HTS Moderator , Reviewer
Title: Bad Moon
HTS Overall Score:78
The werewolf genre is one of my personal favorite horror subgenres and one that has been abused and beaten to death with horrible iterations (ala “Twilight” etc) to the point where it’s almost not a viable franchise anymore. Eric Red’s “Bad Moon” was made in the late 90’s when much of the werewolf craze from the 80s had died off, but was actually one of the most overlooked and underrated wolf films of the last 10 years or so. Shot on a shoestring budget and using some great practical effects, Red was able to craft a creepy and slow building werewolf film that has you on the edge of your seat and grinning from ear to ear. That’s not to say there isn’t a few flaws in the 80 minute film, but it’s a great piece of horror entertainment and with Eric Red creating a small director’s cut for the new disc makes it all the sweeter.
The film opens up with photojournalist Ted Harrison (Michael Pare) and his girlfriend wrapping up a shoot about natives in Borneo. What seems like a celebration (with one of the most hysterical sex scenes in history in context) turns out to be a nightmare as Ted’s girlfriend is chomped on by a ravaging wolf beast. Ted does end up killing it, but not before he’s left a huge wound on his left shoulder by the beast. I don’t think I’m spoiling anything when I say that it’s blatantly obvious Ted is going to be the next werewolf. Fast forward a few months later and Ted is living out in the wilds in his camper trailer. His life has taken a turn for the worst with the wolf side of him slowly taking over his mind and body. After a series of murders near him (hint hint, we kind of know who is the culprit), Ted decides to call up his sister Janet (Mariel Hemingway) and see if he can stay with her a few weeks to regain some sense of normalcy in his life.
Janet and her son, Brett (Mason Gamble) have no idea about what lurks behind their relative’s sweet demeanor, with the only one cognizant of the inhuman change is their German Shephard, Thor. What seems like an innocent stay turns deadly as Ted desperately tries to hide his transformation by chaining himself up in the woods at night, but failing miserably when Thor keeps hounding his every move. After the death of a scum bag trying to do the family harm, Janet starts to realize that the mysterious side of Ted that she was ignoring just may be much more serious than she had previously imagined.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=75081[/img]“Bad Moon” is a great piece of escapist horror entertainment that feels out of place in the 1990s. A much better film than it ever had a right to be, it works much more in congruence with the feeling tone of the 80’s werewolf slashers vs. the much worse cousins that came to be in the 90s (I’m looking at you “An American Werewolf in Paris”). The problems with the film seem to stem mostly from the shortened time frame than any acting faux pas. Michael Pare does an excellent job at portraying a man who is struggling with the person he once was, and the monster that he is becoming. You get to watch the transformation to his character happen slowly and precisely, as the wolf takes over more and more of his psyche every time he shifts back and forth. However there is just not enough time to really delve into this conundrum, and the film’s rousing finale feels just a bit under.
The other factor that holds the film back is that the movie really focuses more on Janet and Brett (any by association the adorable Thor) rather than Ted and his transformation. It seems like we’re meant to empathize with Ted and his plight, but the majority of the focus is on Janet and her view of the goings on. Still it’s not a huge faux pas, as Janet makes a likeable enough heroine and Thor, as the ever vigilante guard dog, steals the show in every scene that he appears in. There’s some cheesy 90s dialog and the ending is not AS climactic as I would have liked, but this is all just minor imperfections as the actual flow and feel of the movie is quite a blast. The new director’s cut shifts a few minor scenes around and flows mildly better, but the opening scene (sourced from a VHS) adds a different take to the whole opening act and makes it my preferred cut.
Rated R for horror violence and gore, brief language and a scene of sexuality
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=75089[/img]“Bad Moon” looks like it has had a fairly recent remastering, as the disc looks free from debris and speckles that plagued the old DVD. Colors are vibrant and deeply saturated, especially the woodland greens that dot the landscape. Blood and gore pops quite nicely and the practical effects still look quite good to this day. I noticed something weird in the framing though, almost like there was some vertical stretching in a few scenes. They weren’t all the time but I would notice scene cuts where people definitely looked a little “taller” than they should have. There is some horizontal stretching when you look through an animals eyes in the film, but that is stylistically chose as that ONLY appears when you’re looking through the werewolf’s or Thor’s eyes. Black levels are strong and show nice detail, but there is some mild softness to the picture that keeps it from reference quality. Still it’s a great looking transfer on both the theatrical and the newly minted director’s cut, making it a solid step above the rest in terms of picture quality.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=75097[/img]Both versions of the film come with a 5.1 DTS-HD MA track as well as a DTS-HD MA 2.0 track as well, with the obvious points going towards the 5.1 track for good reason. The movie is a mood based film, and as such there is quite a bit of ambient mood music to amp the listener up for all of the more intense scenes. LFE is tight and powerful, with deep waves of bass pulsing throughout the whole film. Surrounds get quite a bit of activity when the wolf attacks, and then it will fade into the score which will use a bulk of the back channels. Dialog is strong and clean, with a good balanced struck between the ominous score and the vocals. It’s a very solid track that has a lot going for it, it just isn’t a wild blockbuster track that’s all.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=75105[/img]• Director's version supervised and approved by Eric Red.
• Nature of the Beast: Making Bad Moon featuring interviews with writer/director Eric Red, actors Michael Pare and Mason Gamble, Special Effects Make-up artist Steve Johnson and stunt coordinator Ken Kirzinger
• Audio Commentary with writer/director Eric Red (Director's Cut)
• Audio Commentary with writer/director Eric Red and actor Michael Pare (Theatrical Cut)
• Unrated opening scene from the Director's first cut
• 3 Storyboard sequences
• Original Theatrical Trailer
“Bad Moon” is one of the most overlooked of the werewolf films, really belong more in the 1980’s rather than the late 90’s when it WAS filmed. Creepy and a total mood film that builds up to a thrilling climax, “Bad Moon” is just plain FUN in a genre that has pretty much been worn out by this day and age. It isn’t the single greatest werewolf movie of all time, but it is an impressive entry and one I had almost forgotten about until I saw the press release. Audio and video are better than usual, as newer master has been struck for the film and the inclusion of the new Director’s cut is a large appeal of Scream’s new disc (although there really isn’t THAT much different in my opinion). Definitely one I would check out if you love a good werewolf film.
Starring: Mariel Hemingway, Michael Pare, Mason Gamble
Directed by: Eric Red
Written by: Wayne Smith (Story), Eric Red (Screenplay)
Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1 AVC
Audio: English: DTS-HD MA 5.1, DTS-HD MA 2.0
Studio: Scream Factory
Runtime: 80 Minutes
Blu-ray Release Date: July 19th, 2016
Buy Bad Moon On Blu-ray at Amazon
Recommendation: Good Watch
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