Writer/director Neal McLaughlin pays loving homage to the teen sexploitation and monster flicks of the ’50s and ’60s with the cheeky spoof “I Was a Teenage Wereskunk.” It reanimates the genre so well you almost wish for a drive-in theater to have the full experience.
Our hero is Curtis (Scott Monahan), an innocent high school jock. Puberty becomes even more awkward for him after a run-in with a skunk that causes Curtis to spray, skunk-style, whenever he becomes aroused. He eventually mutates into a sex-mad, bloodthirsty man-skunk.
The film mines the tension between the buttoned-up, repressed prudery of the era with what’s actually going on behind closed doors, which in turn bumps up against the advancing sexual revolution, heralded by the local beatniks, who take a shine to Curtis. McLaughlin’s script is chock full of puns and double entrendres that jokingly play on this divide.
“I Was A Teenage Wereskunk” is a tribute to this genre in detail, but with a healthy dose of knowing irony. A few performers are perhaps overly committed, though the central couple, Monahan and Shey Lyn Zanotti as his crush Mary Beth, strike the right tenor. McLaughlin even includes some slightly offensive sexual and racial humor that might be period-appropriate but wouldn’t fly these days. “Wereskunk” only wavers when it slips from the style of the era, with the usage of digital special effects or the odd modern reference. When it stays in the unique lane it’s established for itself, it’s plenty of silly retro fun.
‘I Was a Teenage Wereskunk’
Running time: 1 hour, 30 minutes
Playing: Vintage Los Feliz 3, Los Feliz