Wednesday, October 21, 2015

31 Days of Halloween 2015: Blood Moon

2014, Jeremy Wooding -- download

So, low budget does not always mean low quality. In this case, very much so. Imagine a group of RPGers got together and decided to play a game of Boot Hill (the 1980s old west RPG) but mix it up with a bit of Halloween flavour -- add werewolves. Then they decide to LARP it. Then they decide that was so spectacular, it should be a movie. And that movie goes to Cannes and gets a distribution deal. I am not saying that is how this movie was made, but damn, that was how it felt. That was how it was scripted, directed and acted.

A stage coach full of travellers ends up in an abandoned town where they are set upon by some cartoon bank robbers, or at least that is what they sounded like to me. And I mean, close your eyes and think back to all those overly exaggerated cowboy villain voices you hear in cartoons -- now apply it to a couple of recognizable supporting actors playing the Norton Brothers. The only thing they were missing was the hat with the front flap folded up. The stage coach crowd consists of a marshall and his new wife, a preacher, a newspaper man from England, a sexy widow and a well dressed gun fighter. Almost immediately they are besieged by the werewolf. And killed off, so we don't get confused with too many NPCs.

Meanwhile a Sheriff from a nearby town is tracking the bank robbers with his drunken Indian sidekick. Other than being an offensive stereotype, she also exists to be exposition on Native American skinwalkers, so the movie can claim to have some mythological relevance to the Old West.

The movie wants to be a Bottle Episode, or single location, as the focus takes place inside the saloon in the abandoned town, with a limited number of characters in conflict with each other and the external danger.... but they keep on going outside. They also don't seem to be very scared. Oh the gunfighter should be the fearless one, as he seems to be the DM's favourite NPC with a mysterious, possible mystical background, but everyone else should be peeing their pants. Nope; everyone has no issue bucking up to fight the big hairy.

Said gunfighter also keeps on spouting a line that I think the writers believe we should know. When asked where he is from he answers, "I'd tell ya, but I don't think you'd have heard of it." Three times. Anyone know where that is from? Consider they make a tenuous connection to The Lost Boys, as the gunfighter was apparently on his way to Santa Carla to fight red eyed demons. Maybe it is a cowboy movie reference.

As for the werewolf himself, calling it a man in a rubber suit would be complimentary. It is a man in an old gorilla costume with a bad rubber werewolf head. It was just terrible, not even good enough to be considered a Halloween costume. From what I read elsewhere, even the director was not aware at how bad it looked till he saw it in a screening. See? The power of the table top RPG !

Now, normally, werewolf movies end with the reveal, changed back to human scene, and we recognize the werewolf from somewhere. Nope, other than the drunken Indian, who happened to also be a skinwalker, or half-skinwalker or whatever, hearing another wolf howl at the end, once the besieging werewolf is dead, the movie ends. Not sure if they understand how movies are supposed to end, but if it was just the DM pushing himself back from the table, all makes sense.