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In a little Western town, a boy is subjected to rays from a meteor. As a result, he grows into a teenaged, hairy, psychopathic killer. His mother hides him in her basement.Written by
Paul White <email@example.com>
TEENAGE MONSTER was originally produced under the title MONSTER ON THE HILL, and was also known as METEOR MONSTER. Heading the cast is the former 1940s Universal star Anne Gwynne, trapped into a role she probably needed to meet some bills. The pretty Gwynne was known for such Karloff, Lugosi, and Chaney Jr. oldies like BLACK Friday, WEIRD WOMAN, and HOUSE OF FRANKENSTEIN. Here she starts out as a typical mother and housewife in the Old West whose life is thrown into turmoil when a cheap Fourth Of July sparkler in the sky (it's supposed to be a deadly meteor!) crashes down and kills her husband. Worse still is the handicap it leaves upon her little boy Charles: he's now a scarred and brain damaged brute.
Zooming ahead several years later, we see the "teenaged" boy as he now exists since the tragedy: a six-foot-something hairy dimwit with bad teeth and shaggy hair. The boy was portrayed by stuntman Gil Perkins, well over age fifty and who himself was a former Wolf Man and Frankenstein monster double from the Universal classics of the 40s! For TEENAGE MONSTER he was made up by the once great Jack Pierce, whose new '50s get-ups were starting to look kind of crappy and rushed, leaving him looking like a cross between Glenn Strange in THE MAD MONSTER and John Bloom in THE INCREDIBLE TWO-HEADED TRANSPLANT.
Gwynne tries to keep her mutant son hidden from the townsfolk, but junior tends to get into mischief by killing someone or something every so often anyway. Mom has also become wealthy in the aftermath of her husband's demise, and once a young waitress gets wind of the shady goings-on, she blackmails Gwynne by threatening to expose Charles unless she receives a steady chunk of change on a regular basis. She gradually gains control over the mangy halfwit too, sending her pawn out to dispatch people she doesn't much care for in the bargain.
AIP actress Gloria Castillo (REFORM SCHOOL GIRL, INVASION OF THE SAUCER MEN) gives the best performance of the show as the greedy waitress. But Anne Gwynne also seems to rise above the material herself, given that she thought the film was the worst thing she ever did and even caused her to stop making movies (this was her final film). Indeed, there are some unintentional laughs here, the best example being the dubbed voice of the teenage monster. It was initially felt that Charles sounded way too articulate for a mentally challenged moron, so the decision was made to have Gil Perkins loop in some hysterically stupid whimpers and whines that never match the filmed lip movements. Even funnier is the fact that Anne Gwynne and Gloria Castillo still appear to be able to make sense of every grunt he mumbles! ** out of ****
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