Full Moon High (1981)

Full Moon High (1981)

“I know all about werewolves and their little problems.”

When a high school football player (Adam Arkin) travels to Transylvania with his father (Ed McMahon), he’s turned into a werewolf. Twenty years later, he returns to his high school and attempts to get help from a pretty vegetarian (Joanne Nail) in filming his transformation so he can get caught.

Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:

  • Alan Arkin Films
  • Comedy
  • High School
  • Larry Cohen Films
  • Werewolves

This “no budget werewolf comedy” by cult director Larry Cohen — best known for helming It’s Alive (1974), God Told Me To / Demon (1976), and Q: The Winged Serpent (1982) — was originally meant to be a comedic take on I Was a Teenage Werewolf (1957), but turned into its own cheesy brand of juvenile satire. Unfortunately, the humor on display here is exceedingly silly, and will only appeal to a certain type of audience member. With that said, I enjoyed all interactions between Arkin and Nail, whose plucky can-do horniness reminded me of Elizabeth Banks’ character in The 40 Year Old Virgin (2005).

Watch for Alan Arkin (Arkin’s real-life dad) in a bit role as an “insults-based” therapist called in to try to help.

Redeeming Qualities and Moments:

  • Joanne Nail as Ricky
  • A few mildly amusing lines: “Someone has broken in, and I may not like him.”

Must See?
No; you can skip this one unless it sounds like your cup of tea.


One thought on “Full Moon High (1981)

  1. First viewing. Somewhere between “not must-see” and “skip it”.

    Basically, very little works here. Cohen attempts horror-comedy for a change instead of regular horror, and the result is mostly painful. The script is haphazard (“a few mildly amusing lines” is right; occasionally dialogue simply makes no sense), the direction is clunky (many awkward transitions; generally, pacing is terrible; the whole concluding sequence just never seems to end).

    Adam Arkin is cute but he can only do so much with all of the lame things he has to say. There are two bright spots (such as they are): Kenneth Mars as the gay coach and Alan Arkin as the psychiatrist. These are two highly accomplished NY actors adept at comedy and comfortable with improvising – so I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that much of what they say (most of which is in stark contrast to the rest of the ‘comedy’) came from their natural abilities and not from the script.

    For the most part, this thing just plods on… and on… and on…..

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