March 9, 2020 — today! — is not only a full moon night, it’s the first supermoon of the year.
When the full moon coincides with “perigee” (the point in the moon’s elliptic orbit where it’s closest to the earth), it’s called a supermoon! The moon doesn’t actually change its size; however, due to its closer proximity to our planet, it appears much larger. It usually looks pretty dang awesome.
If you’re reading this after March 9, 2020 and missed tonight’s supermoon, fear not: We have a second supermoon next month! April 7, 2020 is also a supermoon night. But, if you miss the one in April, you’ll have to wait until 2021 for the next supermoon.
2020 is a special year where full moons are concerned. In addition to two supermoon appearances, we also have 13(!) full moons instead of the usual twelve. The additional full moon — a blue moon! — will be showing up on Halloween night. How cool is that?! I’m officially hyped.
The Super Worm Moon
Today’s supermoon is known as the super “worm” moon.
Full moon names are usually kinda wacky/fun and were, in the old days, used to denote and track seasonal events. March’s full moon (which is a supermoon this year! Hence super worm moon) is called the Worm Moon because this is the time of the year when earthworms — and slugs and grubs and other underground squishy friends — reappear.
Like most horror fans, I usually think of werewolves and werewolf movies during the full moon. However, with today’s Worm Moon supermoon, I think it’d be fun to also enjoy some worm-focused horror movies as well!
So, while I’m writing this post as a part of HorrorFam.com’s “Werewolf Week,” and will be sharing some of my favorite werewolf movies for full moon/supermoon viewing, I’ll also include some great worm movies as a bonus.
5 Best Werewolf Movies for Tonight’s Supermoon
As with our most recent podcast episode, “best” refers to the movies that I, personally, enjoyed the most. If your favorites didn’t make my list, feel free to recommend/share them in the comments!
1. The Wolfman (1941)
If you’d like to kick it old-school during tonight’s supermoon, you can’t go wrong with this Universal classic. Technically, Werewolf of London (1935) was Universal’s first werewolf film — and you’re more than welcome to watch it for history/film buff “cred” — but The Wolfman is, overall, more enjoyable.
I didn’t hate the 2010 remake (it had some fun scenes!); however, The Wolfman tells the exact same story and takes less time to do it. The remake had some noticeable pacing issues due to dragging out its simple tale for an additional 33 minutes.
Plus, zero shade towards Benicio del Toro (he’s great in other movies), but Lon Chaney, Jr. completely aced his role as the Wolfman. He’s slightly sleazy when he’s a human “wolf” pre-lycanthropy infection (but also charming enough that you kinda let it slide), wonderfully stressed-the-F-out as Larry Talbot (human self, post-lycanthropy infection), and goes all out to be energetically wolfy once he’s fully-transformed.
Speaking of transformations: The Wolfman‘s full moon werewolf transformation special effects still hold up nearly 80 years later!
Lon Chaney, Jr. reprised his role as the Wolfman in several sequels. They don’t all focus on his character (or on werewolves/werewolfism), so I didn’t include them in my “official” werewolf movies list. However, if you adore the Wolfman as a character, and want to see more of him, check out:
- Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man
- The House of Frankenstein
- House of Dracula
- Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein
2. Silver Bullet (1985)
Silver Bullet has held a special place in my heart for longer than I can remember. It’s a top-notch werewolf movie — perfect for your supermoon movie-watching playlist — but it’s also significant for its disabled hero.
I learned how to roll before I learned how to walk. I was born without my right hip and, although Children’s Hospital LA built me a new one (via bone grafting), I spent a fair chunk of time in my child-sized wheelchair. Many of my earliest memories involve my full-body cast and my wheelchair…
Watching Marty, Silver Bullet‘s wheelchair-bound hero — a fellow child with a physical disability! — bravely squaring up against the scary-lookin’ werewolf meant a lot to me. If Marty could handle his disability and fight monsters… I could, surely, deal with my (monster-free) physical pains and be okay.
Although my hip replacement surgery was a success and I’ve been enormously blessed with the ability to walk, I remember that time of my life as if it were yesterday. Whenever my hip acts up in the cold or the rain (like this week!), I remember Marty from Silver Bullet. What’s a little rain compared to fighting off a friggin’ werewolf, right?
