1) An American Werewolf in London
2) Michael Jackson in Thriller
3) The wolf-man in the Monster Squad
4) Sega’s Altered Beast
5) Meh, what the hell. Teen Wolf
I’m not cultured enough to understand the genius of the original “Wolf Man” or some other such classic horror film (I just haven’t seen them yet). No shame in that. The 80s was full of brightly coloured originality, monsters and demons. Even the Goonies was frightening when I was growing up (not the parts you might think). The 80s was my monster playground.
The great thing about the American werewolf transformation was that it was scary, visceral and available to repeat on VHS over and over again, much like Grace Jones was when she was killing some bloke in Vamp. The advantage of the Altered Beast transformation in this computer game was that you could control the alteration to some degree, at least if you had a few spare coins.
I have no idea where we got the game originally. I think we borrowed it from a friend for a few nights, but it was long enough to see a man in a short cloth eat a load of floating drugs and get fatter until the hairy wolf-ness exploded from his pectoral orifices. A bit like Oliver Reed without the tragedy.
I’m sure this says something about the gender roles we inhabit. In Altered Beast, you seem to be offered the chance to live the bizarre fantasy of toothy, hairy strength simply by collecting orbs that you’ve torn from the hearts of innocent fluffy dogs.
My own copy of Altered Beast is on the Sega Classics collection on the PS3, which also unlocks the arcade original if you bang enough buttons. I recommend playing this version, for obvious reasons, and then turning it off to watch An American Werewolf In London instead. Or The Goonies (just close your eyes when the toilets explode; it’s very scary for a 5 year old.)