Title: Bad Moon (1996)
Summary: After being bitten by a werewolf in the jungle, Ted looks for a cure. His lawyer sister, with a son and dog, invites him to park his camper by her house in the woods and live out of her fridge. (WHAT COULD POSSIBLY GO WRONG?)
Notes: I found this film on accident, while looking through “recommendations” after watching The Beast Must Die! If this goes horribly wrong, it’s all IMDb’s fault.
Hello and welcome back to 2021’s second round of SNARK AT THE MOON! where Wing and I tackle a werewolf film during the full moon, respectively. November’s full moon is known as the Beaver Moon and being that I am a born and bred native of the Beaver state, this is my time to shine. Or something. Shockingly, I am on time with my recap this year.
During the Hunter’s Moon in October, Wing picked The Beast Must Die! (1974) which was completely different from films we’ve both recapped in the past. I honestly thought about finding another Hammer-esque 1970s werewolf film but, as noted above, stumbled upon Bad Moon by accident. This could be either a hidden gem or go very, very poorly very quickly.
I know nothing about it. The trailer told me nothing, which is amazing, since trailers spoil everything these days. I am familiar with Mariel Hemingway (I remember her sister, Margaux, a fellow Portland-born, whose suicide was splashed all over the tabloid magazines; this movie was released a few months after her death.) and it took me a minute but I recognized Michael Paré as the grown up Trip Fontaine in The Virgin Suicides. (Man, I love that movie. It is not for everyone, though, and can be tough to view even if you’ve seen it a dozen times or more.)
My attention span is pretty short these days – not surprising, what with the chaos going on around us all – so an 80 minute film seemed ideal. Will I be rewarded? Or will I have put myself and Wing into a hand basket to Hades yet again? LET’S FIND OUT.
[Wing: I actually own this movie! And yet have never watched it, which is a great combination for a Snark at the Moon experience.]
Oh god, it’s the Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves theme, I swear… that’s a movie that did not hold up at all. (Except for Alan Rickman and Michael Wincott. They’re excused.) Whatever happened to Morgan Creek? My bad, they’re still around. So many things aren’t, I get confused.
Well, we open on… what looks like a bad matte painting background of jungle mountains with some fake ferns and moss in the foreground. Um. Right, right, dude is in the jungle. Right. The camera pans low under the tree canopy and suddenly we’re in camp where it’s dark. Okay. Sure. Why not. This is kind of starting out like Arachnophobia, a film Wing will never watch. [Wing: SURPRISINGLY, I have watched it numerous times, though not within the past decade, to be fair, during which my arachnophobia has gotten worse. I really like it, even though I spend days after watching it frantically checking on and around myself for the wayward eight-legged freak. (Another movie I have watched, to many people’s surprise.)] [bat: I am surprised, given your propensity to hating spiders. Granted, after the year I’ve had of running into massive wolf spiders in the house, I would have a hard time watching it now.]
Michael Paré’s character is holding a map, talking about a trading post located somewhere near camp. It turns out he’s talking to a woman, who joins him, while he points out there’s a landing strip about ten miles from the aforementioned trading post. I can see a bunch of people sitting around a fire in the background; crew and local guides?
Did I mention there was a bit of ominous thunder in the opening?
So apparently dude and woman are a couple, they’re two weeks behind schedule, and are headed to Calcutta. She speaks of how this has been a wonderful adventure and he says it’s her, she’s what made it wonderful. Aw. You’re both gonna die soon, aren’t you. THIS IS A HORROR MOVIE.
The couple kiss as fake jungle white noise plays.
He tells her to mark it down in her book, that September was the Amazon and July is Egypt. Is this a weird save the date thing? Doesn’t matter. She counters, “But the next five minutes, BED.” (Only five minutes? Oh, honey…)
We cut to a shot of a very BRIGHT full moon as sounds of monkeys and birds play. Really going for that authentic JUNGLE WILDERNESS (this was filmed in that jungle-teeming country of Canada, eh. Why can’t I escape Canada and Canadian actors?!)
Over at the campfire, local natives sit around. One has… I was going to say a rifle but maybe it’s a blow pipe? They chat amongst themselves, smiling. But who cares because we’re in the tent having sexy times. Wow. He is… not into this? I mean, she seems to be doing most of the work here.
Back outside, the horses are restless. Uh oh. Impending doom?
OH SHIT. BAD GUY POV. Damn it, can we not do this? Okay, something is watching the locals around the campfire, moving between the extremely fake jungle plants. BUT FORGET IT, because we’re back to sexy times and now there’s bare boob! She’s still riding cowgirl and he’s putting some more effort in? So lazy. [Wing: Why are men so lazy in these horror sex scenes?]
One of the horses rears and whinnies in fright, both stamping the ground with their front hooves and pulling hard on their tethers. Of course, none of the locals are even curious about this activity. They just look amongst one another in confusion. Sigh. Both horses finally break free and I was right, those are rifles, not blow pipes. Several locals take off after the horses. [Wing: Why not wait until you have to run after them rather try to calm them before they break loose. Psh, who would be interested in that kind of logic.] [bat: HOW DOES LOGIC WORK]
We’re back in the tent and it’s like the prior scene didn’t happen, because they’re back in the position they started in. WHO EDITED THIS. HAVE THEY EVER HEARD OF CONTINUITY? [Wing: We ask for continuity far too often and receive it far too rarely, and yet we never learn.] [bat: If we learned, we’d stop doing recaps, plain and simple.]
Whatever is stalking the campsite is very low to the ground, because we’re back to shitty bad guy POV. The lone local who stayed put by the campfire (why did I type campire at first? [Wing: Campire, the vampire that comes with its own fire and stakes.]) looks around slowly as weird chuffing noises play. I think that’s supposed to be “What are noises a beast makes, for $500, Alex?”
At the very last second possible, the local runs for the remaining long rifle. But it’s too late. As soon as he reaches it, the unseen beast jumps out to attack him.
BUT BACK TO THE REALLY LAME SEXY TIMES. She’s back on top, moaning, while he makes hilarious mid-sex expressions below her. Yeah, they haven’t heard their campsite being attacked by an unseen beast. This will end great.
Behind her, on the wall of the tent, a massive fuzzy shadow arises. Apparently dude isn’t that into the sex because he clearly sees it and stares in panic as a clawed paw/hand spreads its digits. Dude starts to yell but it’s too late. The claws shred the fabric of the tent and suddenly the woman is ripped off the man and dragged away, by a very obvious werewolf.
I’ll give him points, because dude is immediately jumping up and trying to save his woman, while butt naked. He leaps at the werewolf but gets slashed across the upper left chest for his trouble. He falls back, deeply wounded and bleeding. Werewolf is going to town on the woman, savagely biting and slashing her with its claws.
Fuck this, I need a name. [Wing: Why won’t this year’s movies give us names?! Not that they helped me very well last month.] Okay, dude is… uncle Ted. Wow. Um. Okay. So Ted, wounded and stunned, looks around and sees a fancy rifle with a scope just leaned against a table nearby. Very helpful. He crawls, weakly, towards it, as the camera pans up to show the werewolf just absolutely savaging the fuck out of… Marjorie. Poor Marjorie. This is ridiculous.
Marjorie is screaming and flailing and both sides of her face have deep claw gashes in them but somehow she can still see. Like, this is graphic. And I see what you’re doing here, movie, you’ve pulled the old “fridging” trope.
Well, fuck. Here I was hoping the movie would be decent. But right off the bat, we have to kill the female character to “motivate” the main male character. I feel like Wing is going to have thoughts about this, too. [Wing: It’s such a common trope, and I hate it, hate it, hate it. One of the things I liked about, say, Gunpowder Milkshake, was the way the trope was turned on its head and a man was killed to drive a woman’s story. Still, no matter the gender and pairing, it often comes across as sloppy writing. If the woman could be replaced with anything else without changing the story, it’s looking like a fridging.]
Ted has finally made it to the rifle, just as the werewolf has turned Marjorie around to face it, bloodied jaws ready to snap.
…and then it just SLAPS MARJORIE TO THE GROUND.
What. the. actual. fuck.
Ted cocks the rifle, the werewolf turns towards the sound, roars, and Ted blows its head off. Like spectacularly, boom, exploding werewolf head. Well, I guess that’s sort of justice for Marjorie? Is she alive?
WELL I’M GUESSING SHE IS NOT because the exploding werewolf head shot just faded into a shot of trees. Canadian trees. The camera tracks along this forest while the credits roll. Ugh. So we got a cold open with a violent murder and a really lame sex scene. Okay. Not off to a good start. (I also want to complain about the font but that’s because art college classes on typography made me a font snob.) [Wing: That font is so bad but it makes me laugh. It’s trying so hard to be dramatic I’ve come around to loving it.]
Yes, we get it, the Canadian wilderness is majestic and scenic. I live one state below the border, it looks very similar here. Finally, the camera pans over what looks like a log cabin-type home, settled on a very large piece of property, so large in fact they have a giant heart outlined in rocks in the back yard? Okay. But now we’re panning over another home? Hm.
