Bad Moon Blu-ray Review

Eric Red’s Werewolf movie From the ’90s

Director Eric Red (Cohen and Tate, Body Parts) put together one of the more interesting but atypical werewolf films in recent memory with Bad Moon. Let me be upfront that werewolves have never been a huge favorite of mine, despite being a huge horror fan. The 1996 film sees a new director’s cut in this Scream Factory edition that corrects one longstanding complaint among its fans, namely a terrible CGI transformation that always felt out of place.

A single mother and her son unknowingly invite a werewolf into their own home, protected from harm only by their trusted German shepherd. Bad Moon stars Mariel Hemmingway as Janet. Janet has a young son, Brett (Mason Gamble). Michael Paré (Streets of Fire) portrays Ted, hiding his accursed werewolf condition from his sister.

Janet unwittingly invites Ted to stay at her home in the Pacific Northwest. Janet’s dog Thor immediately senses something is wrong with Ted. Thor practically steals the movie – he’s the real star in a predictable monster story that holds little mystery. Inspired by a novel, much of what makes Bad Moon unique is that its narrative is partially seen through the dog’s perspective. While that sounds hokey, the movie does a credible job building up suspense and conflict between Thor and the rampaging werewolf. Ted’s transformation from a loving brother and uncle to violent monster slowly develops until things get out of control.

There is little mystery as to what is going to happen if you’ve ever seen a werewolf movie before.

Bad Moon has always had ambivalent reactions from both critics and fans. Running under eighty minutes, the scripting is solid but bland. There is little mystery as to what is going to happen if you’ve ever seen a werewolf movie before. The cast is its biggest strength with believable, serious performances and solid practical effects. Eric Red cuts a horribly dated CGI transformation sequence in his new director’s cut.

Despite some nods to prior werewolf movies, Bad Moon doesn’t seem to have been designed as a horror movie. This is a movie aimed at a more mature audience despite the werewolf creature at its heart, one that doesn’t revel in b-movie monsters and their clichés. The one trope it hits is a sex scene which opens the film, ending in a brutally violent death. The practical effects look excellent but this is not a gory movie. There aren’t many visceral deaths on screen.

Mariel Hemmingway is solid as the concerned mother and Michael Paré plays his conflicted character with fluidity. The animal casting for Thor is absolutely perfect, the steadfast German shepherd almost becoming Bad Moon’s primary protagonist. Thor serves as the family’s defender against the vicious werewolf, even as Ted plots to get rid of the dog.

Like I said before, werewolf movies are usually not my thing but Bad Moon is a well constructed movie sure to please most genre fans. It just seems to be lacking that extra something which turns a horror movie into truly something memorable. Bad Moon is a decent thriller from the Nineties that is recommended for fans into werewolf movies.

Bad Moon Blu-ray screen shot 13

Video

Scream Factory gives Bad Moon a fantastic presentation with both the original theatrical version and a new director’s cut included. It’s evident the favored version is the new director’s cut, which actually removes about thirty seconds from the nearly 80-minute theatrical feature.

Both cuts are included on a BD-50 in AVC. A much higher bitrate budget is allocated to the director’s cut, averaging nearly 28 Mbps. That renders texture and grain in far greater detail and transparency.

The new high-definition transfer shows strong definition and clarity for a catalog movie from the 90s, taken from pristine elements. The film-like, unfiltered presentation offers crisp contrast and strong color saturation. Black levels are fine. Bad Moon isn’t a horror movie which spends a lot of time in poorly lit scenes.

Bad Moon’s followers will be pleasantly stunned at the quality of this Scream Factory Blu-ray. The increase in resolution and clarity make it one of the best-looking horror films from the 90s to have hit 1080P video.

Audio

Both cuts receive decent sounding 5.1 DTS-HD MA soundtracks, as well as mono 2.0 DTS-HD MA options. The surround mix is fairly engaging with a plethora of LFE and directional cues. The sound design is clear and clean, featuring intelligible dialogue. One would be wrong to think its age would limit or hamper the audio. Bad Moon has a capable surround mix with convincing moments.

Optional English SDH subtitles appear in a white font inside the 2.40:1 aspect ratio at all times.

Extras

Scream Factory gives us a wonderful, new making-of documentary about Bad Moon and two separate commentaries. While Mariel Hemmingway is absent, director Eric Red and actor Michael Paré appear several times in new interviews. Scream curiously left the second commentary off on the back cover, but it’s on the disc under the theatrical version. Neither are perfect but cult films often don’t receive any commentaries.

Audio Commentary With Director Eric Red – A somewhat patchy solo commentary that can only be heard with the director’s cut. This new commentary feels like it was recorded in chunks and then pasted together.

Audio Commentary With Eric Red and Actor Michael Paré – Hosted by Arrow in the Head’s John Fallon, this is a loose group commentary with some behind-the-scenes info hidden in bawdy language. It can only be heard on the theatrical cut.

Unrated Opening Scene From The Director’s First Cut (06:07 in SD) – Sourced from VHS, this is far more explicit than the scene that made theaters.

Bad Moon Theatrical Trailer (01:06 in SD)

Nature of the Beast: Making Bad Moon (35:17 in HD) – A new documentary featuring interviews with Writer/Director Eric Red, Actors Michael Paré And Mason Gamble, Special Effects Make-up Artist Steve Johnson And Stunt Coordinator Ken Kirzinger. This is a quality piece only lacking for Mariel Hemmingway’s missing participation.

Thor Stares Down Ted Storyboards (04:15 in HD)

Thor and Werewolf Fight Storyboards (09:40 HD)

Transformation Sequence Storyboards (06:30 in HD)

Full disclosure: This Blu-ray was provided to us for review. This has not affected the editorial process. For information on how we handle review material, please visit our about us page to learn more.

  • Bad Moon
  • Video
  • Audio
  • Extras

Summary

A werewolf stalks an unsuspecting family from within this 90’s horror.

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