A few months after being attacked by a werewolf, a man visits his sister while hiding what he’s become although the family dog is suspicious of him and will protect his family at any cost.
Judging a Book by its Cover
– It’s a minimalist-type of poster, the bottom half is pretty dark and empty, but I like it. The clouds around the moon shape the werewolf and of course there’s the teeth to hammer home what we’re looking at.
-That’s a lazy tag line though.
Directed by Eric Red
Starring Mariel Hemingway, Michael Paré and Primo as Thor
Half man. Half wolf. Total terror.
In the jungles of some far off country, photojournalist Ted Harrison (Paré) and his girlfriend are putting away their equipment when the mood strikes them to get hot and sweaty in their tent. The encampment is suddenly attacked by a hairy creature which tears into the tent…and into Ted’s poor girlfriend. The creature slashes at Ted who blows the creature’s head off with a shotgun. Cue the opening credits!
Fast forward a few months and Janet has a bad run in with a shyster salesman who almost gets his neck torn out by Janet’s dog, Thor, an overprotective 100+ lbs. German shepherd. After laying a lawyer’s version of a smackdown on the loser, Janet gets a call from her brother, Ted, the guy who survived the opening attack. After a brief reunion, Ted accepts Janet’s offer to stay with her just which is great timing as torn up bodies are discovered in the woods near Ted’s camper.
Thor is immediately suspicious of Ted upon his arrival and follows him everywhere he goes. Thor eventually discovers Ted’s hairy curse and goes into protective mode whenever Ted is around the family. Janet can’t understand why Thor acts as he does around Ted but she also notices Ted’s odd behaviour. Unfortunately her sneaking around raises the hair on Ted’s back something fierce, fearing he can’t trust his own family, he might as well eat them, right?
Bad Moon seems to want to separate itself from other werewolf movies by basically ignoring most of the rules that were
made up established in 1941’s The Wolfman. Obviously getting attacked by a werewolf turns the victim into one though the creature is no longer a magical being that can only be killed by silver bullets — regular ones work just as well as we see in the opening. Another noticeable change to the lore is that Ted changes during any moon, not just full moons (although there are many full moons featured in the film and hey, even on the box art!) So I guess the main thing is that poor Ted changes every damn night so the danger of attack is ever present.
I never watched the film when it was first released back in 1996, so I can’t speak on how I felt the effects were back in the day, but they’re a mixed bag now. The gore effects are vicious and great looking, the werewolf itself not so much. The camera focuses a lot of the face with lots of snarling animatronics but there are many full body shots of the creature and to me it doesn’t look that great as a whole.
Bad Moon doesn’t position itself as a classic in the same sense as The Wolfman, but twenty years later it’s still watchable if just for the nice blood effects and the dog vs. werewolf fight which is a howl of a watch.
Story: 6 – A man exhausted from looking for a cure to his werewolf problem turns to his family for help although the family dog is very suspicious of him.
Blood: 7 – They’re spaced out but the gore effects are mostly great from beginning to end.
Boobs: 6 – Very nice of Johana Marlowe for going topless for us, too bad she gets it bad in the end.
Overall: 6 – The story might have a few plot holes and the werewolf might look silly under that bright full moon light but Bad Moon is ultimately well worth a watch.
-A few seconds of gore in the opening were cut to secure an R-rating for theatrical release.
-Primo the dog went on to do such films as National Lampoon’s Thanksgiving Family Reunion and Karate Dog.