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Review: My Mom’s a Werewolf (1989)

by Aaron Vaccaro – Head Writer

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Best Bad Quote:

“What’s the volume of the Caspian Sea?”

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There are certain movies that just remind you of childhood.  Whether you were fortunate to have HBO and saw One Crazy Summer way too many times, or you had to settle for the Saturday matinee’s on Fox, which were quite fond of running My Mom’s a Werewolf on a frequent basis.  This movie is like a bad version of Teen Wolf or Once Bitten, but substitute the teen protagonist, a character the target audience could easily relate to, with a square, uptight, Mom, and you have My Mom’s a Werewolf.

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The plot centers around a frustrated housewife, Leslie, who visits an animal shop to purchase a flea-collar for the family dog.  Unknowing that the owner, Harry, is a werewolf, she accepts his invitation to lunch and later in his apartment. While being powerless to Harry’s seductive techniques, a bite on her toe starts her slow transformation into a werewolf.  Home again, she desperately tries to hide the often disgusting process from her family, but her daughter Jennifer and her – from horror magazines well educated – friend recognize what’s going on, and help to kill the non-human.

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Sounds plausible enough, right?  Of course it sounds ludicrous, but that’s what made the decade of the 80’s so much fun for movies, because these movies didn’t take themselves too seriously, and let the frivolity run rampant.  However, My Mom’s a Werewolf is definitely a notch below some of the most beloved horror comedies of the decade.  For starters, clearly the producers blew their who budget on the rights to the Sam Sham and the Pharaoh’s song, “Little Red Riding Hood,” but they do get their money’s worth out of it as it plays repeatedly through the film and is supplemented with your stock 80’s comedy synth score, only this one sounds like it was created on the mini casio keyboard I had as a child.

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When it comes to the cast, My Mom’s a Werewolf is filmed with a variety of actors that you will make you ask yourself, “Where do I know that person from?”  You have John Saxon (A Nightmare on Elm Street) playing Harry, the head werewolf, John Schuck (Tales from the Crypt: Demon Night) as Leslie’s bumbling husband who easily has to be the least perceptive character ever realized in a movie, and finally Susan Blakely (Over the Top) as Leslie, the mother transforming into a hair-covered werewolf.  Every performance in this movie is superfluous and gratuitous, in keeping with the tradition of the decade, but John Schuck’s is particularly ridiculous.  There is a scene where it could not be any brighter in this room, and he is supposed to act as if the lights have been turned off and fumble around, tripping over one thing after another.  It’s one of the worst scenes of directing I’ve ever seen.  Not to mention, when Schuck’s character discovers that his wife is turning into werewolf, his face literally turns white as a ghost.  When the hell did this turn into a “Scooby Doo” episode?

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Did I enjoy My Mom’s a Werewolf? Well, let’s just say, it didn’t hold up to the test of time all that well.  There are some fun moments, but at the end of the day, John Saxon’s eerily rapey reminiscent werewolf made this reviewer a little queasy.  I do have to give the filmmakers credit on making the final wolf battle both simultaneously impressive and lackluster.  The wolf makeup actually looks pretty solid, and much better than watching CGI Benecio Del Toro and Anthony Hopkins wrestle around a living room.  But, the action of the scene is simply too silly to make it worthwhile.  Unlike seminal 80’s classics like The Monster Squad and Fright Night, I found I have simply outgrown My Mom’s a Werewolf.

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Rating:

2 out of 5 Seductive 80’s Matriarchs

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