What's a high school kid got to do to be popular? Just let down his hair and howl! Starring Michael J. Fox (Back to the Future) Teen Wolf is an outrageous comedy about a shy teenager with more than a changing voice to contend with... he's a budding young werewolf! And when his new-found powers help him score at basketball - and with the popular girls - he has some pretty hairy decisions to make. Starring Michael J. Fox, James Hampton, Susan Ursitti, Jerry Levine, and Matt Adler.
Adolescence has probably never been as difficult, awkward, and confusing as it is for poor Scott Howard, a teenager confronted with some very peculiar physical changes. And like all kids his age, dealing with the pressures of high school during this strange developmental stage only makes matters worse. For Scott, long hairs suddenly show up in weird places, fingernails grow sharp and pointy, ears extend further out, and on full moon nights, he feels compelled to howl at the moon. You know, normal teen drama that can't really be shared by friends, completely out-of-touch parents, or an apathetic basketball coach. But on the bright side, at least Scott doesn't have to worry about severe acne.
Teen Wolf is an amusing, light-hearted teen flick from 1985 which ponders the issues of growing up from a different perspective. What if your family comes from an extremely unusual lineage, with a visible oddity that doesn't reveal itself until puberty? Michael J. Fox stars in another memorable role, following close on the heels of his first mega-success in Robert Zemeckis' Back to the Future, which catapulted his career from the small screen to Hollywood stardom. Actually, this small fantasy comedy was shot and completed before the sci-fi hit, but it wasn't released until the following month, essentially capitalizing on Fox's sudden popularity, which can be seen in the movie's alternate titles in the foreign market.
The two movies couldn't be any more different from each other, yet they both explore some universal themes of the modern high schooler. The first sees its young hero learn that his parents were once kids much like himself, while the other has its teen protagonist struggle with life-altering changes during that part of youth when we transition from child to mature adult. Both films also gain tremendously from Fox's talent at making characters seem genuine and comical, like we are somehow laughing at the same ordeals we all face during adolescence. This is perfect since the biggest challenge of 'Teen Wolf' is trying to making the hardships of a werewolf relatable to audiences.
In the first few minutes, Scott explains his frustrations with being average, wishing there was something that made him special and standout from the rest. It's probably safe to assume most of us shared in that sentiment — at least a little — at some point during our high school days. His best friends, Styles (Jerry Levine) and Boof (Susan Ursitti), try to make him feel better, and his father (James Hampton) is as understanding as any parent can be. But it's not until after Scott discovers his extraordinary gift that he realizes such talents come with greater responsibilities. Popularity goes straight to his head, and his new challenge is in learning who cares for him as a person versus those who only admire the wolf.
Written by Jeph Loeb, who also scripted Commando and is well-known as an award-winning comic book writer, Teen Wolf was a modest success at the box-office and was followed by a college-themed sequel with a young Jason Bateman, a Saturday-morning cartoon sitcom, and a long-running MTV drama that dropped the series' humor. Still, even thirty years later, nothing quite compares to watching the always-enjoyable Michael J. Fox transform into a werewolf while we have a good laugh at adolescence.
Vital Disc Stats: The Blu-ray
The Teen Wolf Collector's Edition from Scream Factory comes with a 50GB Blu-ray Disc that is Region A Locked. There is no digital download code, but there is an insert for Scream Factory promos. The disc is housed in a hard, blue plastic case with a cardboard sleeve. The box art is reversible with the original poster art.
This new Collector's Edition of Teen Wolf comes with a new 2K scan and encoded in 1080p with a 1.85:1 aspect ratio. There really has never been a great video presentation with this film on its previous releases until now from Scream Factory. I would go as far as to say this is the best Teen Wolf has looked thus far. Detail is sharp and vivid, almost to a fault, due to the old-school makeup effects, where you'll be able to see the heavily caked on werewolf latex and makeup. Individual hairs on the werewolf's face are distinguishable as are the threads in the 1980's clothing and theatre wardrobe.
Wider shots of the high-school interiors never go soft and show the grime and dirt on the walls nicely. Colors look robust and bright too with amazing yellows on the basketball uniforms and different shades of brown and blonde on the werewolf's face. Each color is well-balanced this time around and looks great. Black levels are deep and inky and skin tones are always natural. There were no major issues with any aliasing, banding, or other video noise, leaving this video presentation with great marks.
This release comes with a lossless DTS-HD MA 2.0 mix that sounds quite good. I only wish there was a 5.1 mix to add that hefty low end and ambient noises of growls, party goers, and fans at the basketball games. Still, this 2.0 mix gets the job done with directionality in the dialogue and the full dynamics of the music soundtrack.
The sound effects are strong, but never overpowering, but the dialogue is presented cleanly and is always easy to follow. The score is the big hit here with all of the cheesy 80's music and entertaining score when the werewolf transformations happen. There are no pops, cracks, hiss, or shrills either here, leaving this audio track with good marks.
Still Gallery (HD, 6 Mins.) - Photos of the making of the film and other artwork for the poster.
Trailer (HD, 2 Mins.) - The trailer for the film.
Teen Wolf still holds up after all these years, despite its cheesiness and sub-par visual effects. Michael J. Fox is golden here and so likable as is his friend Styles and Boof. The music takes you back to your glory days and the nostalgic feeling while watching these characters interact is something special. This new video presentation is the best the film has ever looked and the audio sounds great, although it should've had the 5.1 option. It looks like there is only one real extra here, but it's almost 2.5 hours long and covers everything you'd want from the film, despite the absence of Michael J. Fox. Still, this version of Teen Wolf is worth the re-buy. Recommended!
Portions of this review also appear in our coverage of Dunkirk on Blu-ray. This post features unique Vital Disc Stats, Video, and Final Thoughts sections.