Teen Wolf: Collector’s Edition

| August 2, 2017

Thanks to the rising star of Family Ties’ Michael J. Fox in 1985, Teen Wolf wound up being a huge hit, raking in $33 million on a $1.8 million budget. And in retrospect, it’s amazing that Teen Wolf became the hit it did given that the whole film was built on the absurd premise of a werewolf playing basketball. Granted, Teen Wolf’s broader pop culture significance pales in comparison to Back to the Future (1985), which Fox filmed at virtually the same time as Teen Wolf. Yet Teen Wolf made an indelible impression on a lot of folks in 1980’s including myself, and honestly I’d still take Teen Wolf over Back to the Future any day of the week.

From the writing team of Jeph Loeb (now Executive Vice President of Marvel Television) and Matthew Weisman, Teen Wolf is a coming-of-age story about a virtual high school nobody (Fox) whose raging hormones trigger his transformation into a teenage werewolf—not the kind that eats people, but the kind that plays basketball. Though determined at first to conceal his lycanthropic identity, our protagonist Scott becomes a local superstar after “wolfing out” on the basketball court and breaking his team’s losing streak. This may sound incredibly silly, but the resultant piece is a fun and fruitful examination of the problems of adolescence… with werewolves and an underdog sports narrative thrown in for good measure. It’s a weird and endearing film that truly only could have come out of the 1980’s.

As someone who’s been fanatical about Teen Wolf since the age of four, I was thrilled to see the film come out on Blu-ray from MGM back in 2011 and jumped all over it. That release was serviceable, but it lacked special features and the HD transfer needed polish all around as a cheap-y release clearly intended to capitalize on and promote the debut of MTV’s Teen Wolf series. Since, again, Teen Wolf is no Back to the Future, I assumed that’s the best release we’d ever see of the film and contented myself with it.

This was of course before Scream Factory existed, though. And with boutique labels like Scream around, films that the studios have long-neglected now have the opportunity to hit shelves in beautiful Collector’s Edition releases. And it’s just this sort of a treatment that Teen Wolf’s received in the Teen Wolf: Collector’s Edition from Scream Factory, available August 8, 2017!

Boasting a new 2K scan of the film, Scream Factory’s transfer is a marked improvement over the previous MGM release, being noticeably cleaner, sharper and with more saturated colors all around. In addition, the DTS-HD Mono Master Audio serves the film and its soundtrack incredibly well. It provides a dynamic audio experience that nicely highlights the film’s awesome 80’s soundtrack.

As mentioned above, one of the biggest failures of the previous MGM Blu-ray was that it included no special features related to the film itself. (There was a sneak peak of MTV’s Teen Wolf, but that was it.) Scream Factory went above and beyond to make up for this and packaged the film alongside the usual trailer and stills gallery, as well as worked alongside Red Shirt Pictures to deliver the incredible behind-the-scenes documentary, Never. Say. Die. The Story of Teen Wolf.

Divided into ten themed chapters and clocking in at a staggering 2 hours and 23 minutes, the documentary includes interviews with more than a dozen members of the cast and crew and includes plenty of behind-the-scenes photos and the like. No, Michael J. Fox isn’t interviewed, BUT Loeb and Weinstein do appear in the doc along with the bulk of the main supporting players as well as producers Mark Levinson and James MacKrell, Fox’s basketball double, make-up artist Jeff Dawn and others still. Selection of an audio interview with the late director Rod Daniel is included, in addition to footage of Daniel onstage during a Q&A following a revival screening. Never. Say. Die. provides insight into the film’s pre-production, production and post-, as well as reflects on the film’s legacy, and the documentary alone makes the upgrade from the MGM Blu-ray totally worth it.

About the Author:

Jef is a writer and educator in Chicago, Illinois. He holds a degree in Media & Cinema Studies from DePaul University, but sometimes he drops it and picks it back up again. He's also the Editor-in-Chief of FilmMonthly.com and is fueled entirely by coffee (as if you couldn't tell).
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