Oh no, this is based on a book. A book entitled Thor. Oh no.
I may have forgotten to mention this but, um, the family dog is very important to the events of this film. The dog is called Thor. I am beginning to wonder if I haven’t made a terrible mistake in choosing this film to recap. [Wing: …damn it.]
I guess this is just to show that it’s not a totally isolated neighborhood somewhere in Canada. Because we finally come to a stop on a large home where a young boy is playing in the massive front yard, that is bordered by a long gravel driveway. The young boy holds a ball and is calling a German Shepherd to come get it.
Oh no. I am regretting my choice of movies. WE GET GOOD DOGGO POV. Also, that’s the brat kid who played in that remake Dennis the Menace movie. OH NO. He’s… I can’t say he’s taunting Thor with the ball, but the doggo is not remotely interested. Oh wait, my bad, he totally just ran after the tossed ball.
(This is going to suck. My cousin has owned several German Shepherd doggos during my lifetime, which I have grown attached to, and now I have to watch one probably battle a werewolf? GREAT CHOICE OF MOVIE, bat.)
[Wing: This is going to be my ongoing fear during Dog Soldiers all over again.]
Thor proceeds to play keep away with the ball from the boy. We get more doggo POV. Thor is very much having a great old time. We cut away to see a man, wearing a trench coat and a business suit, walking up the drive. That’s odd. This home was shown to be out in the middle of no where, so why no car? QUESTIONS.
(Unrelated but that is a really amazingly pretty rhododendron in the background.)
Thor has run down to the edge of the driveway and is staring at the approaching stranger. Idiot boy child asks the dog where the ball is, apparently unaware a man is walking up the driveway. THOR IS A GOOD DOGGO AND PLACES HIMSELF BETWEEN THE STRANGER AND THE BOY CHILD. (Oh I am so going to regret picking this film, aren’t I.)
Stranger danger finally stops and laughs, repeating “Nice doggy!” at Thor, while Thor stares at him. Stranger remarks, is this a dog or a horse. Boy child smartly replies it’s a German Shepherd. (Thor is a large GS but, believe me, my cousin’s second GS was huge.)
Janet (Mariel Hemingway) approaches across the front lawn. She’s wearing a black business skirt combo and carrying a briefcase. The stranger identifies her as the “lady of the house” and proceeds to ask if her son is getting the best education because he totally represents some stupid “reading project” (this smells of LIES) and tries to sell her on this “valuable” phonetic program. Thor is staring at him. Janet tries to turn the salesman down and head into the house but the idiot salesman unlocks his briefcase in a way that alarms and taunts Thor, who starts barking aggressively.
Of course the salesman flips out (god this is a setup) and starts yelling at Janet about leash laws. OKAY LOOK DUMB ASS YOU WANDERED WAY OUT IN THE MIDDLE OF NOWHERE TO SHILL A PRODUCT AND EXPECT HOMEOWNERS NOT TO HAVE GUARD DOGS? He then demands she control Thor before he bites someone, before raising his hand to swat the dog…
…who immediately lunges and knocks the asshole to the ground, standing on him with his teeth bared. GOOD DOGGO.
Janet immediately pulls Thor off the asshole, sending him into the yard. Asshole cries that he’s been bitten and Thor is a dangerous animal and that he is suing. (HE WAS NOT BITTEN.) He demands Janet lawyer up because she’ll hear from his “toot-suite”. The expression on Janet’s face changes to one of “oh here we go again”, clearly this is not the first time this has happened. Asshole continues to whine and act hurt, while Janet reaches into her briefcase and withdraws a business card.
“You can talk to me, I’m a lawyer.” She informs the asshole. (And this is where Wing is totally going to fall in love with Janet. Calling it now.) [Wing: On the one hand, I hate most other lawyers. On the other hand, I have literally done this exact thing when dealing with people, off-leash dogs, and Monster Dog, so … I kind of do love her. Damn it, bat.] [bat: If recaps have taught me anything, I now can identify what character(s) Wing will have a crush on.] As if to punctuate his mistresses’ reply, Thor barks. She orders him to sit and stay down, as the asshole begins to realize his attempt at an easy payday is going up in smoke.
Janet asks if Thor really bit the asshole, because if that’s true, she will drive him to the nearest hospital because he will need medical attention immediately. She continues, offering to take this asshole to her personal doctor. He declines, saying he has his own doctor. “Okay, I’ve heard about enough, Flopsy.”
“Who’s Flopsy?” the boy child asks, which is the same question I had.
Janet explains to Brett, aka the boy child, that a “flopsy” is a con-man who throws himself in front of cars or intentionally provokes peoples’ dogs into attacking so they can claim a dangerous animal bit them and get money. Asshole realizes he picked the wrong target. Janet adds she has prosecuted plenty of “these guys”. I can see the hearts floating in Wing’s eyes right now.
Flopsy smart mouths back, stating she’ll see him in court. Janet asks Brett to call the sheriff, mention that he’s Janet’s son, because the sheriff will totally take her call, that she’s requesting a deputy to come attend to a problem. Flopsy is reevaluating his life choices right now. [Wing: As he should. As. he. should.] Brett runs off to do as told, while Janet remarks to Flopsy it’s been nice to know him and she’ll visit him in the slammer.
Flopsy jumps up and gets in Janet’s face. Thor barks. Janet orders Thor to stay before getting up in Flopsy’s face and advising him to turn around, walk away, keep his mouth shut, and never look back. You… you might take that advice, Flopsy. Somehow I think we’ll be seeing you again, but there might be something worse than Thor to deal with at that point. CALL IT A HUNCH.
Yeah. Flopsy can’t keep his mouth shut and sneers that this isn’t the last Janet has heard of him. Janet counters that she thinks Flopsy has learned a valuable lesson: don’t mess with a lawyer on her own turf.
I can hear Wing cheering from halfway across the country.
Flopsy finally takes a hint and begins to walk away, looking back to point at Janet a final time, as Janet just half smiles and knows she’s won this round.
DARKNESS. The house is lit with a warm glow of lights in the windows. We move inside, watching Thor climb the staircase and nose open the door to (obviously) Brett’s room, where he grabs a stuffed animal in his mouth before putting it on the sleeping Brett’s pillow. Brett rolls over in his sleep and Thor licks the boy’s face. Aw. (Also, ew, dog breath. My cousin used to send her GS into my room in the morning and he would always try to lick my face or stick his cold nose on my feet.) Thor clearly loves his people and will do everything to protect them. He finishes checking on Brett and exits the bedroom, and noses open another door to check on his mistress. Janet is working and Thor respectfully waits for acknowledgement. She wishes him goodnight and blows him a kiss. Thor whines in reply and heads back downstairs to lay upon the rug in front of the crackling fire.
OKAY I’VE NEVER KNOWN A DOG IN MY LIFE THAT DIDN’T STAY IN THE ROOM WITH THEIR PEOPLE. This is clearly a Hollywood-trained dog, so that blows up the realism for me.
[Wing: While Monster Dog refuses to be more than a few feet away from me at any given moment unless she is actively getting attention from someone else, I’ve had dogs that would go off on their own within the house. They had been outdoor dogs when they were younger, though, and only became indoor dogs when we moved, so that’s possibly part of it, though I know some dogs have personalities that aren’t super cuddly.]
MOVING ON. It’s a full moon! There’s heavy fog (mist?) in the air, obscuring the lunar light. Some dude is hiking through the forest, wearing a hell of a lot of safety gear. He measures the circumference of a tree and takes notes. BUT. HARK! A weird noise draws his attention. (It didn’t sound like a growl or a roar, more like a grumph?) The noise doesn’t repeat, so guy moves to another tree, wrapping his tape measure around it. A similar strange noise draws his attention. He looks around, writing his notes, but suddenly there is a loud growl from… above him? It sounds more like a big cat noise than (OBVIOUSLY) a werewolf.
Safety gear man runs. Because, of course.
He crashes through the undergrowth and small trees, occasionally looking back, slips and falls, regains his footing and continues to run. He finally comes to a halt, throwing his backpack and hiding behind a large tree trunk. Okay. He’s breathing so damn hard I’m sure whatever is out there clearly hears him.
Clutching a hand to his chest over his heart, we hear something splattering on his safety helmet. He slowly looks up and INTO THE JAWS OF THE WEREWOLF which immediately clamp down on his head and crush his skull in a fountain of blood what the actual fuck no but HERE’S THE FULL MOON TO GAZE AT as something down below howls in this real fucked up way!
Like, that “howling” is making me laugh though I’m sure it’s not intended to be funny.
[Wing: It’s become an overused image in a lot of ways, but I love, love, love something dripping from above and the person looking up just in time to see the monster coming for them.]
DAYLIGHT! A shot of Janet’s home. A phone rings inside. (Remember landlines?) Janet answers and is surprised by the voice on the other end. It’s Ted, her brother! Remember him?? Janet peppers him with questions: how is he, where is he?? She is shocked Ted has been back in town “so long” that he hasn’t called her. (Well, we know what he’s been up to.) He apparently invites Janet and Brett to visit, as Janet enthusiastically says they’ll be up to the lake in a few hours.