At 95 minutes, Silver Bullet takes us through several months of werewolf mayhem (he attacks every full moon!) but does so at a good pace. Even a small child would be able to guess who the “mystery” werewolf is; however, that doesn’t take away from its overall enjoyment. And the special effects are fantastic!
The one cringe-factor, for me, in recent viewings is watching Gary Busey (as the child hero’s uncle) tinkering around with motorcycles. It’s hard not to think about his real-life motorcycle accident — a mere three years later! — and the resulting brain damage he incurred. Very sad.
That said, Busey was fantastic in his role in this movie. And you also get to see Everett McGill (Big Ed from Twin Peaks) sporting a stylish eyepatch!
3. An American Werewolf in London (1981)
What can I say? The 1980s were a great decade for werewolf movies! If you want a few chuckles along with your scares tonight, this horror-comedy classic makes for perfect supermoon viewing.
Two backpacking besties (David Naughton as David and Griffin Dunne as Jack) are trekking their way across the North York Moors. Despite warnings from the locals to stay off the roads during the full moon, David and Jack walk around at night — there wouldn’t be a movie if they didn’t! — and are attacked by a werewolf.
Jack (spoilers) is mauled to death whereas David escapes with his life… and a severe lycanthropy infection.
Written and directed by John Landis with stellar special effects by Rick Baker, An American Werewolf in London is a tightly-written movie with a ton of great one-liners and some of the absolute best werewolves (and werewolf transformation sequences!) put on film.
I’m especially fond of all the scenes with Jack. Yep, being mauled to death doesn’t keep him out of the movie. He comes back as a zombie-like, rapidly deteriorating ghost in order to have post-death chats with David.
Plus, if you’re a fan of oldies, you’ll love the movie’s soundtrack. It’s ironically upbeat for the subject matter and features some wonderful doo-wop singles.
4. Kibakichi: Bakko-yokaiden (2004)
This little-known Japanese horror flick is one of my all-time favorite werewolf movies. If you’re craving a foreign film for the full moon, Kibakichi should be your supermoon movie go-to!
If you’ve read Clive Barker’s Cabal (which became the movie Nightbreed), some of the themes may feel familiar to you. As in, there’s a “tribe” of monsters living on the outskirts of town.
Yep, in addition to having a werewolf main character, you’ll also be treated to a TON of other wonderful monsters. Throughout Kibakichi‘s delightfully weird hour-and-a-half, you’ll see more Yōkai (Japanese folklore monsters, spirits, and demons) than you can count!
In this movie, the werewolf is 100% the hero. He’s a noble samurai werewolf who battles (far-less-honorable) monsters in order to save the day.
This film was released as DVD-only in the United States, but it’s worth grabbing a copy for your collection. It’s sometimes sold under the name Werewolf Warrior. As of this writing, it’s $9.98 on Amazon; but I’ve seen it go for as low as three dollars. It occasionally shows up on streaming services as well.
5. The Howling (1981)
Long before Ginger Snaps (Shudder’s featured movie this month!), we had female werewolves in The Howling.
This movie is at the bottom of my list of werewolf faves due to the trigger warning-worthy rape aspects and weird sexual stuff (the main character has pretty much the worst husband ever — points off for marital infidelity!); however, it still made my Top Five because I dig the multiple werewolf transformations.
Dee Wallace is one of those performers who’s always absolutely amazing in every role she plays. As the adorable television news anchor, and the movie’s heroine, she carries this film. In the lulls when there aren’t any lycanthropes on screen, Dee will getcha through.
Plus, Dick Miller is in the movie! I always give extra points to movies with Dick Miller cameos. And, of course, a cameo by our beloved Forrest J. Ackerman.
At 91 minutes, The Howling tells a bonkers werewolf tale at a good clip. And there’s plenty of lil “easter eggs” for horror movie buffs — like the bulk of the characters being named after famous horror directors.
Give a hard pass to its sequel, Howling II, and watch the original. Though, if you want to watch a super-fun commentary video on The Howling II, check out JonTron’s review on YouTube. I nearly die laughing every time I watch it.
