Seemingly inspired by the 1985 flicks Teen Wolf and Fright Night, 1989’s My Mom’s a Werewolf goes into full camp, eschewing any semblance of horror and attempting to create a lighthearted comedy. However, the emphasis here is on slapstick, puns, and pratfalls, all of which may bring about some chuckles but little else.
Leslie (Susan Blakely) and Howard (John Schuck) Shaber are a couple whose relationship has soured. Howard is much too tired to engage in anything with his frustrated wife, preferring the company of his drinking buddies on weekend binges of football. To pass the time away, Leslie goes shopping, and on a weekend day she goes off to local pet store to purchase a flea collar for her big dog.
It turns out that the Casanova pet shop owner, one Harry Thropen (John Saxon, far from his usual fare of film), is also a werewolf in search of a werewife (so that they can live in a “were-house”). Using his powers of hypnotism, Harry seduces poor Leslie, subsequently biting her big toe and thus infecting her with the shape-shifting curse.
The bulk of the movie has Leslie struggling to hide her affliction, which seemingly starts during the day. She grows two pairs of fans (and has a weird dentist try to file them down), sprouts a pair of dog-like ears, and starts to grow fur all over her body. On her trail are Leslie’s teenage daughter Jennifer (Tina Caspary) and her best friend and horror expert (can you say Evil Ed, sans the vampire bit) Stacey Pubah (Diana Barrows). With the help of a ditzy gypsy (Ruth Buzzi, of course), the teenagers attempt to reverse the curse of the werewolf by dispatching the head werewolf (right out of 1987’s The Lost Boys).
Director Michael Fischa does what he can with the script by Mark Pirro, but the film fails both in terms of comedy and horror. The special effects are done on the cheap, with the final werewolf transformation obviously masks. A family film, the movie avoids overt violence, so the movie is relatively bloodless and lacks any tension or action. As for the comedy, the hilarity never rises more than an acknowledged chuckle, as the skits consist of Three Stooges humor, complete with pratfalls, puns, or situational comedy.
The movie does have a solid cast, with all the cast members turning in solid performances. Susan Blakely carries the movie well, with apt support from Schuck and Saxon. Ruth Buzzi turns down the ditsy enough to turn in a fun performance, and Diana Barrows is a standout as a monster maniac who deep down realizes the whole genre is just make-believe. The only weak performance is that of Tina Capsary, who sometimes looks bored during some of the movie’s scenes.
Far too tame as either a horror movie or a modern comedy, My Mom’s a Werewolf is a family film geared toward those who fondly remember the weirdness that was the 1980s. The movie is inoffensive with its humor and there are some fine pokes and compliments to the genre that horror hounds will smile about when they see them. If you have 90 minutes to kill, you may want to give this flick a try.