The 80s were the era of teen films, producing classic such a “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off,” “Fast Times at Ridgemont High” and the Brat Pack films “Sixteen Candles” and “St. Elmo’s Fire.” It was also the era that started teen horror films. Interestingly, one film decided to combine the two genres. This film became Teen Wolf and starred Michael J. Fox, who career was launched by this film and the pop culture classic Back to the Future franchise. Teen Wolf also generated a following and its popularity spawned a 2011 TV series. But we’re going to take a look at the 1986 Teen Wolf animated series. I am DevilDriver1313 and this is Cheesy Cartoons!
What made the original film a success was its charm, humor and dealing with acceptance despite our differences. The animated series has bumped up the comedic factor either thanks to Grandpa Howard’s antics or Stiles ‘Get-Rich-quick’ schemes both of which threaten to expose the Howard family secret. However, it did deliver very powerful critiques of disability as civil rights. Freely invoking an asthma attack or seizure, the series centered on how Scott felt “weird” immediately before and during his werewolf transformation. On top of that, Scott was conscious of his difference from other teenagers and had to make accommodations for himself. He also expressed frustration that the residents of this town had stereotyped “his people”. But all that can be thrown in the woodchipper thanks to how much the Teen Wolf cartoon differs from the film original.
CHESSE FACTOR!!: The Teen Wolf animated series launched following the success of the original film that starred Michael J. Fox. It centered on high schooler Scott Howard who is cursed with the ability to transform into the wolfman. He tries to adjust to his normal life with his newly discovered werewolf persona. His close friend Rupert “Stiles” Stiliski is in on his best friend’s secret. But that’s where the movie similarities end. In the film, everyone knows about and has embraced Scott Howard’s werewolf side, whereas in Scott tries to keep it secret in the TV series. Scott and his father Howard lived in Beacontown in the film. For the series, the town named was changed to Wolverton (yeah, that’s not cliché at all) and of course they were given a family in the form of Harold’s parents Grandma and Grandpa Howard from (spoiler alert!) Transylvania and Scott’s adorable younger sister Lupe who has yet to become a werewolf, if she becomes one (Remind you of another ‘Monster’ family). Other changes include Pamela Wells being the school’s cheerleader whereas in the film she had less school spirit, bully Mick McAllister age and background are adjusted for the series and he now attends to same school as Scott and his friends instead of being from a rival school. Rather than accepting his wolf side, Scott Howard is in the classic battle with himself to keep it under control, changing whenever he gets upset and taking on the aggressive nature that comes with it. This, unfortunately, has a tendency to make his already bad situation worse. One time he lost his family album that mistakenly ended up in Mick’s car. Rather than telling his love interest Pamela what happened, his anger gets the better of him and he tries to retrieve the book himself, going through a car wash (literally), and causing a ruckus at a drive-in movie before all is said and done. Grandpa Howard is the neighborhood “bad dog” as he delights in terrorizing their neighbor’s cat like any other typical dog and Grandma is the only one who can keep him on a short leash. We get that he’s a wolf and wolves are canines but to make him behave like a mangy mutt 95% of the time just really didn’t make sense.
WHY WE WATCHED!! Well, like other movie and TV adapted cartoons, it was fun to see these characters placed in a world outside of the one of their creation. Plus, it does help to flesh out their story a little more.
Teen Wolf animated ran for 21 episodes across two seasons from September 1986 to November 1987. The first season was produced by Southern Star Productions and Hanna-Barbera Australia in association with Clubhouse Pictures and Atlantic/Kushner-Locke in the second season. It, like the other cartoons that have been featured on this list, is another fond memory from the decade that spawned music videos, action movies, Hasbro and Mattel’s most popular toylines and Max Headroom. Teen Wolf may have differed greatly from the movie the spawned it, but it was entertaining enough with the familiar characters we know and love added with new characters that we have also come to love.
Teen Wolf gets a cheesy rating of: