Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Family fun with werewolves in suburbia

My Mom's a Werewolf (1989)
Starring: Susan Blakely, John Saxon, Katrina Caspary, Diana Barrows, and John Schuck
Director: Michael Fischa
Rating: Six of Ten Stars

A suburban housewife (Blakely) is seduced by a handsome petshop owner (Saxon) into enjoying an afternoon fling... but soon afterwards she starts transforming into a werewolf. As she tries to conceal her condition, her teenaged daughter and her horror-movie loving friend (Caspary and Barrows) set out to save her before it's too late and she forever transforms from housewife to were-wife.

"My Mom's a Werewolf" is a cute horror comedy that's hampered by listless direction, uninspired camera-work, lame music score, a final monster showdown that is anything but impressive, and a script that is not quite as focused as it could be. However, like everything I've seen from Mark Pirro--who wrote the script here--I found myself chuckling at the film as it unfolded more than anyone else in the room with me.

I can't quite say what it is I like about Pirro's films; I was almost banned from bringing movies to Bad Movie Night after I subjected friends to "Nudist Colony of the Dead", but I love that picture. And I obviously enjoyed this picture more than any of the people I watched it with. Something about Pirro's jokes just appeal to me more than others, I suppose. His genius must be one that it takes a special level of intellect to appreciate.

And I mean that in a good way. And I'll keep telling myself that.

I still recommend this film as something to watch with 'tweens in the household who might be interested in horror, especially girls. There is some strong language here and there, and the film admits plainly that parents have sex lives, but it is free of gore and the main characters are a pair of smart, decent kids that manage to save the adults from certain disaster. It's the kind of film I enjoyed as a kid... are children really that different today?

Despite my friends' bored reaction to the film, I enjoyed seeing John Saxon getting an all-too-rare opportunity to show his comedic side, even if he didn't have enough to do in the film. He was still quite funny in the scene where he proves to the girls that werewolves are immune to garlic, holy water, crosses, and just about anything else they brought to confront him with. (For full-blown Funny Man John Saxon, we have to turn to "The Girl Who Knew Too Much".)

Saxon, along with the film's other stars, can be given a good deal of credit for overcoming the film's lackluster execution. They all give funny performances, and Caspary is even likable enough to make a fairly predictable final joke quite funny.

"My Mom is a Werewolf" is available in several different budget-priced DVD multi-packs. It adds value where-where it's found.