Full Moon Features: Mad at the Moon (1992)

In light of this month’s Total Lunar Supermoon Eclipse, it would be sweet if I had a totally super Full Moon Feature to share with you. Alas, this is not the case. Following the uptick in werewolf movies in the ’70s and ’80s, the ’90s found the hairy beasts on a brief decline before rallying in the new millennium. Part of this may be due to lackluster efforts like 1992’s Mad at the Moon, which premiered 30 years ago this month at the Seattle International Film Festival before landing on video, where it has spent decades misleading people into thinking it’s more about werewolves than it is.

In fact, the film is nearly half over before there’s even an inkling that there’s anything lycanthropic afoot, which means the viewer has to wade through nearly an hour of bookish Jenny Hill (Mary Stuart Masterson) mooning over unshaven drifter Miller Brown (Hart Bochner) while her meddlesome mother (Fionnula Flanagan) tries to broker a match with reclusive and socially awkward farmer James Miller (Stephen Blake). There’s some novelty to the Old West setting, but when a prostitute sees how Jenny pines after Miller Brown and advises her to “get on with it,” it’s impossible not to agree that the film as a whole needs to hurry up and get to the part where co-writer/director Martin Donovan reveals which one of his characters goes a little “mad” when the moon is full.

Unfortunately, the moment of truth when it comes is decidedly underwhelming, as is the resolution of the limp love triangle after Jenny’s mother goes to Miller Brown with “a business proposition” — namely, that he’ll stay with Jenny and “protect” her the next time the full moon comes around. Of course, that’s the night both men go out of their way to look presentable, which in James’s case goes a long way toward making him more attractive to his wife, so however things shake out, she’s sure to be content with whoever is left standing at the final curtain. If only the audience cared one way or the other.