Exploitation Retrospect | The Journal of Junk Culture and Fringe Media
Bad Moon (1996)
Warner Home Video | Review by Dan Taylor

Bad Moon starring Mariel Hemingway and Michael PareThere's an old showbiz adage about never working with children or animals. Mariel Hemingway and Michael Pare must have an inordinate amount of confidence in their acting abilities to undertake not one, but both of those tasks in Eric Red's BAD MOON.

Exploitation afficianados out there might remember Red as screenwriter of such grade-A fare as THE HITCHER and NEAR DARK. Unfortunately, others out there might remember him for the uninspired screenwriting/directing effort COHEN & TATE (ER24), a dull, one-star effort about bickering hitmen that starred Adam Baldwin and Roy Scheider. Things are looking up once the credits roll and I discover that BAD MOON is actually based on the novel Thor, though it has nothing to do with the Marvel Comics character or the well-oiled heavy metal artist.

Thor turns out to be the dog owned by tough-as-nails lawyer Hemingway, who lives in a woodsy locale with her young, blonde, oh-so-cute son (Mason Gamble of DENNIS THE MENACE fame). When Hemingway's brother -- the old, dark, oh-so-cute Pare (STREETS OF FIRE, EDDIE & THE CRUISERS) -- arrives after a prolonged absence, it seems like happy days are here again.

Until Mom and son discover that Uncle Ted's developed an unhealthy interest in the subject of lycanthropy, has been keeping an incriminating journal, and has a ridiculous number of test tubes in his motor home. What they don't realize is that ol' Ted had a pre-credits run-in with a werewolf (Werewolf? There wolf!) after it savagely attacked, mauled, and ripped his girlfriend to shreds during a campsite episode of bumping uglies. She dies, he gets bit, he kills werewolf. Do we all see where this is heading?

The best flicks in the genre (AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON, THE HOWLING) at least play with the pre-conceived notions of werewolf lore and spin them around. BAD MOON simply trots them out in order, though Red does keep the flick lean and mean at a trim 80 minutes...so it won't be long till it shows up on the Sci-Fi Channel for free.

Bad Moon starring Mariel Hemingway and Michael PareThe chicks'll dig it 'cause Pare often has his shirt off, and fans of the perverse will enjoy seeing the STREETS OF FIRE hero pissing on Thor's doghouse to mark his territory. In the hands of a more capable actor, Ted's crossing the line into wolfdom might've been more convincing, but we're talking about a guy that comes in a distant fourth to the German Shepard, Hemingway, and a Macauly Culkin clone when the acting honors are handed out.

Oh, and could someone please explain the cultural setting that produces WASP-y princess Hemingway and Pare's Noow-Yawk younger brother? It's a bit of a stretch...

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