Miscasting and klutzy plot development take the shine out of Mad at the Moon, a Wild West amour fou movie that sprouts hairs half-way and turns into a werewolf pic. The second picture by Argentinian-born Martin Donovan, who staked a cult film claim with the quirky Apartment Zero, shows the same glee in blending genres and going for broke. The main problems here are accepting topliner Mary Stuart Masterson as a 25-year-old virgin and figuring out a storyline that takes a left turn 50 minutes in.
Pretty but repressed Jenny (Masterson) has a backstreets rendezvous with charismatic bum Miller Brown (Hart Bochner), whom she’s had the hots for since childhood. Despite her secret desires, she bows to the wishes of her mom (Fionnula Flanagan) and marries local milquetoast James Miller (Stephen Blake), the bum’s half-brother.
Things begin to go awry (with the pic, too) as soon as the couple settle in James’ remote farmhouse. The marriage is unconsummated, Miller haunts the plains outside and Jenny experiences hubby’s ‘moonsickness’, during which he starts howling and turns partly vulpine.
Still, Donovan shows he has talent to spare as a pure technician. Pic works best when no one’s talking and Donovan can stoke up the atmosphere via sound, music and images alone.