Thursday, December 9, 2010


As a five year old in 1957,  I felt little of the confused liberating force of teenhood (that was to come in the late Sixties for me),  but did see the result of its growing pains in the form of media representations of this newly important demographic.  Before girls,  rock 'n roll,  and even noise,  Hollywood monsters captured my imagination,  especially those glimpsed in the pages of magazines like FAMOUS MONSTERS OF FILMLAND.  I would sometimes use money meant for the collection plate in church to purchase these illicit magazines (ah,  the Catholic guilt!).  One bit of B-movie schlock that really grabbed me turned out to be called I WAS A TEENAGE FRANKENSTEIN (1957),  a silly,  but strangely seductive bit of black and white teen exploitation.  It now seems like a twisted vision of a teen's severe body-image problem, or puberty run amuck (oh,  that was I WAS A TEENAGE WEREWOLF),  or perhaps an exaggerated call to cut parental ties (in this case using an alligator pit).  Whit Bissel plays Dr. Frankenstein,  an Englishman without any sign of accent or scruples,  who'll let nothing get in his way of creating the perfect being from mangled auto wreck teen parts and ganglia. Unfortunately, the monster (played by heartthrob Gary Conway) had little use for adult supervision or Bissel's  curious fiance (ably played by Phyllis Coates of  TV's Superman fame),  another victim of our doctor's favorite disposal system,  the alligator pit.  Its shoddy plot, hilarious dialogue,  and  bargain basement makeup only made this movie more laudable in my eyes,  a misshapen masterpiece about a universal truth,  that of growing up pimpled,  insecure,  and wildly different,  at least in our own minds.

1 comment:

  1. Clearsil, no doubt, would have been helpful in controlling teenage angst, as well as pesky pimples...TF, watta stud!