And now we’re flying over the majestic Canadian forest, only for it to be revealed Janet is driving them up in a Ford Explorer (by the looks of it?) Shoot, here I thought she had a small plane and a pilot’s license. [Wing: I would have swooned.] Anyway, Brett thought Ted was in another country (he was, kid) and Janet agrees, saying Ted has been back in the country for three fucking months and never made contact.
OOO! OOO! WING AND I KNOW WHY, JANET!
[Wing: Yeah we do! Beyond that, what entertained me about this is the idea that it’s strange for a sibling to not reach out to another sibling for several months. It can be! I have siblings who would be furious and hurt if I didn’t let them know when I, you know, returned to the country and didn’t talk to them for months. But I also have siblings who wouldn’t even know I’d left the country, so it’s not a guarantee.]
Apparently Thor outranks Brett, because he gets to ride shotgun, with his head out the window. Long shot of sunlight through the trees, this is just living driving to the coast where I live, and finally they’re pulling up… well, it’s like an old Airstream trailer parked on a rocky stretch of land beside a lake/river? IT’S DESOLATE AND ISOLATED, OKAY.
Ted is waiting outside as they drive up. Thor jumps out the open window and runs towards Ted, we get more weird doggo POV (ugh, I really hate that) as he jumps up and whines in Ted’s face. OKAY. SHOULDN’T THOR ALREADY KNOW SOMETHING IS WRONG? (Nanook knew a flesh eater / blood drinker when he smelled one; does this not apply to werewolves? HOW DOES THIS WORK?) [Wing: Maybe doggos like werewolves?]
Janet and Brett greet Ted, Janet teases her brother about using the razor she got him for Christmas and Ted counters he’d use it to maybe slit his throat (um, the red flags are just flying all over here.) Ted says it’s great to see his sister and nephew and Janet complains that it’s been two months since his return (it was noted as 3 months in the previous scene?) and he hasn’t contact them.
I have a feeling Wing will like this part of the movie, the sibling interaction. Because it’s pretty spot on. [Wing: I am enjoying it. They’re fun.]
Brett doesn’t even greet his uncle, he just asks if he can shoot the rifle. Great, kid. Thor is off exploring, sniffing a trail of something real intently. Ted leads them towards his trailer, wanting to spend time visiting. He stops and suddenly becomes aware of Thor’s REAL INTENT SNIFFING along the treeline. IS THAT WHERE THE BODIES ARE BURIED, TED?
From a very wide/long shot we see Ted enter the trailer as the camera pans down to where Thor is, before he follows a scent trail into the trees and disappears. Uh oh.
Back at the trailer, a small charcoal grill has been set up and Janet is helping Ted grill lunch (dinner?) as he asks how things are going at the law firm. It’s revealed she was once a DA in Chicago and the caseload is much lighter here (where ever here is, CANADA.) and it’s not criminal something (damn it, no captions and the sound is weird, so I haven’t a clue what that second word is.) [Wing: I struggled too, but I’m going to assume prosecution or something like that.] Ted inquires if they’ve adjusted to small town life. Apparently yes, but Brett hasn’t made any friends in the neighborhood (can you even call it that, with the massive distance between homes??) Janet says Chicago is no place to raise children, claiming the woods are “safe and peaceful” (oh, honey) but Ted interrupts, saying he’s so proud of her being a full-time mom and a full-time lawyer. He even hugs her.
Janet is suspicious. AS AM I. She goes so far as to say Ted isn’t telling her something. Ooo, good instincts! Ted weighs lying for a few seconds, before admitting things haven’t gone well since his return from the jungle, is it two or three months ago, no one knows. GIANT RED FLAG: Ted says “Marjorie is gone”. OH SHE GONE ALRIGHT. Janet says she’s sorry to hear that. Ted sort of sad laughs and says it’s just him and his shadow.
A BIG FURRY SHADOW THAT SHOWS UP DURING THE FULL MOON THAT’S WHAT YOU MEAN BY SHADOW ISN’T IT, TED.
[Wing: I really like the shadow metaphor.]
Welp. Story writers are decidedly going for the “men who become pathetic and hate what they’ve turned into” trope for this werewolf story. Sigh. [Wing: Pretty much always. Give me a man who embraces it and becomes a sexual predator.] [bat: See, if we were to write a werewolf movie, we already know what tropes we would “fix” to make a BETTER movie.]
In the trailer, Brett is playing with a film camera (remember those?) and snapping photos (if he’s ruining film, ugh) when the latch on the accordion door pops open. Because apparently Brett has not been taught to respect other peoples’ privacy, he begins to investigate, the little snoop. In the… cubby? there’s lots of dried plants and a dried lizard and it looks like Ted is conducting experiments. I WONDER WHAT FOR.
Brett fiddles with the microscope before picking up one of the vials — am I wrong in thinking those are blood samples mixed with the dried plants to test what works? — before hefting a large leather-bound book off the shelf. Opening it, it reveals the title page: LORE OF THE WEREWOLF
Brett actually reads the title before flipping through the pages and landing on some woodblock prints of werewolves hunting people. Flipping some more, he lands on a page with an illustration that looks like one of the fierys out of Labyrinth but I guess it’s supposed to be a werewolf. In Blackletter (of course; also, thank you, Typography class!) it explains that the above illustration is not a firey but was a carving that adorned the Dogel Palace in Venice and was supposed to scare evil away. Blah blah blah, it mentions a resemblance to the fireys the Greenman and something about Medici princes and demonic drawings and whatever, we get the point.
Flipping a few more pages, Brett sees more block carving prints of werewolves, one in particular chowing down on a human. Hm. Kids gonna get ideas. [Wing: God I love block carving prints.] [bat: *files knowledge away for future reference*]
BUT WHO CARES, because we’ve switched to good doggo Thor! Who is still wandering the woods, nose to the ground, following some kind of walking path. I really could do without the good doggo POV shots; the astigmatism in my eye hates whatever lens is being used. Thor becomes super interested in a scent trail that leads to a cedar-type tree. And here is the requisite jump scare when Thor scares a bunch of nesting birds out of said tree. Bleh. Also, why are they using crow-like sounds when those are OBVIOUSLY DUCKS?
Startled, Thor hops around before watching the ducks fly away. Then he starts to whine as he looks upwards, the camera panning to show the bloodied remains of a plaid shirt and a severed leg with the boot still on the foot hanging from a couple of branches, before we rise higher to find the torso and what appears to be a camping backpack? Oh, so this is a DIFFERENT victim. [Wing: Why in the world would a werewolf leave a victim in a tree like that? WHY?] [bat: Aging the meat? Storage? Caching? I dunno.]
How are we only 20 minutes into this film? HURRY IT UP.
Brett, still engrossed in the werewolf book, is startled when Thor just appears next to him with a bark. Brett, SITTING ON THE BOOK YOU LITTLE JERK GET OFF THAT, admonishes Thor for scaring him but also calls him a good boy so I dunno, that was a wash.
Hearing Janet and Ted approaching the trailer, Brett hurries to put the book back and pull the accordion door. It doesn’t really work but Thor is there, guarding him! Brett fakes just sitting quietly on the bed and Janet and Ted are none the wiser. Sigh. Thor watches Ted as the man crouches down to eye level and asks Thor to come say hi.
THOR KNOW WHAT THOR SAW IN FOREST. THOR NOT STUPID. THOR STARE AT MURDERER.
“That’s our Thor, over-protective,” Janet notes as Ted and Thor continue to stare at each other. Janet suggests that if Thor saw Ted more maybe he wouldn’t be so wary. Ted orders the dog to come; Thor backs away towards Brett. It takes a long minute but Thor eventually does as ordered by Ted (probably to keep up appearances, as though he DIDN’T FIND YOUR MURDER VICTIMS IN THE FOREST, TED) and Ted kind of holds the dog by the head and calls them “two of a kind”. Uh oh.
Thor whines. Janet asks if Ted spit in Thor’s Alpo. “He knows an old dog when he sees one,” Ted replies, ominously. [Wing: I am dying. So unsubtle. So dramatic.] (It’s so very obvious Thor is looking at his trainer and not Ted.) It’s later; everyone’s sitting outside, as the grill and Janet smoke away, literally. Thor sits with Janet between him and Ted. Brett sits on the trailer steps, Ted behind him, Ted’s hands on Brett’s shoulders. Shouldn’t Thor be going nuts? I mean I guess he’s really biding his time here.
Ted announces Janet and Brett better leave so Brett’s home by bedtime. Janet announces she wants Ted to stay with them. (DANGER, DANGER!) She’s worried about Ted, who is literally shoving them towards the car. She demands he agree. Ted does so but it’s with a catch, he says he’ll come by soon and he’ll call. Sure, dude. Your sister is a lawyer, she knows you’re putting her off. He agrees to sometime the coming week. Janet shoves her lit cigarette in Ted’s mouth, Brett calls Thor, and they get in the car. Ted waves goodbye and looks up at the sky. YOU’RE OFF TO GO MURDER SOMEONE OR SOMETHING, AREN’T YOU, TED.
