From 1953 to 1969, author Don Glut (best known for the novelization of THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK and a bunch of Gold Key comic books in the Seventies, like Dr. Spektor and Dagar) made amateur monster movies with his family’s 16mm movie camera. Of course, lots of kids made home movies, but what made Glut’s different was that his efforts were frequently written up in issues of Famous Monsters of Filmland magazine, and later publications like Filmfax, Fangoria and Starlog (where I read about them years ago). The other thing that made Glut’s films different was that he preserved and kept them into adulthood.
I WAS A TEENAGE MOVIE MAKER (2006) is a documentary of Glut’s amateur filmmaking "career," covering all 41 home, student and short films that he made during that above-mentioned 16-year span. From his earliest efforts attempting to remake and sequelize classic Universal "Frankenstein" and "Dracula" films to his later efforts as a film student using actual costumes and props from classic science fiction films and serials (courtesy of his friendship with superfan Bob Burns) Glut covers each short film in detail and shares many entertaining anecdotes about their making. Interspersed throughout the documentary are comments from Randal Kleiser (director of GREASE and Glut’s college roommate), Bob Burns, Famous Monsters editor Forrest J. Ackerman, Jim Harmon and even Glut’s mom!
The 2-disce special edition also includes all 41 of the films discussed in the documentary, each accompanied by an audio commentary by Glut. There are also a few behind-the-scenes bits, outtakes, and still galleries.
Cinema Epoch’s DVD is full-frame and quite nice. The short films understandably vary in picture quality due to their age and amateur production. The packaging is slick, and the material is fascinating. As a kid, I always wanted to make movies like these and never quite made it happen. It’s a lot of fun to watch these now and admire the drive, talent and sheer strength of will that teenage Glut and his friends demonstrated ion the making of these ambitious motion pictures.
I loved I WAS A TEENAGE MOVIE MAKER, and it’s highly recommended.
BUY: I Was A Teenage Moviemaker - Don Glut's Amateur Movies (2-Disc Special Edition)