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Bad Moon (1996)

In a South American pre-credits sequence, this offers gratuitous sex, bad dialogue, a ripped-off face and a werewolf's head blown apart by a shotgun blast. Then, this very brief movie (79 minutes) adaptation of Wayne Smith's novel Thor manages to become extremely draggy as it goes through a plot that boils down to Lassie Meets the Wolf Man. When Michael Paré, survivor of an encounter with the South American monster, stays in a woodland retreat with sister Mariel Hemingway and nephew Mason Gamble, only the kid's plucky dog realises he has become a werewolf (Ken Kirzinger). Paré alternates between antiheroic torment as he chains himself to a tree to protect his family (he has a vague notion that their love will cure him) and glowering villainy as he lets Thor take the blame for a savaging, which means the dog has to escape from the pound to confront the monster and save his master at the end.

Director-writer Eric Red wrote Near Dark, a radical and exciting vampire movie, but here trots out the dreariest lycanthrope clichés. An extract from The WereWolf of London is seen on TV (and unwisely sneered at by Paré) and, though the script establishes that this werewolf transforms nightly and not on a lunar cycle, there are constant shots of a full moon. Earnest and stupid, with a teddy bear monster.
KIM NEWMAN

First published in this form here.


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