HMM Day 23 – Bad Moon

Werewolves have gone through many transitions through each generation. Probably more alterations and depictions than any monster figure. Vampires change once in a while but have always maintained a more “cool human” kind of appearance and then total terror when the fangs come out like they are seen in The Lost Boys. Frankenstein has always maintained that bulky kind of demeanor as well. But werewolves see constant alterations.

There is the bipedal human and wolf mix we get in 1941’s The Wolf Man. You also have the more wolf kind of monster in American Werewolf in London where it seems to be more wolf than man. Then movies like The Howling and Silver Bullet feature standing wolf like creatures. These happen to be my favorite and also the route Bad Moon seems to take. Oh and then there is Underworld that (in my opinion) look like utter shit! They look like hairless cats that have roasted in the microwave!

I think many werewolf films get bad reviews because it’s so hard to make an appealing monster that actually looks believable. Plus movies like The Howling and American Werewolf in London had such amazing transformation scenes that it’s hard to live up to. The entire movie relies on the appearance and if not done properly then it will crash and burn. Also, most of the stories are the same and have a hard time giving us a moment of creativity. But there are good films and in spite of some bad effects here and there and some subpar acting, there are actually some great movies. One of which is 1996’s Bad Moon.

Bad Moon

Bad Moon is a 1996 horror film directed by Eric Red. Starring Michael Paré, Mason Gamble, Mariel Hemingway and Primo as the most bad ass German Shepherd named Thor. The film is based upon a novel called Thor by Wayne Smith and it received terrible reviews and bombed in theaters. It currently holds a miserable rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

Synopsis

While doing research in the deep wilderness of Nepal a man named Ted is a lone survivor of a brutal attack by a mysterious creature. As Ted returns to his family in North America it soon becomes apparent that Ted has been is bitten by a werewolf. As Ted progresses deeper into the curse he becomes an increasing threat to his sister and her son. The only one aware of the threat is the family dog name Thor! It’s up to Thor to protect his family by any means necessary.

Finding A Place

Bad Moon is one of those lost werewolf films that has just recently climbed its way out of the late 90s pit of despair. From what I can tell, it has gained some more noterietay by the horror community. I first saw this film in 2001 but instantly forgot about it. Listen I was in college at the time and like many things it was lost to the large amount of alcohol I consumed. But it was a couple years later and my rediscovery is the result of a moment when I was pissed off at the lack of werewolf films there were. But I’m glad I rediscovered this movie and I think a huge part of it was at the time of rewatching this film, I was at that time a proud owner of a beautiful German Shepherd named Heidi so anything related a German Shepherd was personal at the time.

The movie isn’t perfect, I am first to admit it. But come on, is there really a perfect movie? Bad Moon is such a different take on an overly done story which in the end makes it appealing. The movies main character is actually a dog! That’s right! The dog! While the movie does try to spotlight Janet and her son Brett, you can’t help but only care for the dog named Thor. Even Ted who is the werewolf, isn’t the main character. Which makes sense. We already know everything we need to know. Some guy is a werewolf, boo hoo! We’ve seen this so many times before. The movie isn’t about the struggle of the curse. It’s about the struggle in protecting the family.

But this time we experience everything through the eyes of our pet and he’s a total hero of a dog. He’s this huge German Shepherd that only wants to love and protect his family. As Ted pushes himself back into this family, Thor is the only one that detects the true menacing danger behind this guy. Kind of like how a dog can sense danger way before we can. What ensues is a raging battle that turns more animalistic than anything. Ted begins displaying behaviors that challenge Thor and it is kind of bonkers. He sinisterly devices a plot to get rid of Thor from the home. Which is confusing because at first you think Ted cares for his family but then he seems to want to kill him. Either way he needs Thor out of the picture. His pull for dominance in the household is displayed when Ted unzips his fly and pisses on the house in way of challenging Thor and claiming the home as his domain. It’s so dumb but still… I can’t help myself loving this movie.

So go ahead and check out Bad Moon. The creature effects are pretty cool and I can’t help myself feeling excited and anxious at certain moments. I love the way the movie gives us the view of the house hold pet. If you’re a dog lover like me then it will bring a smile to your face and if you own a German Shepherd, it will make you feel like you have Chuck Norris as a best friend. Although it is not the most perfect of films. There is one bad transformation scene that is a good example of early computer effects gone bad. But beyond that I think it’s a simple movie that is meant for pure entertainment and one any horror fan can appreciate. Thats why its chosen for day twenty three of Horror Movie Marathon 2019.

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