Video stores were a staple of American culture for about forty years, and for many, their absence still stings. Sometimes too far ahead of the curve for his own good, Charles Band has been a part of the film industry’s numerous iterations. From the days of the drive-in to populating the video store shelves with his company’s latest efforts to digital streaming networks, Band has traversed all of it.
Having produced well over three-hundred feature films, the entrepreneurial businessman and filmmaker, often compared to Roger Corman and Lloyd Kaufman, has provided some of the industry’s top talent with their first opportunities, including John Carpenter, Demi Moore, Viggo Mortensen, and Helen Hunt to name a few.
We got a chance to catch up with the B-movie titan and host of the new Full Moon Freakshow Podcast to talk about his upcoming slate of twenty new titles that will creep their way into the Full Moon streaming service over the next twelve months.
Charles Band Paves the Way
Son of prolific producer and director Albert Band, Charles Band grew up in the film industry, absorbing trade secrets from his dad. He formed Empire Pictures in 1983, which was responsible for such 1980s cult classics as Troll, Re-Animator, Ghoulies, Robot-Jox, TerrorVision, Trancers, Rawhead Rex, From Beyond, Dolls, and The Dungeonmaster, among countless others.
Band simultaneously was the founder of Media Home Entertainment, distributing a huge inventory of VHS tapes and LaserDiscs to retailers across the planet, including films from New Line Cinema like The Hidden and the Nightmare on Elm Street franchise. Most of the Cannon Films library was included, as well as many other high profile films like Halloween, The Beatles Magical Mystery Tourand Santa Claus The Movie.
Band has a holistic understanding of the film business that has helped keep him afloat in an ever-changing realm of technology and distribution models. Throughout all of it, he continued to produce and direct clever and original titles celebrating his appreciation of a weird and kitschy aesthetic.
Often employing his imaginative use of comic book-inspired imagery – gonzo galactic aliens, creepy toys, puppets, and dolls – all with a savvy business emphasis on merchandising and collectibles targeting a small but passionate fan base. Charles Band was even an early adopter of horror movie video games, bringing bins of Atari 2600 cartridges of a licensed Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Halloween to potential buyers at an early 1980s Consumer Electronics Show.
Confused executives gave him odd looks, only understanding video games as a form of kid entertainment. This is but one of many examples of Charles Band being frustratingly ahead of the curve.
The Upcoming Full Moon Slate
Full Moon fans can look forward to a sequel to Baby Oopsie dropping later this year on the Full Moon Features streaming service (available through Amazon), a spinoff to 1992’s Demonic Toys. Demonic Toys was also connected to Dollman and Bad Channels in the 1993 merger, Doll Man Vs. The Demonic Toys. It brought together three distinct Full Moon titles, exploring an expanded cinematic universe well before Marvel made such an ambitious scope popular.
Dollman was directed by prolific Hawaiian filmmaker Albert Pyun who born the Cyborg and Nemesis franchises. 1992’s Bad Channels was a semi-sequel / spinoff to TerrorVision that Ted Nicolaou made for Empire Pictures in 1986, which has gone on to amass a loyal cult following. There was even a Puppet Master vs. Demonic Toys movie in 2004 that starred Corey Feldman. It was licensed and produced by the Sci-Fi Network, cashing in on the Full Moon legacy that could not be ignored by other competing studios.
Also discussed were plans for the upcoming Subspecies 5 shooting soon, which will bring back a number of the original cast as well as Evil Bong 888: Infinity High (featuring Diana Prince AKA Marcy The Mail Girl from The Last Drive-In with Joe Bob Briggs) and Doctor Death, the latest Puppet Master spinoff character to star in a stand-alone feature. Band also maintains a relationship with director Fred Olen Rey who recently directed Piranha Women for the studio.
Also discussed was the upcoming Revenge of the 50 ft Cam Girl. It will introduce the intergalactic adversary called “Spazor,” a new character in the Kaiju knock-off/ erotic comedy hybrid sequel to Attack The 50ft Cam Girl from director Jim Wynorski. The filmmaker gave the world Deathstalker II and The Return of Swamp Thing, among other countless low-budget genre classics.
Charles Band’s Legacy
While Band gracefully enters his 70s, there appears to be no stopping the endless stream of cinematic insanity from his wild imagination. Whether filmed in the Eastern European realms established by his family roots (having grown up in Italy) or the Midwest Cleveland-based estate he’s recently come into, dubbing it the “Full Moon Manor,” the brand seems to maintain its place as a fixture or alternative genre cinema.
Marching to the rhythm of his own drum, the lovable lunatic obsessed with creepy dolls, beautiful women, and cool toys is showing no signs of slowing down. On the Full Moon Features app and website, the company will resurface gems in HD from a bygone era like Laserblast, The Day Time Ended, Mansion of the Doomed, and End of the World, which are all worth seeking out for fans of retro independent gonzo cinema that has aged like a fine wine.
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