Credit: YouTube screenshot

YORK, Maine — “I was a Teenage Wereskunk.” York native Neal McLaughlin hopes that when people hear the title of his first film, they will understand immediately what it’s all about. Campy. Slapstick. Goofy. A little raunchy. A comedic take of a 1950s monster movie.

“Think of the old Bat Man TV show — you know, ‘Golly gee.’ ‘Gee whiz.’ At least every 30 seconds, there’s a stab at humor. I think it’s a tough sell when you tell people about it. It doesn’t leap up like something you’d want to see,” he said. “But once you see it, you love it.”

McLaughlin has lived in Los Angeles for the past decade, but is coming home to the Seacoast next week, in preparation for the second screening of the movie at the Cinemagic Theater on Lafayette Road in Portsmouth on June 13. The first screening was in LA, where he was able to fill a 400-seat theater.

“People didn’t expect much from it, but it ended up being like a rock show,” he said. “It was a party atmosphere, a lot of cheering and laughing. People wanted to stay.”

It is perhaps not surprising that McLaughlin, 39, finds himself making a campy spoof of the monster movie. Growing up in York, he said, he was one of those kids who from a very early age just loved to be creeped out.

“I’ve always loved horror films. I would sneak downstairs after my parents went to bed, and watch ‘The Nightmare on Elm Street’ with the volume low,” he said. “I can’t get enough of it. Horror films are a lot of fun. I like the atmosphere and tone. Even as a little kid, I liked ‘Scooby Doo’ with all those monsters and ghosts.”

He said he also has an “affinity” for the 1950s — “the post-Elvis, pre-Kennedy assassination era, that kind of ‘Happy Days’ era,” he said, referring to the popular television show set in that time period.

“I think it’s probably because it had an innocence. These days, we see a lot of war, and corrupt businesses and crappy politicians. There’s so much bad in the world,” he said. “Then you take a look at ‘Leave it to Beaver’ and you just feel good about it. There are no terrorist attacks or Donald Trumps in the ‘Andy Griffith Show.’”

He combined these two loves when making “I was a Teenage Wereskunk,” which he said is “relentlessly committed to what it is. It’s very much set in a period. It’s an homage as much as it’s a parody.”

McLaughlin is these days a confirmed resident of LA. Inspired as a teenager by the film “Clerks,” a movie made for $30,000 that became a cult classic, he quickly realized he didn’t have the knowledge or wherewithal to make his own film back then.

Throughout his 20s, he was singer/songwriter in the York area, where he played at places like Ruby’s and Lobster in the Rough.

“In my late 20s, I realized I was not going to be Bruce Springsteen,” he said. “There’s not a lot of opportunity in York. All my friends were settling down and getting married and all I wanted to do was party and be creative.”

In LA, “I was immediately bit by the movie bug again. Everyone here is in the movie business, all wanna be actors and actresses and directors. It sparked that feeling again. I wasn’t actually bit by a bug, I was attacked by a swarm,” he laughed.

Working as a manager of a coffee shop, writing screenplays on the side, he started making contacts, which was not hard as everyone in LA is trying to get a foothold in “the industry.” He had some modest success, “but when you’re working in a coffee shop and struggling to succeed in a very vicious, highly competitive industry, I said at one point, ‘Alright. This isn’t working. Screw it. Take the reins and do something yourself.’ It was almost like a last hurrah,” he said.

The film follows the life of a “60s era” teenager named Curtis. “One night, while peeping on a neighbor as she undresses for bed, he gets sprayed in the face by an enchanted skunk.” From then on, whenever Curtis feels amorous, he turns into a “murderous wereskunk. This is bad. Curtis is 17. The slightest hint of cleavage is enough to make him horny.”

And on it goes from there.

Nearly everyone on the film worked for free, “because everyone is trying to build up their resumes.” The early 60s feel to the movie is due to a young woman who went searching in thrift shops for period pieces, “then when we were done with them, she’d return them and get some more. She was amazing. She’s definitely the film’s MVP,” McLaughlin said.

It took more than two years to produce “I was a Teenage Wereskunk,” for a total budget of $35,000. One of the reasons he’s coming home is because of the number of people from York who helped him during a fundraiser.

“A lot of people donated, a lot were people I went to high school with,” he said. “I’m Facebook friends with half of my graduating class, and when I started the Kickstarter campaign, I said, ‘Hey, five bucks, 10 bucks would be appreciated.’ People I hadn’t spoken to in 20 years were donating $20 and $50. So I wanted to bring this back home and give them an opportunity to see it.”

Tickets for “I was a Teenage Wereskunk” can’t be purchased at Cinemagic. For tickets and information about the film, visit www.teenagewereskunk.com.