Another slow, sweeping shot of Janet’s house. Thor lays on the rug in the hallway, while Janet works in her home office. I guess time has passed (?) because the phone rings and it’s Ted. Janet asks how he’s doing, when we cut away to Ted, who looks bleary eyed and scared. He tells her the visit really lifted his spirits but he’s obviously upset and starts talking about family is everything. RED FLAG.
Janet immediately catches on by the topic and tone of Ted’s voice that ALL IS NOT WELL. Ted keeps rambling and Janet asks if there’s a problem. “No, no problem at all,” Ted tells her as he walks out the trailer door into an ACTIVE CRIME SCENE INVESTIGATION. Cop cars fill the property as a body bag on a gurney is carted off to a hearse. An officer strings yellow warning tape around the area.
Ted announces he wants to visit for a few days. OH GEE. Janet immediately agrees and starts giving Ted directions, as Thor whines loudly. THOR WARNING YOU LADY. BAD MAN NO WANT. Cut to shot of Ted’s Airstream trailer parked on a little landing spot above the back yard of the house. I’m sure Thor is just THRILLED. In the trailer, Janet and Ted crack beers as Ted toasts to family. God damn it, we still have an hour of this film and I can already see how it’s going to end up. BADLY. SO BADLY.
Janet’s thrilled to have her brother literally living in her yard. Ted’s glad to be out of the woods and “away from the memories” (DON’T YOU MEAN BODIES, TED? AND HOW DID THE COPS LET YOU WANDER AWAY WITHOUT INVESTIGATION?) Thor starts nosing around in Ted’s bag and uncovers handcuffs. He whines and draws attention, which leads to Ted telling him to get out of his things. Too late though, because Janet finds the handcuffs.
“Maximum high security high tempered steel?” she reads as Ted tries to take them away. Clearly Janet thinks these are for kinky fun but I’m telling you, lady, they are not. Janet teases that she better keep an eye on Ted. She offers to make dinner but Ted declines, saying he’s going for a run and keep a low profile tonight. Um.
Janet says Ted can come and go as he pleases. Yeah, you say that now…
It’s growing dark now, and Thor sits in the window, watching. Watching Ted’s trailer. Janet passes through, saying goodnight to the good doggo and turning out the lights. The camera pans and we see Ted exiting the trailer. He’s wearing sweats and looking around cautiously. And he’s carrying the handcuffs. THOR SEES YOU!
Working on her laptop in bed, Janet hears Thor barking wildly and gets up to investigate. WHY IS NO ONE LISTENING TO GOOD DOGGO WHO IS TRYING TO SAVE YOUR STUPID ASSES?! I hate this, I hate movies where the animal is seriously trying to tell humans things and no one listens. [Wing: Same! If you’re not going to go check, at least acknowledge that you think something is wrong and don’t want to be That Person in a horror movie or you are too tired to deal with whatever is wrong or whatever.] Down in the kitchen, Thor is really causing a ruckus, throwing himself at the back door. Janet asks him what’s going on but Thor keeps leaping at the door. She lets him out and Thor takes off like a shot to Ted’s trailer. OOO IS GOOD DOGGO GOING TO DO DETECTIVE WORK?? Or is Thor going out into the woods to try and stop Ted from more murder?
Cut to a shot of the full moon. Okay, I have questions. HOW MUCH FUCKING TIME HAS ELAPSED? A WHOLE MONTH? A WHOLE LUNAR CYCLE? IS IT A MONTH WITH A BLUE MOON?? WHERE DO I GET ANSWERS?!?! [Wing: Every night has a full moon in Canada.]
Full moon means nefarious werewolf activities, so of course we’re back out in the woods, hearing strange grumbling noises again. I swear, who didn’t do their job when creating werewolf sounds? Thor is walking slowly through the ferns and underbrush where he finally comes upon what he knew he’d find: werewolf!Ted.
Ah! But there’s a problem? Ted has handcuffed himself to a tree. Which is supposed to stop him from killing? Because the werewolf isn’t having it, is kicking and clawing at the tree with a foot, trying to get free. I mean, points for effort, Ted. But I’m not sure you’ve really thought this through.
[Wing: As usual, the reluctant male werewolf tries to lock himself away. In a fairly lazy way this time. I am a little charmed, though.]
Thor hops a little closer as the werewolf turns and roars into the open air. I would say this is one of the better werewolf practical costumes I’ve seen but it’s still pretty cheesy-looking. I’m glad they went practical; there’s shots of the snout moving as the werewolf sniffs and snarls at Thor. But the puppeteering (?) or mechanical controls are very obviously mechanical and look pretty bad.
Werewolf!Ted and Thor get into a barking/snarling match. Suddenly we hear Janet calling for Thor. Oh no, if she sees this monster chained to a tree, that’s bad. If werewolf!Ted sees fresh human to slaughter, it isn’t going to matter Janet’s his sister. DO SOMETHING, THOR!
Thor barks a warning at the werewolf, who pulls hard on the handcuffs. Janet calls again and Thor takes off, running back to where Janet stands with a lantern, looking for her dog. I’m sorry. Does she just not hear all the mumbling growls and snarls coming from her werewolf brother? If my dog took off that fast into the woods, I’d maybe want to investigate?
Poor Thor, he tries to warn her — it looks as if he’s trying to lead her to werewolf!Ted which is not a bright idea but I think he’s trying to help the only way he knows how and that’s lead his mistress to the person in crisis — but Janet isn’t having it. She pulls Thor by the collar back to the house.
[Wing: To be fair, if I heard a bunch of growls and snarls, I’d probably drag my dog inside, too, if only to avoid the dogfight to come.]
I guess Ted was successful in his endeavor? BECAUSE IT’S MORNING NOW and Janet has baked muffins, which she is putting into a basket while the television airs Jenny Jones’ talk show (oh man, that’s ancient history). Out in the back yard, Thor sits at the bottom of the little rise where Ted’s trailer is parked. Brett can’t get Thor interested in chasing the ball and is very frustrated with the dog. LOOK KID YOUR EXCELLENT DOGGO IS DOING HIS JOB NOW LEAVE HIM ALONE.
Thor ignores Brett and goes up the dirt hill to the trailer and proceeds to pee on one of the tires. HAHAHAHAHAHA GOOD DOGGO! (This reminds me of the first episode of Grimm, in which Nick meets Monroe, who is in Blutbad-form while peeing all over his backyard to mark his territory. If you’ve never seen the show, sorry, I’m not doing a great job of selling it.) [Wing: I’ve only seen a little of the first season, but that scene stuck with me and still makes me laugh.] [bat: I wish I could say it was a great series but it had a real roller coaster run that was good/bad. Still, I mostly enjoyed it. I should probably rewatch it.]
Brett admonishes Thor harshly and orders him to stop. LOOK YOU LITTLE BRAT. Thor finishes and returns to Brett, who tells the dog peeing on his uncle’s trailer’s tire isn’t nice.
Back inside, Janet is still working on muffins but we hear BREAKING NEWS interrupt on the TV. A reporter informs viewers that police are searching a 50-square mile radius near Timberline (we couldn’t think up more non-obvious town names?) and that the area has been under curfew for three days. A fifth dead hiker’s remains have been discovered. APPARENTLY THIS IS ENOUGH INFO TO DRAW JANET’S ATTENTION TO THE TELEVISION SCREEN. Authorities suspect a grizzly bear has mutilated the hikers. Uh huh. They have also brought in hunters and blood hounds to find the “grizzly bear”. For some reason (BAD WRITING) the reporter repeats what she just said about the 50-mile radius and curfew.
It was pretty hard to tell from the angle but that area the reporter was reporting from kind of looked like Ted’s old place? But there was a real large building in the background so many not. Either way, Janet seems to have questions.
But before that happens, we cut back to Ted exiting his trailer, while Brett and Thor are still in the yard. Thor immediately turns his attention to Ted, who slowly exits the trailer. Thor immediately begins to growl as Ted takes notice of the wet tire. Man and Dog share a look.
“Hi, Thor,” Ted speaks.
Brett grabs Thor by the collar and pulls him away. MAYBE BRETT ISN’T ENTIRELY STUPID AND UNAWARE??
Janet exits through the back door and greets Ted. She immediately inquires about the curfew in Timberline, the dead hikers, and the supposed serial killer grizzly bear. GEE, I WAS PRETTY SURE HE SOUNDED SUSPICIOUS DURING THAT PHONE CALL BUT HOW DID JANET MISS THAT??
“Oh! Uh, that!” Ted stammers with a nervous laugh. He was totally going to inform her this morning! Sure! Yeah! That’s it! Janet posits that Ted will be staying until the curfew is lifted. (Or you, Thor, and Brett are dead, sure. Either or.) Janet offers breakfast, which Ted accepts, before returning to the house. HOW CAN YOU NOT TELL YOUR BROTHER IS BEING WEIRD AND SUSPICIOUS, JANET.
