During this Halloween season, I’ve seen my share of entertainingly “bad” horror-comedies, but surprisingly most of them aren’t even all that bad. Entertaining, sure. But I try to find the silver lining in even the worst movies. And My Mom’s a Werewolf isn’t as difficult to accomplish that task as some of the others.
Leslie Shaber (Susan Blakely) works tirelessly as a housewife and doesn’t seem to get any thanks from her husband or daughter, who totally take her for granted. One day she gets fed up with her husband ignoring her and storms out of the house to run some errands. At the pet store, she meets a mysterious man (John Saxon) who wears sunglasses indoors. He seduces her and hypnotizes her romantically, and eventually bites her toe, slowly turning her into a werewolf. Leslie’s daughter, Jennifer (Tina Caspary), now must try to find a cure with the help of her horror-phile friend, Stacey (Diana Barrows).
My Mom’s a Werewolf isn’t scary, and I’m not so sure it’s trying to be. Luckily the movie is also a comedy, and successfully so. It’s much funnier than it has any right to be, seemingly unaware that it’s as funny as it is. Genuinely smart and humorous jokes are thrown in almost effortlessly as though there’s no faith behind them. My favorite line is probably the casually delivered, “I’m having a nightmare–can I call you back?”
Narratively, the perspective is all over the place. Director Michael Fischa is unsure if his protagonist is Jennifer or her mother. And so are we. There’s also a strange conflation between vampires and werewolves. I keep having to remind myself which one we’re talking about, since the story hardly concerns itself with any werewolf lore.
Fischa doesn’t know how to build suspense at all (with no help from the terrible, almost non-existent musical score), yet moves the plot along slowly, which is a bad combination. The narrative often relies on an unrealistic stupidity of its characters, while contradictingly, the director allows them to appear omniscient much too often.
Blakely does a pretty terrible job as the werewolf mom. She delivers her lines with such intentional camp as though she thinks she’s in an episode of Three’s Company or something. However, Caspary, gives such a believable and smooth performance, it’s a shame she never acted anymore after this film.
My Mom’s a Werewolf has some great Halloween vibes and acts as a fairly innocuous B-movie. There are some abysmal flaws on the technical side–especially on the directors end–but the movie has some real charm and an unexpected talent of making me laugh.