The GeeksverseFull Moon Features (pt. 1)

Full Moon Features (pt. 1)
Published on Sunday, September 25, 2011 by

Sometimes I load my DVD player full of movies that I have studied in classes and think about the misen scene of the shots and how that impacts the layered themes of the film. Other times I throw in something just to sit back and enjoy. Occasionally those intersect. I’ve paused a moment to write a column about the inconsistent product from Asylum which I enjoy exploring. One of the other independent film companies that I enjoy is Full Moon Features which is helmed by writer, director, producer, etc. Charles Band. Having roots in straight to VHS gems this company is still turning out volumes of films.

Full Moon Features most famous film franchise is the Puppet Master films. Although Full Moon turns out much more than just the story of Toulon’s stringless folly.

Full Moon Features is the current undertaking of filmmaker Charles Band. Band is an auteur of cult classics. While, earlier entrepreneur efforts may have failed, like Empire Pictures, but they also turned out VHS classics like Ghoulies. Ghoulies is a family affair for Charles Band and his father. Since Band’s father was also in the industry and together they mastered the video store shelves. At the height of Empire they were turning out 12 theatrical and 12 direct to video films a year which is a maddening pace. A wide variety of product occurred before the company failed leaving behind a long list of cult classics in the catalog.

Currently, Full Moon keeps the costs down by aiming solely at the home audience. Skipping large silver screen releases and media junkets Band is now using the internet and smaller media to market cult classics in the making and other films. Full Moon Feature films can be found on rental store shelves, if you can still find rental stores.

You can’t discuss Full Moon without discussing Charles Band. You can’t discuss either without discussing the six volume series: Puppet Master. Echo Bridge Entertainment has 2 three packs that collect the entire series with minimal special features. This entire collection can be found for $10 or less since each DVD can be found in the five dollar bin at Wal-Mart. Other sets are available for the serious puppet fan. Fans can also pick up the iconic characters to bring home via the internet. Larger, more impressive box sets, are available from Full Moon, for collectors that desire more than a bare bones Wal-Mart package.

Puppet Masters aren’t the only foray into small characters by Charles Band and Full Moon Features. Demonic Toys, Dollman, Dangerous Worry Dolls, Doll Graveyard, Head of the Family and other films capitalize on terror coming in small packages. It is in miniature that Charles Band and company make their biggest contribution to film. In film after film the Full Moon team tackle the daunting task of “minaturizing” characters, actors, and special effects to become larger than life on screen. Over the course of films they have used nearly every film trick in the book. Forced perspective, miniatures, close ups, blue screens, and other tricks help suspend disbelief and capture terror in all sizes. Demons, aliens, and victims all shift in size in these movies. Full Moon and company should receive credit for their visual effects merely because of how often they shift perspectives shrinking actors to pint size fun. Criticized for overly milking the same stock material over and over, it should be celebrated for the camera work.

Besides their perspective shifting tricks, the Full Moon company has created a wide variety of evil villains. From dolls to bongs to movie replicas everything has tried to kill someone in a Full Moon Feature. Check out the Killer Eye: Halloween Haunt Trailer.

Speaking of Killer Eye, another aspect that Full Moon has exposed on film is a plethora of beautiful screaming women. Sometimes in horror and sometimes in other fun genres like pioneering surrender cinema. Some movies need no explanations like Slave Girls From Beyond Infinity or Sorority Babes in Slimeball Bowl-a-Rama. Or perhaps they do take explanation if you can’t tell which of the last two titles contain a genie trapped in a trophy that ultimately leads to mayhem. These scripts are wildly creative even if they often struggle with dialogue or logic.

The women heavy films perhaps explain why they sell Monsterbras. Or perhaps the answer lies within Evil Bong. You’ll have to pop it in to find out. One area where Full Moon excels over other cottage industry independent producers, like Asylum, is merchandising. Merchandising has help solidify Killer Eyes, Monster Bongs, and Puppets as cult bywords and a significant contribution to cultural currency for at home horror aficionados. Every movie that Full Moon Features makes sticks it to the large studio system that tries to control creativity, although some do more than others: Cut Throat. Check out the description for Cut Throat:

A group of young filmmakers get an offer from a major movie studio executive to use the studio’s lot to a make their low-budget horror film. When the already budget-deficient film runs out of money, a psychotic masked killer begins to kill the cast and crew.

In my Asylum column I highlighted a few films to review. The long list of Full Moon Features makes picking just a few to review difficult. I’ve picked a few favorites from my collection to say a few brief words in the next installments. Check back. Until then, speak your mind on the Pryde Forum about the last films you’ve watched.

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