Thor appears and immediately starts to growl menacingly at Ted. Ted stops in his tracks, staring back at the dog. “In good time, old boy,” Ted tells the good doggo. YEAH OKAY. IS TED ADMITTING HE’S GOING TO TRY AND MURDER HIS SISTER AND NEPHEW TO THE DOG?
Ted enters the kitchen through the backdoor, where Janet is still preparing breakfast. She slaps his hand as he takes a piece of bacon. Ted looks at the TV and finds Werewolf of London is airing. At this hour of the morning?? SEEMS ODD. Unless it’s a Saturday, maybe? On screen Henry Hull rapidly transforms into a werewolf. (I should have picked that for my movie recap, sigh. I guess we can add it to the list, Wing.) Ted starts laughing. Brett tells him it isn’t funny. SHUT UP, BRETT.
Sitting on the couch next to his nephew, Ted apologizes and says in the movies the guy only turns into a werewolf during the full moon. Brett counters this is COMMON KNOWLEDGE. Shut up, Brett. Ted counters why isn’t it during any phase of the moon? “BECAUSE THAT’S THE WAY WEREWOLFS WORK!” Brett you are an annoying little twat, please get eaten by Ted. [Wing: To be fair to the kid, that is how most werewolf stories work. I do like that there might actually be a reason Ted’s turned into a werewolf so very many times.]
Brett doubles down, adding you have to shoot the werewolf with a silver bullet. KID YOU READ THAT BOOK IN YOUR UNCLE’S TRAILER AND NOW YOU’RE AN EXPERT?? “I bet if you blew his head off with a shotgun it would do quite nicely,” Ted replies. “DON’T YOU KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT WEREWOLVES?” Brett sasses back. THAT’S IT, STOP PROTECTING THIS LITTLE ASSHOLE, THOR, HE DESERVES TO PERISH.
Ted answers that he knows if you’re bitten by a werewolf you turn into one but the full moon isn’t a trigger, any moon will do the trick. HE IS TELLING YOU PEOPLE VALUABLE INFO WHY IS NO ONE TAKING NOTES. Brett practically rolls his eyes as he asks if Ted has even met a werewolf. Ted replies he’s been acquainted with a few in his time. He asks if Brett has. “There’s no such thing as werewolves!” PLEASE DIE ALREADY BRETT.
Janet, who is apparently oblivious to the conversation her son and brother shared, is cooking bacon on the grill. She asks Brett to take out the trash before breakfast. Brett whines and complains but Janet tells him to do it. He leaves as Ted takes a seat at the counter. When Brett is gone, Ted inquires what happened last night. Janet says Thor “thought he heard something” in the woods and went nuts about it, waking up the whole house, and Ted is lucky he was in the Airstream. Janet continues that she finally let Thor out and the dog ran into the woods but didn’t return. Janet used a dog whistle (??? we didn’t see that) but it didn’t work.
Ted asks what Thor found. Janet says nothing. TED STILL LOOKS REAL WORRIED. Janet is not worried and says Thor barks at practically anything. BECAUSE HE IS THE BEST GOOD GUARD DOGGO AND YOU’RE TAKING HIM FOR GRANTED, JANET.
Her brother isn’t convinced, telling Janet that big predators can travel long distances (like you, traveling from unknown jungle to CANADA, Ted??) if their habitat runs dry. I think he means if prey dries up. Awkward sentence there, Ted. He adds that just because nothing’s happened until now it doesn’t mean the forest will remain safe. HOW MANY NOT SUBTLE WARNINGS DOES THIS WEREWOLF NEED TO GIVE YOU, JANET?
OH WOW TED JUST TOTALLY SLIPPED UP. He begins by telling Janet she shouldn’t let Brett play outside for a while. Then says there weren’t supposed to be any wolves where he was but look what happened to the hikers! THE REPORTER SAID GRIZZLY BEAR, TED, YOU JUST BLEW YOUR COVER. “I thought they said it was a grizzly bear?” Janet asks Ted.
“Wolves! Grizzly bears! Same difference!” Ted knows he just blew it but struggles to deflect his sister. He wants Janet to be cautious and take Thor more serious. Okay I can get behind this request. Janet thinks Ted is overdoing it and Thor isn’t helpless. He’s 105lbs! Ted counters that a grey wolf is, like, 200lbs!
Janet is incredulous and says Thor was just barking in the night and there was no 200lbs wolf at the door. Oh, Janet. Ted is rendered speechless. Janet suddenly becomes concerned, asking if Ted feels alright. Ted shakes his head and leaves. HE WAS TRYING TO WARN YOU, JANET.
[Wing: If he’s going to try to warn her, he should just come out and warn her. I know there will be disbelief but come the fuck on, you’re obviously not convincing her of anything, if you’re actually worried, JUST FUCKING TELL HER. PROVE IT. WORK THINGS THROUGH.]
How is there still 40 minutes left of this?
I guess that long shot was supposed to inform viewers that the sun is beginning to set? It was very clouded over and it’s very obviously raining. Thor is patrolling the backyard before he heads up and takes a seat outside Ted’s trailer. Next is a shot of sunset before we find Thor still sitting outside the trailer. The door finally opens and Ted exits, wearing the grey sweats and tennis shoes from the prior night. He seems surprised to see Thor sitting outside his door. The camera shows up Ted is carrying those extra heavy duty handcuffs, as well.
Ted looks between the impending sunset and Thor. Without a word, he returns inside the trailer and shuts the door, before looking out from under the curtains. Thor is still there, Ted. HE’S ON TO YOU. The sun sinks lower towards the horizon line. Ted peers out from behind the curtains. THOR REMAINS AT HIS POST. Ted opens the door to the trailer and stares down at Thor, who stares back. Ted slowly descends the trailer steps, handcuffs still in hand. Thor does nothing but watch. As soon as Ted reaches the ground and shuts the door, Thor lets out a low growl.
For a wordless scene, this is excellent. For a recap, it’s annoying, because clearly this is apex predator against protective guard dog. [Wing: It’s a very visual moment that doesn’t translate super well to text, this is true. I love this standoff.] Ted keeps looking towards the last of the sunlight through the trees. Thor keeps growling. Ted takes a step towards the woods, then another, and another, passing by Thor towards the treeline. He nearly makes it to the end of the trailer when Thor gets up. He tells the dog to piss off; Thor growls. Ted calls for Janet to take Thor in the house.
You know, it’s very obvious the dog is not growling or showing any more than interest, because of the closeups and voice over (growl over?) being used. It seems there was only one dog used for the part of Thor. His name was Primo.
Janet opens the back door and calls for Thor. DOGGO IS TORN. Ted looks cagey AF. Thor keeps growling and whining as Janet tells him it’s bedtime, time to come inside. Thor finally obeys. Janet never notices Ted holding a hand behind his back, the hand holding the handcuffs. As soon as she has Thor inside, Ted takes off for the woods. CLOSE CALL THERE, TED.
In the house, Janet tries to have a chat with Thor. He just licks her face and she tells him to be a good dog. WHAT DO YOU THINK HE’S DOING, LADY. She tells him good night and that she loves him, which is nice, but you aren’t listening to his warnings, Janet. Thor keeps on eye on the trailer, knowing Ted is out in the woods again.
I HAVE A QUESTION. If Ted truly hates what he’s turned into, why leave the jungle? Why return home and subject strangers and his own family to his murderous appetite? Seriously. [Wing: This is an excellent point. Especially because he doesn’t get the majority of the moon cycle to just be normal, he changes all. the. damn. time. There’s no peace in that.]
I can’t tell if that’s a cookie jar or a dog treat jar, but as soon as Brett lifts the lid, Thor barks wildly. He jumps and slams his paws into the window. Brett, being a fucking idiot, LETS THOR OUTSIDE. Kid, you’ll be lucky if you have a dog in the morning, let alone are alive. Thor takes off, running into the woods, yet again.
Another shot of the moon. It’s not quite full? I mean, it’s hard to tell but there’s a small sliver missing. I guess Ted wasn’t making it all up. Some weird dog-like POV of Thor sniffing the ground and finding the grey sweats Ted was last seen wearing. Uh oh. His tennis shoes are also left behind. Dude’s running nekkid through the woods, this is a bad sign. The last straw is Thor finding the very empty and unused handcuffs.
THOR REALIZES IT’S TOO LATE AND RUNS BACK TO THE HOUSE! HE ARRIVES JUST IN TIME TO FIND WEREWOLF!TED ADVANCING THROUGH THE BACKYARD!
Barking his head off, Thor draws the attention of werewolf!Ted, who turns around and… hisses? Snarls? It’s weird. Thor leaps at werewolf!Ted, they begin to fight, it’s kind of hilarious how staged this is to not hurt the dog but also look like he’s hurting the dog. Werewolf!Ted keeps slapping Thor away until there’s yelping noises.
Janet hears and rolls over in bed to reach the security system panel installed next to the headboard. Flood lights, well, flood the backyard. Thor continues to bark. Werewolf!Ted shields his eyes and tromps back into the forest. Man, that werewolf is awkward.
