I remember always thinking that Bad Moon was going to be a terrible, low-quality rip-off of other better werewolf movies. Because of that thinking, I never got around to watching it. That all changed when Scream Factory announced the release of Bad Moon on Blu-ray. Now that I’ve seen it, I like to apologize to Bad Moon and Director Eric Red (Body Parts) for not giving the movie a chance. Bad Moon isn’t a low-quality ripoff, but in fact, a damn impressive werewolf flick that stacks up nicely with other great classics like An American Werewolf in London and The Howling. Also impressive is the Blu-ray from Scream Factory, but I’m getting ahead of myself here. Let’s first check out why the movie is so much fun…
RUN-TIME: 79 min
ASPECT RATIO: 2.40:1
AUDIO: English 5.1 DTS-HD MA, English 2.0 DTS-HD MA
PRODUCTION DATE: 1996
RELEASE DATE: July 19, 2016
Full, crescent, quarter… each is a Bad Moon for Ted Harrison. By day, he’s a photojournalist visiting family in the Pacific Northwest. By night, he transfigures into a horrific half-human – a werewolf. Dead men tell no tales, so Ted’s sure he alone knows about his vile double life. The secret, however, may be out. The family dog Thor, devoted to defending the household, has his suspicions.
Writer/director Eric Red (Cohen and Tate, Body Parts) delivers a new infusion of thrills with this red blooded shocker. Michael Paré (Streets of Fire) portrays Ted, hiding his accursed condition from his sister (Mariel Hemmingway, Lipstick, Star 80) and nephew (Mason Gamble). What better way to hide it than to create suspicion that the local killings are the work of another – especially if that other is the family’s all-too-wise German Shepherd!
During some inappropriately timed jungle sex with his hot girlfriend Marjorie (Johanna Marlowe), Ted (Michael Paré) is attacked by a werewolf and injured. He manages to kill the werewolf, but not before Marjorie is brutally slain. We jump ahead a bit and meet up with Janet (Mariel Hemingway), her son Brett (Mason Gamble) and their awesome dog Thor (Primo). Janet is actually the sister of Ted and when she gets word of him having arrived in town, she allows him to stay at their place. Little does she know that he is a full blown werewolf, struggling to keep the beast contained. Ted hopes that staying with his family will lift the werewolf curse, but this movie wouldn’t be called Bad Moon if that worked.
As the nights go on and the werewolf shenanigans take place, Ted’s former self is slowly being taken over by the beast. The only one who knows something strange is going on is Thor. Thor senses the werewolf inside Ted right away and does everything he can to protect his family. Even if it means getting sent off to the pound for being wrongly convicted of a brutal murder by the hands of the wolf.
Bad Moon wastes no time in getting to the good stuff, with the opening scene being brutal and bloody. We know right away who the werewolf is, which allows us the viewer some insider knowledge that only the dog is aware of. Bad Moon was originally based on a book titled Thor, written by Wayne Smith, which took place entirely through the dog’s perspective. Obviously, the movie wouldn’t have worked that way, but I feel that Director Eric Red did a fantastic job adapting it for the big screen.
Yes, Bad Moon did actually go to theatres for a limited run back in 1996. Marketing was pretty much nonexistent and the film was dumped in theatres right after Halloween (the holiday, not the movie). It wasn’t until it started making its run on TV, in a cut version, of course, that people started noticing it. Eventually, Bad Moon became a cult classic and now Eric Red has the chance to provide us with a Director’s Cut version on Blu-ray. The Director’s Cut isn’t much different from the Theatrical Cut. The only difference is the heavily reduced scene involving Michael Paré’s transformation into the werewolf. In the Theatrical, it’s about 40 seconds of laughable visual effects that fail completely. The Director’s Cut reduces it down to a few seconds and it works much better.
There are only a couple things that bothered me with Bad Moon. First, there is no explanation given to the werewolf that originally attacked Ted and his girlfriend. It would have been nice to know a bit more about how this creature ended up in some jungle. Also, the acting from both Michael Paré and Mariel Hemingway is a bit on the sketchy side at first. Eventually, things do get better.
Major props go to Steve Johnson and his special effects crew on the look of the werewolf. It’s rare that we see a creature fully lit up and still look amazingly real, but Johnson and crew did an amazing job.
Bad Moon doesn’t deserve the bad reviews. It’s an effective slow burn werewolf/dog flick that is brutal, sad and fun all wrapped up in a furry little package.
Bad Moon is looking the best it’s ever looked on any format. The 2K transfer was overseen by Eric Red, so you know the version you’re getting is the way it was meant to look. The transfer features sharp video, intact grain and audio served up in two flavours: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 and DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 . Both audio options are wonderfully loud and clear.
The special features on Bad Moon are also a delight. You have a 35-minute Making Of that features interviews with Director Eric Red, Actor Michael Paré, Special Effects Steve Johnson, Stunt man Ken Kirzinger and Actor Mason Gamble. It’s an interesting feature that goes into detail about the book, the different animals used in the movie and the effects on the werewolf. There is also a new commentary recorded by Eric Red for the Director’s Cut. It’s a very technical type commentary, going into the shooting technique behind each scene. It’s a damn informative listen. Not mentioned on the back of the Blu is a commentary with Eric Red, Michael Paré and John Fallon (Arrow in the Head) for the Theatrical Cut. Finally, we have a trailer, the unrated opening in standard definition (yay, more boobies!) and storyboards on the transformation scene, the dog attack and Thor/Michael Paré stare down.
A worthy feature list if you ask me.
- High-definition Theatrical Cut Of The Film Plus A NEW Director’s Version Supervised And Approved By Eric Red
- NEW Nature of the Beast: Making Bad Moon Featuring Interviews With Writer/Director Eric Red, Actors Michael Paré And Mason Gamble, Special Effects Make-up Artist Steve Johnson And Stunt Coordinator Ken Kirzinger
- NEW Audio Commentary With Writer/Director Eric Red (Director’s Version Only)
- Audio Commentary With Writer/Director Eric Red And Actor Michael Paré (Theatrical Cut)
- Unrated Opening Scene From The Director’s First Cut (Sourced from VHS)
- 3 Storyboard Sequences
- Original Theatrical Trailer
Bad Moon is a worthwhile purchase, with solid video and special features on the Scream Factory Blu-ray. Add on the fact that it’s also a really damn good werewolf flick, makes this one a no-brainer pickup.