Tony Rivers (Michael Landon) is a troubled teenager with an extremely short fuse. When Police Detective Donovan (Barney Phillips) is forced to break up another fight between Tony and his friend Jimmy (Tony Marshall), he recommends that Tony go to see psychiatrist Dr. Brandon (Whit Bissell) to help him with his temper. Tony refuses, not wanting to be seen as a ‘flip’. His girlfriend Arlene (Yvonne Lime) tells Tony that she’s worried about him and he simply promises to try and control himself. Even Tony’s father (Malcolm Atterbury) tries to tell Tony that he needs to learn to keep his anger in check. Tony tries to stay calm but when he arrives to pick up Arlene for a Halloween party, he’s sarcastic and disrespectful to Arlene’s father (John Launer). Arlene begs Tony to go see Dr. Brandon but, again, he refuses. At the party there’s a short musical sequence by Tony’s friend Vic (Ken Miller) followed by a series of practical jokes. However, when Vic surprises Tony, Tony viciously attacks him. Finally realizing that he needs help, Tony goes to see Dr. Brandon. Unfortunately, Dr. Brandon would rather use Tony as a guinea pig in his experiments. Dr. Brandon explains to his assistant Dr. Wagner (Joseph Mell) that he plans to regress Tony ‘back into the primitive past that lurks within him’ and ‘unleashed the savage instincts that lie hidden within’. Apparently, his ultimate goal is to save the human race by hurling it back into its ‘primitive dawn’ and start all over again. Using drugs and hypnosis, Dr. Brandon takes Tony back farther and farther in time, trying to get him to remember how wonderful it was when he ‘dug in with his fangs, the soft throat, the gush of warm blood’. A few days later, one of Tony’s friends (Michael Rougas) is killed while walking home through the woods by what appears to be a wild animal. When Pepe (Vladimir Sokoloff), the janitor at the police station, tries to tell Officer Chris Stanley (Guy Williams) that the boy was killed by a werewolf, Officer Stanley thinks Pepe is crazy and warns him not to say anything to anyone else. Meanwhile, disturbed by the death, Tony turns to Dr. Brandon for help but Dr. Brandon is too overjoyed at his success with Tony to listen. Later, at school, Tony’s behavior has improved so much that the principal (Louise Lewis) offers to recommend him to the state college. Unfortunately, after leaving the principal’s office, Tony stops to watch his friend Theresa (Dawn Richard) practicing her gymnastics and when he’s startled by the school bell, he transforms into a werewolf and kills Theresa. Worse still, Theresa’s screams attract attention and everyone recognizes Tony as the killer despite his wolf-like appearance. When Detective Sergeant Donovan questions Dr. Brandon, he denies any knowledge of Tony’s strange transformation. Meanwhile, the media interview Tony’s father as well as Arlene and her parents. In the woods, the police search for Tony but they give up when night falls, posting guards to keep Tony from escaping. In the morning, Tony has reverted to his human form and is able to slip past the guards. He goes to Dr. Brandon for help but all Dr. Brandon wants to do is trigger the transformation again so he can capture it on film. He succeeds but is unprepared for Tony’s ferociousness. Tony smashes the camera and kills Dr. Wagner then turns on Dr. Brandon. Dr. Brandon tries to reason with Tony but Tony is too far gone to listen and kills Dr. Brandon. Seconds later, Detective Donovan and Officer Stanley arrive and are forced to kill Tony, causing him to revert to his human form as he dies.
Type of mind control:Hypnosis
Mind control scenes:
There is only one scene that takes place over several sessions showing Dr. Brandon using hypnosis to regress Tony. Only the beginning shows any kind of induction.
2 out of 5
Even though the hypnosis is central to the storyline of this movie, they certainly don't spend a lot of time on it. It would have been far more interesting and realistic to spread the hypnosis throughout the movie and show Tony gradually regressing. Instead, the doctor regresses Tony into his 'primal past' in a single scene that only lasts a few minutes. Of course, being from the 1950s, the movie is only 75 minutes long so they probably didn't want to waste too much time on the cause and wanted to get straight to the effect, Michael Landon's transformation into the werewolf. That scene is a classic. This whole movie is an excellent example of the B movie genre of the 1950s but as a mind control movie, it's probably worth a miss.