In the backyard, Janet hears Thor whining and yelping. She approaches cautiously, finding Thor bloodied. He’s been wounded, looks like he was slashed by the ear / top of his head. WHAT DOES THIS MEAN, WILL THOR TURN INTO WERE!THOR?? HOW DOES THIS WORK???? [Wing: Per Cursed it sure does mean that!] [bat: Zipper was the real MVP of Cursed.]
Janet ushers Thor inside, Thor is still trying to get into the woods and fight were!Ted. Janet assures the good doggo everything is okay and finally gets him inside but DOESN’T LOCK THE DOOR WHAT THE FUCK? Next she’s on the phone with the sheriff, reporting the incident as she cleans Thor with a rag. Next we see Thor enter Brett’s room and jump on the bed, laying across the kid in a protective way. Brett sleepily pets Thor. YOU DO NOT DESERVE SUCH A GOOD DOGGO, BRETT.
Oh no. Janet heads out into the backyard without Thor. She immediately walks to Ted’s trailer. I can see a light on in the window so… She knocks and calls to him. We get shitty killer POV, ugh. Ted has not turned back into human form. He snarls and waits in the treeline. Not getting an answer, Janet opens the door and enters the trailer. Clearly Ted isn’t home, Janet. She makes her way through the half-dark trailer before knocking into that accordion door. Picking up the stuff that’s fallen, she finds photographs of Ted and Marjorie, before turning to one of Marjorie’s shredded corpse. Gasping in horror, Janet flips through some more photos before opening the cover of a leather-bound book. With a glance at the trailer door, Janet begins to read Ted’s journal.
We switch to Ted doing a voice over as Janet reads. On December 28th he was back in the States and visited a doctor, who did a blood test that could not identify whatever infected Ted. Ted keeps track of the fact he’s blacking out and wakes up without memory of what has happened. He’s also waking in the woods covered in blood. SOMETHING MIGHT BE SERIOUSLY WRONG WITH YOU, TED. Especially if the blood you’re waking up cover in isn’t yours.
Outside the trailer, werewolf!Ted approaches.
We skip from December 1995 to May 1996;Ted says he’s tried every medical solution to cure himself of this “infection”. But he remains hopeful, as on this day Janet and Brett came to visit him. [Wing: Wait, we’ve jumped to how many months he was back without telling her? GIVE ME SOME GODDAMN CONTINUITY.] He notes Janet invited him to stay with her and Brett, and he hopes that if he spends time with family that the disease will go into remission. Ted thinks the restorative power of love, family love, will save him.
I’m guessing that Wing likes this concept, even though it clearly isn’t going to work in this film. But, it’s still a nice concept, that family or “pack” would keep a werewolf calm and perhaps under control.
[Wing: Keeping the werewolf calm, yes, I can get behind that. Remission and restorative power of love, I’m not so big on that part.]
Janet exits the trailer, clearly shaken by this new knowledge that her brother is totally a werewolf and has murdered a bunch of people and clearly there is no “wolf” or “grizzly bear” to blame for the killings. She heads back to the house, no sign of werewolf!Ted. BUT… WAIT!
OH GREAT, FLOPSY HAS RETURNED. AND HE’S ARMED WITH A CLEVER? WHAT THE FUCK?? [Wing: This guy.]
“Nobody makes a fucking fool outta me, lady!” he mumbles angrily to himself before turning to look at Thor’s doghouse. Dumbass also has a huge piece of meat in his other hand, as he calls “Here, poochie poochie!” OKAY IDIOT YOU 1) DESERVE TO DIE and 2) I HOPE YOU DIE VERY PAINFULLY.
*pauses to get popcorn and a chocolate cupcake to eat while watching*
Just then, werewolf!Ted rises up behind Flopsy, growling. Flopsy slowly turns round, expecting Thor, but encounters werewolf!Ted and screams. Ted roars and slashes Flopsy across the throat. It’s not as violent as I had hoped, but it’s effective. Ted’s claws also detached some of Flopsy’s fingers, which is visible as he holds up his mangled hand while staggering backwards, choking on his own blood as it sprays everywhere.
There is no way Flopsy will be on his feet this long if he was losing that much blood. He stares and gurgles at werewolf!Ted, before Ted slaps him again, sending Flopsy flying through the air.
Thor watches out the window as Ted staggers home, wearing just the sweat pants and carrying the hoodie. Uncle Ted is all kinds of ripped, yo. He looks back to stare in return at Thor before entering the trailer. At the front door, the sheriff uses the knocker. The door immediately opens, because apparently Janet was waiting RIGHT THERE. She asks where he’s been. In reply, he pulls out a photo from his inner jacket pocket and asks if this is the man who was at Janet’s last month. She correctly identifies Flopsy, aka, Jerry Mills, who is OBVIOUSLY DEAD NOW. The sheriff informs Janet they found the body a couple of miles from her house, out on the road. Werewolf!Ted is sending a warning? Cool!
“He was torn open by a big animal, like a wolf!” Um. So we’re gone from grizzly bears (which are BIGGER than wolves) to wolves now? WTF? “Or a dog, is that it?” Janet asks. OH FUCK NO, THE SHERIFF IS BLAMING THOR? OH FUCK I HATE THIS PLOT TWIST. FUCK YOU ALL FOR GOING AFTER THOR. YOU BETTER SAVE THOR, TED.
I knew it, I just knew I’d end up hating this movie, damn it.
The sheriff is basing this on the fact Janet called the last time Flopsy was at the house and “allegedly” nearly took a bite out of the trespasser, so now the sheriff thinks Thor finished the job. Janet admits that Thor got in a fight last night with something or “someone” and has cuts all over him. Janet, no! DON’T YOU FALL FOR THIS LINE OF THINKING! DAMN IT.
She brings up the killings in Timberline and the sheriff is all, nah that’s 200 miles from here and no animal would travel that far. [Wing: Dude, a grizzly bear can range up to 600 square miles. You can fuck off into the sea.] YOU SIR ARE AN IDIOT. Janet asks if the slayings could be committed by a human being. Shit, lady, you just read your brother’s journal where he’s clearly ill and you think he did it, but can’t believe he’s actually a werewolf? I mean, I can’t say for sure that Ted never used that term in his journal; it was clearly couched to never say that word but to talk of an infection. But C’MON, Janet.
“No chance at all,” the sheriff says. It was done by a big animal. A BIG ANIMAL WHO DOESN’T TRAVEL APPARENTLY. Because no man could butcher all those people. CLEARLY THE SHERIFF HAS NEVER WATCHED A SINGLE EPISODE OF HANNIBAL.
The sheriff insists that wolves are the probably culprits of the hikers’ and Flopsy’s deaths. I guess we’ve abandoned grizzlies! Sigh. “Very big wolves but not a man,” sheriff insists. I REALLY HOPE SHERIFF MEETS BIG MAN WOLF SOON.
Now the sheriff wants to know why she asked such a question. Janet shrugs it off. Sheriff says he’ll be in touch. At least he didn’t try to take Thor into custody or something. Oh shit, I spoke too soon. He turns back and says he knows she loves Thor and if Thor attacked Flopsy he was only doing his job of protecting Janet and Brett. But putting that aside, once a dog becomes a biter and gets a taste for blood, well, he becomes dangerous and Janet better start shopping for another hound.
OKAY LOOK ASSHOLE. You could apply that theory to Cujo, Jr, because he bites when he’s fearful of strangers and is trying to protect his owners the only way he knows how. He’s never bitten me since that first meeting, mostly because we always make sure the owners and I are never in the house at the same time to confuse him. If you buy and train a dog to guard you, and someone trespasses with intent to harm you, and the dog does its job and attacks, you put the dog down? I’m not sure, Wing might chime in with legalese to thwart my theory, but I’m pretty sure I’m mostly right. Right? [Wing: There are certainly some places with a one-strike rule, but I have a hard time believing a place as rural as that would have any sort of strict rules, especially in the 90s.]
Janet clearly has some thinkin’ to do. Thor is still in the kitchen, watching the trailer, as Janet approaches and asks him what he’s up to this morning. She’s clearly sadden and buying into the idea that Thor is dangerous. I KNOW, MAYBE TED TURNED THOR AND HE AND THOR CAN RUN AWAY TOGETHER AND BE DOGGO PALS TOGETHER AND LIVE HAPPILY EVER AFTER.
Asking if he wants to go outside, Janet opens the door and watches Thor head right to Ted’s trailer. Quelle surprise. Thor waits and soon the door opens, Ted stepping out, showered and dressed. Soon Janet is out the back door and headed towards the trailer. She demands to know where her brother was last night. “I went for a run,” Ted tells her. “All night?” Janet cries, disbelieving he didn’t hear or see anything. Ted stares at Thor then winks, which is enough to make Thor lunge and bite Ted’s arm. Ted and Janet both begin the shout, Ted demanding Janet get Thor off him, Janet screaming at Thor to let go. Thor manages to rip Ted’s shirt and bloody his forearm before Janet pulls him off her brother.
Yeah, Ted is totally setting Thor up. Now I hate Ted. YOU RUINED MY AWESOME MOVIE IDEA, TED.
