Review Date: January 2, 2001
Released by: Image Entertainment
Release date: 1/2/2000
Region 1, NTSC
Full Frame 1.33:1
Jim Cannon (Jim McCullough Sr) is doing his best to provide a good life for his family. He spends his days in a mine located in back of their mountain cabin, searching for gold that he swears is in there. Helping him in the search is his young son Charles (Stephen Parker), while his wife Ruth (Anne Gwynne) stays at the cabin. One day Jim's dreams of riches come to an end when a meteor crashes just outside the mine, killing him and mutating his son Charles into a hideous monster.
Seven years later - Charles (Gil Perkins) has now grown into a "teenage monster". His mother (Ruth) keeps him hidden away from the world, but every time his Mom goes out to do an errand or work in the mind - she still believes gold is in there - Charles sneaks out and kills someone. The local townspeople, having seen this trend of mysterious killings for the past few years, begin to worry that a monster is lurking nearby their town. Most would suspect a bear to be responsible for the killings, but since no claw marks are found on the victims, a bear is ruled out and a monster is ruled in. Local Sheriff Bob Lehman (Stuart Wade), who is in love with Ruth, doesn't believe in the monster but he does realize something is killing the townspeople and it has to be stopped.
Ruth finally discovers a vein of gold in the mine, and it seems as if good times lie ahead for her and Charles. Good times don't last very long when Charles sneaks out once again and kidnaps a young woman named Kathy North (Gloria Castillo). He doesn't kill Kathy - fortunately his mother arrives in Charles' room just in time to save her. No one else knows about Charles and Ruth wants to keep it that way. She offers to pay Kathy $500 a month to keep quiet, plus come to the house everyday to keep her and Charles company. Kathy agrees and all begins well, but soon Kathy gets greedy and wants more money. She forces Ruth to sign a contract agreeing that Kathy get all her money if she happens to die. Kathy lies to Charles, using Ruth and Bob's love for one another to scare Charles into thinking his mother no longer wants or loves him. It seems Ruth and Bob are doomed to be Charles' next victims. When Charles begins to see Kathy's true colors shine through, her plans quickly go awry.
No doubt some of you out there like bad movies. While this one may not be up there with Plan 9 From Outer Space, it's pretty damn close. The make-up for the werewolf-like monster isn't too bad, thanks to Jack Pierce, who created the original Boris Karloff make-up in Frankenstein and The Mummy. Obviously he didn't have much of a budget here, so the results are nothing spectacular, but the monster certainly could've looked worse. What really bothered me about the monster is his constant grunting noises, which all the characters are able to interpret as actual dialogue. It's explained in the liner notes that they dubbed the monster's dialogue to be grunts - taking out the actual dialgoue that was there - in an attempt to make the monster look more "brain damaged". Of course, they couldn't really chance the actors responses without refilming, so the end result is a bit humorous.
Story and acting are just plain bad - the whole "werewolf monster created by a meteor, terrorizing an 'Old West' town" is laughable, especially the way it's implemented here. The monster and his grunts are unconvincing, along with poor performances from the rest of the cast. Even at a running time of 65 minutes - due to it being created for a drive-in double feature - I found this hard to sit through. What's fortunate is that there's no attempt anywhere on the packaging to try and convince you that this movie is good. The notes on the back of the DVD state: "..keep something on screen while the real hot action was going on in the backseat". The liner notes have brief quotes from the cast and crew many year later, all of whom gladly admit this is just a plain bad movie. One of the actors even stopped working for seven years, claiming this movie was the worst thing they could've done.
Some will enjoy this just for the laughs they'll get from it, or because they like these types of bad movies. Everyone else will want to avoid this one at all costs.
Image presents Teenage Monster in a full transfer in its original 1.33:1 aspect ratio. Certainly not a spectacular transfer here, but given this isn't a classic or cult film by any means, I'm not too surprised. There's a good amount of print blemishes that appear - scratches, nicks, dirt and some vertical lines. Some scenes appear grainy and lacking in detail, but overall the image is sharp and grain free. White specks pop up during most of playback. Blacks and white are generally solid, though in a few scenes the colors appear either too dark or bright. I'm not really all that impressed with the transfer but it certainly could've been worse. Given how bad this film is, coupled with the fact it's from 1957 and was a drive-in feature, you can't expect too much restoration work to go into it. I'm rating it a C as I think it's a satisfactory transfer overall.
Teenage Monster is presented in Dolby Digital Mono. Some minor cracking sounds during a few scenes, but that's about the only distortion I heard.
Theatrical trailer only.
Image did a decent job on audio/video, which is more than this movie deserves. It's definitely a BAD movie that only a select few are going to enjoy - you know how you are. Extras are light, with only a theatrical trailer and some liner notes included.
Movie - D
Image Quality - C
Sound - B
Supplements - C
- Running time - 1 hour 5 minutes
- Not Rated
- 1 Disc
- Chapter stops
- Dolby Digital Mono