Honorable Mention: Michael Jackson’s Thriller (1983)
Don’t have time to watch an entire movie but still want to watch something with a kick-butt werewolf costume? Take 14 minutes out of your day and watch Thriller, one of the best music videos ever:
Great song, fantastic music video, and bonus points for including a (voice) cameo from Vincent Price!
4 Best Worm Horror Movies for the Supermoon
Not feeling werewolves for tonight’s supermoon? No worries. Since March 9, 2020’s full moon is also known as the “Worm” moon, I have some worm-related horror films you can watch:
1. Squirm (1976)
This isn’t my favorite worm-related horror movie; however, I put it at the very top of my list because — if you’re an absolute worm purist — this is the only movie on my list that has genuine worms (rather than “worm-like” monsters).
Basically, a lightning storm in Georgia strikes an electric transformer that falls and zaps the ground… causing the many, MANY worms underneath to wriggle out and become aggressive.
Squirm is one of those “so bad it’s (almost) good” horror movies that’s an absolute blast to watch with friends. Embrace the cheesiness and swap jokes with your buddies. Or, if you don’t have any friends available, watch the Mystery Science Theater 3000 version and let Mike and the robots enhance the humor.
This 1976 oddity is currently free-to-watch on Tubi TV.
WARNING: Do not be tempted to do a double-feature of 1970’s worm movies by including The Worm Eaters (also available on Tubi) on your viewing program. The Worm Eaters is not “so bad it’s good,” it’s just bad. Really, obnoxiously, grotesquely, annoying, unbearably, straight-up bad.
2. Night of the Creeps (1986)
Written and directed by Fred Dekker (the man who gave us The Monster Squad), Night of the Creeps features alien worms who turn folks into zombies.
I guess, technically, they’re more like alien slugs (their bodies aren’t segmented), but slugs come out during the Worm Moon too so… There ya go. Plus, this is one of my all-time favorite movies, in general, so I’d use pretty much any excuse to recommend it.
Like Silver Bullet, this film features a disabled character in an important role. Night of the Creeps‘ wisecracking “JC” Hooper is another character who’s near and dear to my heart (the crutches he gets around on are the same type I’d be using now if my childhood surgery had failed).
This horror-comedy has a ton of one-liners (you may need repeated viewings to catch all the jokes), fun special effects, and my favorite performance by Tom Atkins. If you adored Tommy in Halloween III, you’ll love him even more in Night of the Creeps as a loveably grumpy suicidal detective.
Be sure you watch the full version with the “alternate” ending. The theatrical release cut the ending short and some DVD/Blu-Ray versions don’t include the additional footage. Fortunately, as of this writing, Crackle has Night of the Creeps available (free-to-watch!) with the full ending in-tact.
3. Slither (2006)
More alien slugs turning folks into zombies! While Slither has several humorous moments, unlike Night of the Creeps, the emphasis is more on the horror than the comedy.
Slither falls into the “body horror” genre, and has a Big Bad who’s similar, special effects-wise, to some of the monstrosities featured in the 1982 remake of The Thing. (There are some strong Junji Ito influences as well, if you’re a horror manga fan!).
This film bombed when it was released but has, since, become a cult classic — and rightly so!
4. Tremors (1990)
This one might be reaching a little bit where worm movies are concerned, but what the hey. I love this movie. Plus, the “graboids” are segmented so, if you want to get technical, they’re more “worm-like” than the slugs in my second and third picks!
However, the worm-like creatures in Tremors are HUGE! This fun-filled creature feature has some of the biggest worm monsters ever.
Tremors is action-packed, full of fantastic effects (their use of miniatures is top-notch!), suspenseful, and an all-around great time.
Want More Supermoon Fun?
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Lauren Spear (née Tharp) is the owner of LittleZotz Writing, a super-respectable multiple award-winning website for freelance writers. She’s also the HorrorFam.com founder! Lauren grew up in the horror industry (her parents did practical special FX work for many of the horror movies you love from the ’80s and ’90s) and basically created this site so she could freely gas on about creepy stuff and stop having to pretend to be normal.