Werewolves

Bad Moon (1996) - Eric Red

Rating: 63
Tags: Werewolf - Family - Drama - Suspense
Director: Eric Red
Writer: Eric Red
Starring: Michael Paré, Mariel Hemingway, and Mason Gamble
Country: Canada/USA
MPAA Rating: R
Studio: Morgan Creek Productions
Release: November 1st, 1996
Did Ya Know: The movie made many significant changes from the novel, particularly in the make-up of the family, which in the novel consisted of two parents and three children, as well as the dog, who sees the family as his pack, which must be defended at all costs. The dog's perceptions of events are treated in great detail, as is the relationship between him and his human family, and his confusion as to whether the werewolf is a threat to his family that must be eliminated, or a pack member who must be respected. These subtleties mainly did not make it into the film.

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Bad Moon is a Canadian/American horror movie written and directed by filmmaker, Eric Red. The movie was released in theaters on November 1st, 1996, but did terrible at the box office. Instead, VHS fiends might remember seeing this one on the shelves at their local Blockbuster. I am going to be watching an HD stream of this on the Shudder network. This film is based loosely on Thor, a novel by Wayne Smith. In which Thor, the family dog, has his loyalty tested when a visiting family member turns out to be a werewolf. 

Synopsis

Ted is a war veteran that had been bitten by a werewolf while out on assignment deep in the jungle. Now struggling with becoming a werewolf himself. Ted comes to live with his sister, her son, and their suspicious dog, Thor. A place where he must learn to keep the animal urges inside of him under control while trying to avoid the protective family pet. 

Analysis

Bad Moon stars Michael Paré, Mariel Hemingway and Mason Gamble. A pretty below average cast that delivers a good prime-time television-quality experience. Mariel Hemingway is the best of the bunch. Her character has range. She is incredibly strong and makes for a perfect lead. Primo, the dog that played Thor, gave a hell of a performance too. While Thor isn’t the main focus of the picture. We get a lot of perspectives from his angle. He also delivers the final blow.

Michael Paré looked and sounded like a goober for most of the movie. His acting wasn’t a highlight. But, his portrayal of a tortured man is very good. A good classic callback to the old Wolf Man movie.

The practical effects are the best part of the movie. I usually hate werewolves as I find a lot of them look hideous or stupid. But thanks to special effects master, Steve Johnson, the creatures and gore look amazing. Johnson has been in the industry for years, providing effects for movies like Species and Blade 2. I’d say the movie was in good hands. 

There are some action scenes between the werewolf creature and Thor the family dog. These were done really, really well. However, we are not free of CGI. That medium rears its ugly head during the werewolf transformation scene toward the end of the movie. It’s terrible. 

Overall

This movie was very surprising. I didn’t expect it to be so good. I was enthralled by the effects. And impressed with the direction. I am not sure why this movie isn’t more widely discussed. It’s a decent horror film that hits all the right notes. A highlight of a decade that is already notorious for poor quality film.  I recommend this to anyone that likes werewolf movies. It’s full of suspense, horror, and the slightest amount of humor. A good movie for a Halloween marathon.