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John’s Horror Corner: Bad Moon (1996), a werewolf movie featuring one of the better man-in-a-suit werewolf monsters and some pleasantly surprising gore.

October 6, 2021

MY CALL:  If you had a made for TV werewolf movie (like rated PG), then added some brutal attack/death scenes, great gore and monster effects, and a curiously long, rather graphic and very out of place sex scene, this is what you’d end up with. But guess what? Those creature effects and gore and attacks… they were pretty awesome! So I’ll give this a soft recommendation for werewolf movie fans.

MORE WEREWOLF MOVIES: The best werewolf movies would have to be An American Werewolf in London (1981; semi-humorous), Silver Bullet (1985), Ginger Snaps (2000; metaphoric), Dog Soldiers (2002; unconventional) and The Howling (1981; serious). 
If you want another utterly ridiculous werewolf movie, then move on to Howling II: Your Sister is a Werewolf (1985), Howling 3: The Marsupials (1987) and Wolfcop (2014). 
And for more stylish werewolf movies The Company of Wolves (1984), Meridian (1990), Cursed (2005; cliché-loaded and contemporary), Ginger Snaps 2: Unleashed (2004), Wolf (1994), Wer (2013), The Wolfman (2010),  An American Werewolf in Paris (1997), Late Phases (2014), Howl (2015), Raw (2016), Good Manners (2017; aka, As Boas Maneiras) and the Underworld movies (2003, 2006, 2009, 2012) are also worth a watch.
We could consider that Waxwork (1988), Trick ‘r Treat (2007), Van Helsing (2004), Monster Squad (1987) and many others also feature werewolves, but not to such centerpiece extent that I’d call them “werewolf movies.”

Bad Moon opens with the kind of jungle sets and film quality you’d expect from a TV movie (or an adult movie)… ah, the video era, right? Speaking of adult movies, there’s a really, really long sex scene and I’m beginning to wonder just how serious of a movie this is until that poor naked woman is torn from her tent by a hulking werewolf and lacerated to bloody scraps on-screen. So, perhaps I misjudged this movie.

The bloody attack isn’t at all brief, boasts a lot of good latex wound work, and culminates in the beast having its head explode (again, all on-screen) from a gunshot. In a span of 4 minutes I went from dreading watching the rest of this probably softcore adult movie, to thinking it’s already awesome!

After the brutal loss of his girlfriend, Ted (Michael Paré; 100 Feet) was wounded by the wolf-like creature before dispatching the monster into a chunky mess. So now infected with lycanthropy, Ted stays with his sister Janet (Mariel Hemingway; Superman IV) out in the woods to lay low as the dead bodies of hikers pile up in the surrounding forest.

Unlike most werewolf movies, we know right away who the werewolf is, and little is left to subtlety. Ted’s camper has a microscope, vials of dark red fluids and occult trinkets beside a book entitled “Werewolf Lore.” Yup, the filmmakers were indeed that worried the audience wouldn’t be able to keep up. Were it not for the graphic, visceral gore and the extremely out of place, lengthy and graphic sex scene, you’d almost mistake this for a kids’ horror movie.

The werewolf special effects is a man in a suit with an animatronic head, and it looks pretty darn good! For whatever reason, it sounds like a creature from Jurassic Park (1993).

Not unlike Skinwalkers (2006), this has the look, feel, photography and scoring of a made-for-TV werewolf movie for the Hallmark Channel. But unlike Skinwalkers (2006), this had many redeeming scenes and I actually enjoyed this. Much of the photography seems amateur, but the gore and horror shots deliver every bit of entertainment we were looking for. Director Eric Red (100 Feet, Body Parts) did well by us.

The gore action isn’t super abundant, but when it’s there, it’s there! Mostly severed fingers dangle by fleshy strips from their hands, throats slash and spew blood, and flesh readily parts from its owner. And again, this werewolf monster suit looks great. After countless CGI werewolves, some better than others, it’s nice to see an old school tangible monster in the frame.

Other than the TV-ness, the major weakness of this movie is the transformation scene. It’s all cheap CGI (maybe the only CGI of the movie) and so bad they shouldn’t have even tried. This is perhaps the most woefully bad transformation scene I’ve endured. But for all the other perks of this movie, I completely forgive this misstep.

Far from great, but definitely satisfying to this old school werewolf movie fan, I enjoyed this as a light work-night viewing.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. October 6, 2021 8:53 pm

    I love Bad Moon, it’s a great monster flick where the protagonist of the pet dog. Thor is the reason why I got my first German Shepherd.

    • rdfranciswriter permalink
      October 7, 2021 5:26 pm

      Same here. This is probably the last theatrical release of Pare’s until he transitioned into direct-to-video releases. By then he was doing things like Moon 44 (I enjoyed it), which were overseas theatricals but dumped to UHF-TV in the States. This, because of Pare, is usually scoffed at, but I think he’s just dandy, here.

      • John Leavengood permalink
        October 8, 2021 3:27 pm

        Oh, yeah. Pare did just fine. Well even.

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