“Today we are concerned with juvenile delinquency – its causes – and its effects. We are especially concerned when this delinquency boils over into our scenes and incidents depicted here are fictional. However, we believe that public awareness is a first step towards a remedy for any problem.”
The previous quote comes from the opening text of 1955’s The Blackboard Jungle. That film features very little in the way of fangs and gore, but it does highlight one of the primary fears of the 1950s: teenagers.
Ho-rrible, ain’t they? The adults of the time thought so. There was a widespread fear of juvenile delinquency, with “experts” claiming that post-WWII children were lazy, spoiled, reckless, disrespectful, violent, and just plain rude. Because of this, teenagers and youth culture were demonized and maligned to an extreme. Horror, being the genre that deals the most with society’s fear and anxiety, took this growing issue to the logical next step and made literal monsters of teenagers.
With the success of I Was a Teenage Werewolf in the summer of 1957, a horde of adolescent abominations invaded cinemas for the next few years. The next two teen terror tales to take the theaters were I Was a Teenage Frankenstein and Blood of Dracula, both films being part of a double feature in the November of 1957. While we couldn’t possibly top the drive-in eXXXperience, we are presenting the gruesome twosome here in this very post!
The monsters in both features are among the very best of ’50s schlock. I Was a Teenage Frankenstein‘s tit-ular ghoul looks very much like an apple sculpture shrunken head, and the teen vampire in Blood of Dracula looks like a creation from Dick Smith’s Do It Yourself Monster Make-Up. Both are utterly fantastic.
While Teenage Frankenstein is the clear winner here, both deliver on the teen thrills and chills. My only complaint with Blood of Dracula is the title. How does the same studio behind the other two I Was a Teenage… miss out on the opportunity to call their vampire film I Was a Teenage Dracula?! Perhaps if they had done that, we’d be listening to Cramps song with that title…