HTS Moderator , Reviewer
Title: The Boy Who Cried Werewolf
HTS Overall Score:62
If I hadn’t known it beforehand I would never have suspected that “The Boy Who Cried Werewolf” was made in 1973. The filming style, and the deliberate pacing of the film makes it feel decades older, more like a 950’s horror movie than something from the bloodier 1970s. Well, not to mention the fact that the horrible makeup and prosthetics for the wolf makes it feel a bit dated as well (Seriously, we have a rubber mask on the wolf which makes it oh so obvious that there is human face behind it. Even going so far as to seeing the human mouth when the wolf howls. It’s pretty hysterical). The 70’s was the start of the age of excess and blood in the horror genre, but “The Boy Who Cried Werewolf” sticks to a much more family safe PG rating with very little blood at all, and a premium on suspense vs. gore. It’s not the best of the genre, but “The Boy Who Cried Werewolf” manages to be a fun little bit of nostalgia that makes us realize just how much the werewolf subgenre has grown and matured over the years (the 80s was known for some of the best Werewolf movies in history), and how much fun these guys had back in the day, before the advent of CGI and high value prosthetic practical effects.
The story revolves around a father and son who have just been through a lot. Parents Robert (Kerwin Matthews) and Sandy (Elaine Devry) have just gotten a divorce, and young Richie (Scott Sealey) is caught in the middle. Splitting time between parents is a rough thing for a young kid, but he’s making do by visiting with his father in their new cabin in the woods before going home to mom. Things seem to be ok for two males, but a chance encounter with a werewolf makes things a bit more complicated. Richie is attacked by the wolf in the middle of the woods only to have Robert fight off the beast and throw it over a cliff. Transforming back into its human form, the wolf appears to just be a regular guy, and even causes Robert to doubt what he just saw. The problem is, Robert was bit by the beast moments before being throw off the cliff and we ALL know what happens to bite victims of the supernatural beasts.
Bit by bit we see Robert’s transformation into the beast. A transformation that only Richie sees. Desperately trying to tell anyone of his father’s malady, he is forced to watch while Robert slowly racks up a body count and gets the local sheriff involved in a hunt for what seems to be a large animal. The thing is, as a human Robert has no memory of his wolf escapades and refuses to listen to the warning signs from his son as well as a well-meaning supernatural studies professor. As the “villagers” get their picks and shovels out to find the beast, it is a tight run between Richie saving his father and the wolf gene completely terrorizing the countryside.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=75713[/img]Even though it was made in early 1973, “The Boy Who Cried Werewolf” feels much more ancient and dated than that. Its look, how the movie was paced, and how the characters interact feels much older. Were it not for the crazed religious hippie commune that they visit and some of the hair styles, I would honestly place it in the 60s, or even 50s at first glance. Besides the family friendly twist to the movie, it would almost be more at home in the old Hammer horror collection. The costumes and prosthetics are VERY dated, and the wolf mask they use is so ridiculously low budget that you can’t help but laugh whenever the wolf comes on screen. The same goes for the wolf attacks where you see it writhe and prance around the screen, seemingly loathe to show any actual gore (the beast actually hesitates and just gestates around the character before the camera can pan away and we assume the horrible munching continues).
Released and directed by the great Nathan Juran who has created such classics as “Attack of the 50 Foot Woman” and “20 Million Miles to Earth” you can see just WHY it feels so dated. Juran imparts a sense of 1950’s nostalgia into the film in a more “modern” 70’s trapping that is both nostalgia and bizarre at the same time. We always expect cheap and shoddy acting in horror movies, it is kind of a staple of the genre, and Juran doesn’t disappoint us in that regard. Richie is very much a “leave it to Beaver” type of child in the way his mannerisms are, and the rest of the cast do a great job at hamming it up. The crazed hippie “preacher” acts as the film’s comedic relief (I can only assume that it was meant as comedic relief, because that would make it a whole nother level of wince worthy if they were playing him off as serious) and while the ending is a bit lackluster, the overall plot of the film is a great nostalgic bit of film history.
Rated PG by the MPAA, Parental Guidance suggested
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=75721[/img]I’m usually very nervous about 70’s and 80s horror back catalog releases, especially one that was from Universal’s vault due to their history of applying excessive edge enhancement and digital noise reduction to their old masters. Thankfully this seems to be a fairly modern transfer and one that is devoid of any major artifacting or digital manipulation techniques from the globe logo’d studio. Scream! Has done a good job with the encode and the results are fairly good. There’s some print damage here and there, along with some pretty thick grain at times, but fine detail is impressive and black levels are pretty strong. During the few daylight shots there are some vibrant colors that really pop off the screen, but we have a ton of the old fashioned “day for night” shots that give the image a decidedly blue look that comes from the “night time” filter used in the technique.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=75729[/img]The Mono DTS-HD MA track is just about as good as the video, and while it is not wildly active surround mix, it does the job quite nicely. Dialog is strong and clear, but there is a sort of boxy sound to the mix that feels constrained on modern systems. The front sound stage is fairly limited as well, with the dialog centric film making it a VERY center loaded track. There’s a few mild sound effects that shift some directionality in the front, but most of the time it’s a very simple and precise sound design. There’s a little baked in LFE and some ambient noises that come through, but once again, this is a mono track and very simple in its layout. I didn’t notice any hisses or crackling in the old mix and I have to say that it sounds quite good for its age.
• Theatrical Trailer
• Photo Gallery
“The Boy Who Cried Werewolf” is an extremely different horror flick than most of the others in that genre in that particular time period, and is a bit strange in its execution too. However it acts a fun little piece of nostalgic history for those of us who grew up with less visceral horror movies from the 50s and 60s. Not to mention the fact that the cheese level of the movie is so incredibly high and gloriously understated by many. The audio and video are pleasing enough for an old 70’s film, but the extras are sadly a bit slim for this release. Definitely worth a rental at the very least if you’re into classic horror.
Starring: Kerwin Matthews, Elaine Devry, Scott Sealey
Directed by: Nathan Juran
Written by: Bob Hormel
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 AVC
Audio: English: DTS-HD MA Mono
Studio: Scream! Factory
Runtime: 93 Minutes
Blu-ray Release Date: July 26th 2016
Buy The Boy Who Cried Werewolf On Blu-ray at Amazon
Recommendation: Fun Rental
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