The GeeksverseFull Moon Features (pt 2)

Full Moon Features (pt 2)
Published on Monday, October 17, 2011 by

As discussed in the part 1, Full Moon is Charles Band and Charles Band is Full Moon. Neither can be mentioned without a discussion of the eight volume series: Puppet Master. Puppet Master has become a staple in horror fan collections for a reason. This eight movie series is truly a cult classic.

Puppet Master collection

Echo Bridge Entertainment has 2 three packs that collect the entire series with minimal special features. Nearly the entire collection can be found for $10 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. Oddly enough, when I bought the second volume of films Wal-Mart carded me to ensure that I was over 18. I found this funny since I remember watching these movies as a young kid, rented from the local video store and at friend’s homes on cable. I grew up watching this series. I bought the series out of pure nostalgia but soon found something completely different. I was surprised to find a series of films that worked well.

The initial premise of Puppet Master seems to be a story that follows several homicidal puppets as they kill without strings. It is a horror film franchise which focuses on a group of puppets animated by an Egyptian spell, each equipped with their own unique and dangerous device. Each puppet is completely original not only in design but also in personality. A core group of puppets is seen on film over and over but films add characters along the way. Produced by Full Moon Features, the series was established in 1989 with the eponymous first installment, which has since been followed by seven sequels (plus a crossover with Demonic Toys), a comic book spin-off and numerous other collector’s items. In 2010, its latest sequel, Puppet Master: Axis of Evil.

Puppet Master #1-Eternity Comics

There is a magical place between film and comics where imagination runs rampant with the characters. The transactional experience is the experience of a text existing as a living document, not dead on a page–or screen–but interacting with the minds of the reader/viewer. The transactional experience with Puppet Master, on film or on comic page, is a playful and deadly place. The viewer cannot help but imagine the gruesome potential and devilish delights created by such a visually different cast of characters. Cowboys, nazis, and trench coat clad murderers all dance to their own jig in these movies. That is part of the magic of these seven movies and more.

Series in Chronological Order
Retro Puppet Master
Puppet Master III: Toulon’s Revenge
Puppet Master: Axis of Evil
Puppet Master
Puppet Master 2
Puppet Master 4
Puppet Master 5: The Final Chapter
Curse of the Puppet Master
Puppet Master: Legacy
Puppet Master vs Demonic Toys

Puppet Masters aren’t the only small characters in big stories 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 that capitalizes on characters in all sizes.

In the next part of the Full Moon Features installment motorcycles, women, bongs and other horrors. Until then, tell us about movies you’ve watched and speak your mind on the Pryde Forum.

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