Eric Red’s “Bad Moon” is a brutally underrated werewolf movie that, much like “Fright Night,” takes a classic Hitchcock movie and twists it to his own conventions. “Bad Moon” is a take off of “Shadow of a Doubt” where a sister is forced to confront her beloved brother’s evil side and realize that their once picturesque relationship was a complete lie the whole time. “Bad Moon” comes in at a little under eighty minutes, but is a tight and brisk horror thriller that is very well written and directed. Granted it has some of the special effects trappings of the nineties with a somewhat weird werewolf transformation, but at least director Red tries his damndest to show pure evil lurking within the heart of a once good man.
“Bad Moon” stars Mariel Hemingway as a tough as nails lawyer and single mother Janet. She lives alone with her son Brett and his over protective German Shepherd Thor. Thor is an especially close guardian of his two owners who is smarter than an average watch dog and seems to know much more than any dog on planet Earth. After Janet re-connects with her long lost brother Ted, she and her son Brett, along with Thor visit him to learn he’s kind of falling apart and isolated after his travels. Before they reunited, Ted was attacked in Nepal by a vicious monster that wounded him before he murdered it in self defense. After local hikers begin turning up dead, Ted moves in with his sister Janet and soon he begins forming an adversarial relationship with their guard dog Thor.
Despite Ted’s best efforts to remain secretive and cryptic with his sister and nephew, Thor is very suspicious of Ted and begins lurking in his trailer and following him around. This prompts Ted to try and devise a new way to be rid of Thor, before he helps Janet and Brett find out his ultimate secret as a werewolf. Michael Pare is a wonderful villain, who begins the narrative as charming and very well meaning, but begins to sour gradually as he realizes Thor isn’t just a passive family pet. The performances all around are fantastic, especially by dog performer Primo, who plays the protective guardian Thor. Thor is a remarkable guard for his family who looks for ways to warn them, as Ted becomes increasingly dangerous and comes to the realization that the only way he can protect himself is by eliminating Janet and Brett from his life.
Michael Pare does a damn good job as villainous Ted, working hard to convey a sense of rotted humanity within him, doing the work until Red reveals the werewolf in the light, and then the bang up special effects complete the transformation. Considering the budget and period, the special effects and monster of “Bad Moon” still looks incredible in motion and Red’s strong direction matched with the excellent editing offer up a wonderful climax you’ll have a difficult time being sucked in to. It’s a shame “Bad Moon” gets looked over in the annals of great werewolf movies as Eric Red provides a thrilling, exciting, and creepy horror movie soaked in a simple family drama.
The Blu-Ray release from Scream Factory comes with the theatrical edit and director’s cut of “Bad Moon.” The difference is a mere thirty seconds, where there’s slightly more gore and nudity in the prologue, while director Red trims down the digital transformation in the climax. The Director’s Cut comes with an audio commentary with director Eric Red alone, who provides an informative session here. He discusses everything from the screenplay, casting, and effects work, right down to cutting most of the digital transformation. The Theatrical Edit comes with an audio commentary with cast member Michael Pare, director Eric Red and John Fallon of Arrow in the Head.
It’s an okay commentary with Pare and Red being the highlight. Both cuts come with “Nature of the Beast: The Making of ‘Bad Moon’” a thirty five minute informative look at the making of the film, with interviews from the cast and crew, and how Eric Red became involved with the film itself. There’s the unrated opening sequence, clocking in at six minute, which establishes the location and gives Ted’s girlfriend a little more exposition before the sex scene. There’s the Transformation Sequence Storyboards, The Storyboards for the climactic fight between Thor and Werewolf Ted, Storyboards for Ted and Thor staring each other down, and finally the original trailer for “Bad Moon.”