Thor is trying to get back to finish off Ted, as Ted crawls up the trailer steps. Janet struggles with the dog, pulling him by the collar back down the hill. Ted gets a smug look on his face and I want to punch him. Janet finally gets Thor in the house, struggling with him, screaming “bad dog!” at him. Yeah, that’s going to help. She finally shoves him into the laundry room and totally buys into the “mad dog” idea the sheriff planted, as she sniffles. Thor paws at the door, whining, before laying down in front of it.
Okay everybody in this movie can die, Thor can come live with me.
Time passes. Thor still lies in front of the door. The door opens, and Janet immediately grabs Thor’s collar, talking sweetly to him, as she leads him down the hall and into the noose of a dog catcher. OH MY FUCKING GOD I HATE YOU ALL NOW. The dog catcher drags Thor towards the front door, only to have a second dog catcher as a second noose and I AM SO ANGRY RIGHT NOW. Brett, who apparently just woke up, runs down the hall in his pyjammas screaming for Thor to come back. Janet catches and holds onto her son, and I’m like now I’m #teamBrett?!
Janet insists there’s nothing to be done and they have to take Thor. LOOK JANET YOU ARE FULLY RESPONSIBLE FOR THIS ONE. She tells Brett Thor is dangerous. I’m sorry if you ended up liking Janet, Wing, but I REALLY DO NOT LIKE HER RIGHT NOW. [Wing: NOPE. I knew I shouldn’t let myself trust a goddamn lawyer.] Brett screams that it’s not true, and he’s right. Thor drags both dog catches back up the front walk towards Brett and Janet. He nearly makes it onto the porch and this is extremely difficult for me to watch.
AND THEN ASSHOLE TED WALKS THROUGH THE FRONT DOOR TO VIEW HIS SUCCESS. He waves at Thor and Thor goes ballistic. The dog catchers move him towards the van. Janet isn’t really crying anymore. Ted thinks he’s won, puts his arm around Janet’s shoulders. She immediately becomes uncomfortable. FOR SOMEONE VICIOUSLY ATTACKED, TED IS PRETTY QUIET. At least Brett is sobbing. Ted escorts them all back in the house and slams the door.
Out in the back yard, Ted walks over to Thor’s doghouse and yanks down his fly, peeing on it. OH FOR FUCK’S SAKE, IF I DIDN’T HAVE ENOUGH REASONS FOR YOU TO DIE, TED. [Wing: I did laugh. This is some petty werewolf shit.]
We’re past dinner and having dessert, a real quiet affair. Brett picks at his pie, Janet looks stressed and scared. Ted stares at Janet and Brett, his arm bandaged. Ted starts in on bullshit about it being genetic and happening to German Shepherds. (This is BULLSHIT.) Janet and Brett stare at Ted. Brett counters that Thor is pedigree and it doesn’t happen to pedigrees. (Okay, um, not the most sound of arguments but sure.)
Janet changes the subject by inform Ted he needs to see a doctor for his arm. Ted declines, saying it’s only a flesh wound and no damage was done to veins and tendons. (???) She counters he needs a tetanus shot. Ted snaps he can give himself a tetanus shot. WAIT, IS TED A DOCTOR? I don’t remember this being stated in the first scene. Janet excuses herself, leaving her only child alone with a murderous serial killer.
Ted provokes Brett by saying he’s sorry about Thor. Brett gives him some hella side eye. I still hate you, you little brat, but that was excellent. Ted orders Brett to come here, as if Brett is a dog. Brett slams his napkin on the table and gets up. Ted pulls Brett to sit on his lap and informs him there will be other animals in his life. Janet returns at that instant, telling Brett it’s time for bed. Brett leaves the dining room. Ted and Janet stare at each other before Janet begins to clear the table.
Announcing he’ll retire too, Ted starts to leave. Janet stops him, asking him if she asks him a question, will be be truthful? Ted immediately agrees. “Where’s Marjorie?” Janet asks. (I CAN TELL YOU, JANET.) Ted replies Marjorie is in Seattle. OF COURSE JANET KNOWS THIS IS A LIE, SHE SAW THE NASTY PHOTOGRAPHS. You better be fucking realizing your huge ass mistake now, Janet, and get Thor back before it’s too late.
How the fuck is it still a full moon? And that moon is over the house in a clearly pieced together shot? WHAT IS TIME IN THIS MOVIE?
Upstairs, the lights go out in one of the windows. Brett packs a pair of fold-able pliers into a backpack, wearing his Letterman jacket and a baseball cap as he heads towards the windows. OHH THE KID IS PLANNING A JAILBREAK? STOP MAKING ME BE ON #TEAMBRETT MOVIE! Kid slides open his window, throws the bag down first, slides down the small section of roof before FALLING FROM THE SECOND STOREY and landing in one piece on the lawn, good lord, don’t try this at home.
[Wing: I kind of love this fucking kid.]
Brett runs over and grabs his bike, pedaling off into the night. In the back yard, the trailer door opens and Ted steps out, wearing his grey sweats again. He looks up at the full moon. OKAY REMEMBER HOW HE TOLD US IT DIDN’T MATTER WHAT PHASE OF THE MOON IT IS WHY DO THEY KEEP FOCUSING ON THE FULL MOON UGH. Ted heads off into the woods. Janet watches him leave through the kitchen window. She’s wearing a heavy rain jacket and carrying a large flashlight. Reaching up into the… uh… I don’t know what to call that? It’s a shelf over the window. Anyway, she pulls down a revolver? Okay, a revolver. I mean, the space is too small for a rifle, so gotta use what fits, I guess.
Janet pauses, touching the gun all over, clearly thinking this is ridiculous and can’t be happening but no, you totally read your brother’s journal, GO TAKE CARE OF THE PROBLEM. Since you totally threw Thor away, your one weapon who was doing his job of protecting you, and you IGNORED HIM AND CALLED HIM DANGEROUS.
Slamming the revolver back into its hiding space, Janet exits the house armed only with the flashlight. Ugh. She stalks slowly towards the woods.
APPARENTLY THEY AREN’T THAT FAR OUTSIDE TOWN, because Brett is making excellent time and is riding his bike through the nearly-empty streets. We are given a weird artsy shot of the moon hidden behind trees and clouds. Why? [Wing: Pretty though.]
Janet continues her midnight walk through the woods. Brett arrives at a locked and chained gate, with a sign that denotes it is the pound. Sure, this kid totally knows where that is? Right. He drops his bike and immediately starts pulling on the padlock. WHAT THE FUCK KID. He opens his backpack and removes the pliers, trying to use them to unlock the padlock. THAT’S NOT HOW THOSE WORK, KID. Also, there’s a giant black dog in the background watching him and for some reason it made me start laughing. Brett fails to make progress on the padlock so he shakes the gates and yells “C’mon!” Suddenly flood lights come on. “Oh shit!” Brett screams. Wow, now I can’t stop laughing. This is the catelyst for Brett to climb the fucking fence. The light shows the dogs are all kept in outdoor paddocks, which explains the dog behind Brett earlier.
Brett runs down the line, yelling for Thor. This is not how you perform a quiet jailbreak, Brett.
[Wing: This kid is dumb but at least he’s trying.]
Back in the woods, god I hate when movies keep flipping back and forth between characters so quickly, Janet is still slowly making her way deeper into the trees. She rounds a bend, clearly sees something, then hurries up to come to a stop. In the distance, Ted stands facing a tree, shirtless. He’s mumbling to himself and I don’t think he’s put the handcuffs on yet. Suddenly he sniffs the air. “Sis? Janet?” He calls. “Is it you?”
“Yeah, Ted,” Janet walks the distance. “What the hell’s going on?” Ted informs her that she’s caught him at an awkward moment, that he was just about to restrain himself. The wound from the werewolf that attacked Ted and Marjorie is still visible, a mostly healed over scar. Ted says not that Janet it is here, restraining himself is pointless. Janet demands he come clean. Ted staggers around a bit before backing up against the tree. He tells Janet he thought family love could save him but he was wrong and everyone makes mistakes.
“YOU SENT THE DOG TO THE POUND, JANET. I WARNED YOU!” Ted insists he told her he shouldn’t be here but she wouldn’t let him go. Um, wait, that is decidedly not what I got out of those scenes, not at all. Wing? [Wing: Yeah, no, you’re a fucking liar now, Ted. A fucking liar.]
Ted starts to rant that Janet always has to be right but this time she’s wrong and she should have listened to her dog. OKAY SEE I’VE BEEN SAYING THAT SINCE THE START OF THE MOVIE.
“He was trying to protect you,” Ted moans as he begins to shake and turn circles, clearly the change is coming upon him. We hear the crunching of bones shifting, which is a cool thing for a horror movie, before Ted falls to the ground. In the next shot, he’s had some SFX makeup applied to show his body changing. His eyes are changed and his teeth are forming into sharp fangs. He laughs and mocks the handcuffs as Janet stares on in horror. (YAY! NO CGI!) The handcuffs were to keep people from finding out about his “private affair, his mistress” (the moon?) but Janet already knows, doesn’t she. Janet begins to scream and trips over a root, falling to the ground.
