The supernatural high school comedy turns 35 today!
Teen Wolf (1985) follows seemingly normal teenager Scott Howard (Michael J. Fox) as he discovers the family secret – he and his father are werewolves! Seeking fame and popularity, the physically inept Scott uses his newfound lupine abilities on the basketball court, earning the respect and admiration of his peers while unintentionally pushing away his closest friends. Scott must now decide, does he really want to be defined by his hairy alter ego?
Released a month after Fox’s other smash hit Back to the Future (1985), Teen Wolf was a box office success, spawning the much less successful Teen Wolf Too (1987) starring Jason Bateman and an eventual televised reimagining on MTV. Updating the basic premise for the modern day, the latter proved to be popular in its own right, adding more prominent romance and drama elements to the familiar coming-of-age narrative.
The popularity of the TV show proves that the themes of Teen Wolf are universal and intergenerational. After all, it is human nature to crave love and acceptance. Some may view power as a shortcut to happiness but that is rarely the case. As Scott’s father puts it in the film, “With great power comes great responsibility…”
Feeling nostalgic? Watch the original trailer here: