, now that his father is bitten, guess who is going to turn at the next full moon? Poor Richie.
And that’s where the strength of the movie comes from. This is a fantasy locked in a child’s nightmare. You’ve got divorcing parents and a decent father who turns into a furious beast at night, recklessly acting strangers and burying souvenirs in the basement. One attack – inside a small mobile camper – is quite frightening. The couple inside are enjoying a night out when all of a sudden they are jostled awake by a big hairy beast rocking their camper. They are soon rolled off the cliff. Not a way anyone should wake up.
With humorous moments effectively sprinkled in courtesy of some Jesus freaks, led by Brother Christopher (Bob Homel) who swears there are dark forces at work, and some of the town’s rather harmless citizens, The Boy Who Cried Werewolf never really strikes fear into the heart of its audience. Mathews, when not in wolf wear, is an often lovable dude. He watches over his son and is keen on striking up a relationship with his wife again. When in the werewolf mode, he lets his body and face do most of the acting. The performance as the monster is consistently weird in the mannerisms he uses and only threatening when equipped with tools we can identify with.
It's hard to say if The Boy Who Cried Werewolf will have you howling at the moon or howling with laughter. Regardless, it is a sort of landmark film in that it caps off the careers of two of the artists involved with this furry production. Check this one out if you have any interest in B-movies.
MPAA Rating: Not rated
Runtime: 93 mins
Director: Nathan Juran
Writer: Bob Homel
Cast: Kerwin Mathews, Elaine Devry, Scott Sealey
Tagline: Possible in this day and age? Those who didn't believe... are dead!
Memorable Movie Quote: "Something must have come down out of the hills."
Distributor: Universal Pictures
Release Date: August 1, 1973
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date: July 26, 2016
Synopsis: Richie Bridgestone (whose parents are divorced) goes to spend the weekend with his father at his secluded mountain cabin. During a moonlight hike, they are attacked in the darkness by a creature that he recognizes as a werewolf. During the struggle, the werewolf falls into a ravine and is impaled by a wooden fence, but not before biting his father. Upon investigation, they find their attacker to be human and the sheriff concludes their attacker was an insane drifter. He spends the rest of the film trying to convince his mother, and his therapist that his father is now a werewolf.
Available on Blu-ray - July 26, 2016
Screen Formats: 1.85:1
Audio: English: DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0
Discs: Blu-ray Disc; Single disc (1 BD)
Region Encoding: Locked to Region A
Scream Factory presents this 1080p High-Definition widescreen transfer with an aspect ratio of 1.85:1. The colors aren’t perfect and nothing pops brilliantly out at you but the transfer is a clean one and offers a better look at the picture than before thought possible. The sound is presented with a DTS-HD Master Audio Mono track. There is nothing special to either the sound or the look of the film but at least it is allowed to prowl again.
Unfortunately, there is nothing of any great consequence included with the release of the movie.
- Original Theatrical Trailer (2 min)
- Still Gallery (3 min)