Ted laughs and begins to fully change and now there’s some CGI (boo) to morph him further along into werewolf form, as he demands Janet comes back and calls her a stupid bitch. Sigh. We still get some practical effects, like Ted’s werwolf foot destroying the tennis shoe. Janet is running, fleeing for her life.
Back at the pound, Brett still hasn’t found Thor. All the other doggos are excited to see someone who isn’t the dog catcher. Suddenly Brett finds Thor’s pen and tells the dog he’ll get him out. HOW, EXACTLY, YOU PLANNED POORLY FOR THIS JAILBREAK, BRETT.
Janet is still running, having lost her flashlight. Werewolf!Ted is fully transformed and roars, turning in the direction Janet is running. Brett somehow figures out the flimsy lock on the gate and opens it, freeing Thor, who takes off running but is soon stymied by the gate. Janet is still running, werewolf!Ted crashing through the forest behind her, hot on her heels. Brett yells at Thor they have to get out of the pound. Thor uses the conveniently parked truck to climb onto and jump over the fence. Yeah, I saw that coming a mile away. “Oh yes!” Brett cries.
Thor runs through town. Brett suddenly appears on his bike, pedaling as fast as his little legs can manage. Local traffic thinks nothing of this. Werewolf!Ted bursts through trees. Thor continues to run, dodging traffic that is literally leaving the correct lane in order to hit the dog, what the fuck. Janet has made it back to the house. She gets inside, locks the back door, and goes for the revolver. YEAH YOU SHOULD HAVE TAKEN IT WITH YOU, JANET. Oh, now she has to stop and LOAD it. Lord. YOU’RE IN A HORROR MOVIE, WOMAN.
Doesn’t matter, she doesn’t get a single bullet loaded before werewolf!Ted comes crashing through the picture window. Janet screams. Werewolf!Ted stands up and snarls and I’m left wondering how they thought that weird set of teeth during the transformation scene turns into this obvious set of fangs. I mean, granted, it’s the correct amount of teeth, not like those fake plastic fangs that have three tiny teeth in the middle of fangs, but still.
Janet continues to scream hysterically, with good reason, and runs out of the kitchen. But it doesn’t matter because she just runs in a circle, right into werewolf!Ted, who swipes his paw at her. He breaks the banister railing but Janet gets away, climbing up to pull the handy dandy grandfather clock that just happens to be there so it falls and smashes on werewolf!Ted.
Pretty sure if smashing through a window didn’t stop him, time isn’t going to stop him, either.
SOMEHOW, because plot says so, Thor has arrived at the house! He charges up the front lawn, barking. Meanwhile, Janet has managed to get into Brett’s room, the revolver still in her hand. She slams the door shut and starts screaming Brett’s name. Well, of course, his bed is empty. Werewolf!Ted’s claws shred through the door before his fist punches through and he tries to grab Janet. She screams and jumps away but not before Ted slams through the door. Janet falls to the floor and I don’t see the revolver in her hand anymore.
Thor finds the back window smashed and uses it as a convenient entrance. Upstairs, werewolf!Ted howls/snarls and I must admit, this is a pretty amazing piece of SFX makeup. He advances on Janet. Thor charges up the stairs and hops onto werewolf!Ted’s back. He sinks his teeth into the back of the werewolf’s neck, as werewolf!Ted flails about, trying to dislodged the German Shepherd. Janet grabs the revolver. Werewolf!Ted body slams a very fake stuffed stand-in against the wall and dresser. Janet uses this time to load the revolver very slowly.
Werewolf!Ted finally dislodges Thor, who whips back up and flies into the werewolf’s face, snarling and snapping. It looks like werewolf!Ted has a pretty nasty bite on his shoulder but I’m not sure that was evident until now. Thor slams him into lamp which sparks and dies out, as well as totally destroying Brett’s desk unit.
Downstairs, Brett drops his bike on the lawn and rushes towards the house, screaming for Janet.
Thor and the werewolf starts some weird slap fighting. Thor is covered in (fake) blood and werewolf!Ted looks like he’s play fighting with the dog. I mean, it’s supposed to be violent looking and I think that’s sort of achieved but really, they all clearly didn’t want to hurt the dog actor and it shows. This fighting goes on for a while until the FAKE ASS STUFFED STUNT PLUSH sinks its teeth into werewolf!Ted’s neck. Blood splatters all over the shutter doors to Brett’s closet.
Werewolf!Ted struggles against the bite before getting a hold of and THROWING the fake ass stuffed stunt plush into the ceiling, where it hits the light fixture and falls to the floor. Which is just when Brett rushes in because he’s an idiot. Yeah, yeah, I know, wants to help his mom and Thor but sometimes it’s better to stay out of the way!
And that’s when werewolf!Ted grabs Brett by the throat. He slowly lifts Brett off the ground a the child chokes.
Janet stands up, revolver aimed at the werewolf, and screams, “Get the fuck off my son!” I mean, sort of accurate? Could have been better.
Janet shoots werewolf!Ted, who drops Brett. She then fires eight more times, hitting werewolf!Ted most of the time, until he’s backed up against the window. The revolver clicks, empty. Oops. Janet stares at the werewolf. Brett stares at the werewolf, with a relatively convincing makeup job to convey his bruised throat. THOR RISES FROM THE FLOOR! He stands up, in front of Janet, and growls.
Werewolf!Ted looks down at Thor and snarl/growls back. Thor launches at werewolf!Ted and they both crash through the window, onto the roof, and down to the ground. (This is laughably bad, what with the bloodied plush stunt double for Thor looking exactly as described.) Janet clutches Brett, who is magically at her side.
The werewolf and Thor lay in the yard, bloodied, mangled, and probably dying. Werewolf!Ted struggles to his knees and rises. It looks real bad for Thor, whose whole side is bloody and torn. (Excellent SFX makeup on the dog. Well, it’s just blood but it looks really effective in the moonlight.) Thor lifts his head and watches werewolf!Ted storm off into the woods. Thor rises and walks away, as the shot dissolves into a scene of sunrise.
Ominous music plays as Thor walks through the woods. He follows the trail, we get more stupid doggo POV, what does time mean because I’m pretty sure if Thor was that grievously wounded, he would not be doing this YES I KNOW IT’S A DAMN MOVIE AND PLOT SAYS SO. He finally stops at the base of a very large, moss-covered redwood or something. Ted appears from behind it, human again, bloodied and wounded. Oh whoa, way wounded, that’s some more great SFX makeup on display.
It seems Ted wasn’t able to entirely heal all the wounds, so he’s pretty weak and subdued as Thor takes a few more steps closer. Ted looks up at the sky, then back at Thor. “Do it!” he harshly demands. Thor growls again and Ted starts to command the dog again when Thor barks and leaps up and we hear a wet tearing sound. We never see the body but it is implied Thor has killed Ted.
Back at the house, the window has already been replaced. WTH. Different kind of window, though. Upstairs, Thor lays on the floor of one of the bedrooms as both Janet and Brett pet him. Janet tells Thor that he saved them, he’s a hero. Suddenly he roars, his face twisted and changed into some sort of werewolf-dog hybrid. Janet screams herself awake. (They had to get at least one last jump scare in, you know it.) [Wing: Shame, though, I would be happy with a werewolf Thor movie.]
Brett screams in his mother’s face, “IS EVERYTHING OKAY!?” and Janet is all oh, yeah, totally. Thor greets both of them, wrapped heavily in cotton pads and ace bandages BUT I HAVE QUESTIONS. If Janet surrendered him to the pound, why are they not trying to take him back? If he was marked DANGEROUS then wouldn’t that be their first objective? Then when they find him absolutely covered in bandages, wouldn’t that make it worse for Thor being known as a dangerous dog?
NEVER GONNA GET ANSWERS BECAUSE THAT’S WHERE THE DAMN FILM ENDS.
Credits roll, movie over.
We here at Point Horror are always #TeamAnimals in films and really hate when good doggos get hurt and killed. And personally, I really hate animal films, because they are too emotional and I just can’t deal. So this on me for picking a movie I didn’t research until after committing to it. Damn it.
THAT SAID, Bad Moon wasn’t bad. It wasn’t great; the concept was a really good one, but it was pretty standard pat werewolf movie with a dog twist. I can’t say I’m going to go find the novel it was based on because I wouldn’t want to read it for fear something really happens to Thor. So I don’t know what, if anything, was changed, and if anything was changed, was it better or worse than what ended up in the movie.
As for the actual werewolf suit, makeup, and SFX, 10/10, that was pretty damn great. Yeah, it’s obviously a suit, but they didn’t over do it on basic CGI and they used practical effects, so that’s always a win in my book.
[Wing: I was pleasantly surprised by the werewolf effects in this movie! It looks like it should be much cheaper and cheesier, and that part was kind of delightful.
I’m often weary of reluctant male werewolves who mope, but I liked how Ted kept tipping toward anger and that he committed suicide by dog at the end to stop himself.
I wish the timeline was clearer and more consistent, and I hate how Janet and Brett both read about Ted’s werewolf research and still carry the idiot ball multiple times, but it wasn’t a terrible werewolf movie at all.]