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Teen Wolf — A Physical Media Release with Bite

Feature Presentations: Episode 8

Welcome to my column dedicated to the appreciation of physical media supplements: Feature Presentations. The goal of this column is not to say whether a film is good or bad and worth picking up or not—I would like to highlight the discs that go the extra mile and provide film fans with enough tasty tidbits to satisfy even the hungriest of cinephiles. With all that out of the way, today’s article will focus on Scream Factory’s Collector’s Edition release of Teen Wolf.

Scott looking into a mirror and seeing fangs.

On my last edition of Feature Presentations, I made no promises that I would pull myself away from Arrow Video’s discs. As I began to scour my physical media collection for the next film to check out, I forgot I had a pile of new discs that I had yet to add to my collection shelves. I sorted through eleven different discs before I saw Teen Wolf, and like that, I knew this would be the next movie for Feature Presentations. Not only because Shout Factory did release the film as part of their Collector’s Edition series, through the subsidiary Scream Factory, but because I hadn’t seen the film in a handful of years.

I grew up as a child of the ’80s. A lot of what made me the person I am trickles back down to the pop culture of this decade. From Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone at their peak to The Real Ghostbusters on the small screen, the 1980s, for me, holds a lot of innocence within the pop culture zeitgeist. The cynicism found in today’s films and TV wasn’t as apparent back in the day. Entertainment was just that. Arnold and his compatriot Sylvester Stallone destroyed all comers in cinemas because it was entertaining. Films were there to escape reality, not to remind you what awaits outside the movie theater. I knew I could wake up every Saturday morning and have another adventure of the Ghostbusters awaiting me. Thirty minutes of busting ghosts and having a good time doing it—nothing more was needed. Maybe it’s my memories reminiscing about the good times and keeping the darker and more grievous elements locked away—it appears that pop culture back in the day wanted to have fun and leave the solemn moments at the door.

Back to the topic at hand, Scream Factory’s bonus features release looks minuscule on the surface. Listing a trailer, stills gallery, and a documentary, one might assume that Scream Factory was slacking on the Teen Wolf release. Instead, this Collector’s Edition goes for quality over quantity.

As mentioned, there is a stills gallery showcasing images from the film along with behind-the-scenes shots. Having the trailer on a disc is always welcome, even though trailers are readily available on YouTube. It’s welcome because it completes the physical media package. Including small things such as the trailer and stills gallery shows that the distributor cares enough to give you supplemental material that doesn’t seem essential to the casual viewer. Scream Factory also includes a slipcover and reversible artwork for those who enjoy such things. I am one of those and I like to have the original artwork on the case, as the newly commissioned artwork adorns the slipcase.

Scott and Boob talking, Boof holds up a Teen Wolf shirt.

Now, the real meat and potatoes lie within the 143-minute documentary, “Never. Say. Die.” Yes, you read that right: a 143-minute documentary. Even the most ardent supporters of Teen Wolf would probably admit that they wouldn’t expect a documentary of this magnitude. Not because Teen Wolf doesn’t deserve it, but there are other, more significant movies out there. Thankfully, Scream Factory doesn’t think that way and crafted something special for fans of this film.

I love a good making-of documentary, and “Never. Say. Die.” is one of those. “Never. Say. Die.” is broken up into multiple chapters, each covering a different aspect of the film’s production. A handful of cast and crew members come aboard to guide the viewer from pre-production to post. Leading the viewer through the filmmaking process are the writers Jeph Loeb and Matthew Weisman. From beginning to end, these two are the guiding forces propelling the documentary forward.

Maybe it’s because I am a struggling screenwriter, but the comments and anecdotes divulged by the writers were my favorite moments of “Never. Say. Die.” Jeph Loeb especially has an entertaining way of dictating his history with the film. Hearing behind-the-scenes anecdotes and understanding the struggle of getting a script off the ground; spoke to me and kept my ears perked up over the 143-minute runtime. Most of what he and Weisman described was something I could relate to, and it was a blast hearing two established writers regale on a silly movie with an even sillier title.

Those who aren’t as interested in the writing process will find enjoyment through other avenues of the documentary. What would a feature-length film production documentary be without comments from the cast? Scream Factory was able to get Susan Ursitti, Jerry Levine, Jim McKrell, and others to discuss their time on set and life after Teen Wolf. The actors talk about their time on set and mix anecdotes with warm embraces about the production. Like a reunion with friends you haven’t seen in decades, the actors talk positively about their time with each other.

Harold Howard as a wolf.

My two favorite characters from the film come from James Hampton, who played Michael J. Fox’s father, Harold, and Jay Tarses, as Coach Bobby Finstock. Neither of the actors appears in the documentary, which is a shame but not unexpected either. Those who appear on “Never. Say. Die.” provide enough anecdotes to cover their absence.

Another absent contributor comes from director Rod Daniel. Daniel passed away in 2016 before the documentary had begun production. Thankfully, Scream Factory included video clips of him at a screening of Teen Wolf. Daniel discusses his time on set, thoughts on Teen Wolf, and the reception of the film. These clips are a welcome addition to “Never. Say. Die.” and allow the audience a chance to hear the thoughts from the man himself.

The other notable absence comes from the star of the film. I will not assume, nor is there any reason given, to explain why Michael J. Fox does not appear in the documentary. There are more pressing issues in his life, and “Never. Say. Die.” soldiers forth. Everyone in the documentary speaks highly of Michael J. Fox, and the amount of contributors covers everything you would want to know about his performance in Teen Wolf.

There you have it! Scream Factory took the smart approach by focusing on the quality of their extras over puff pieces or EPK fluff. I’m never one to say a release is perfect—this could have the deleted TV scenes or the commentary Rod Daniel recorded and released on his website. We don’t, though. What we do have is an exhaustive documentary with many cast and crew members that tells you all you could want to know and more about Teen Wolf. As long as Scream Factory sticks with providing quality features for their releases, everything else will be cream cheese.

Scott, as the wolf, with Pamela by his side, bites into a can of beer.

Written by Robert Chipman

Robert is a lifelong cinephile and has had an admiration with film for as long as he can remember. When he's not checking out the most recent theatrical release, viewing a movie on one of a 1,000,000,000 streaming services or picking up the latest physical media disc, he's trying and failing to make it in Hollywood as a screenwriter. He also has a weird fascination with Stephen Dorff. Make of that what you will. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

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