Full Moon Features

Last updated
Full Moon Features
Film production, film distribution
Founded1988;32 years ago (1988)
Headquarters Los Angeles, California, United States
Key people
Charles Band
OwnerFull Moon Entertainment
Website fullmoonfeatures.com

Full Moon Features is an American motion picture production and distribution company headed by B-movie veteran Charles Band. It is known for the direct-to-video series Puppet Master , Trancers , and Subspecies , as well as the film Castle Freak and the VideoZone featurette through 1989 to 2013.[ citation needed ]



Full Moon Productions era (1988–1995)

Full Moon Entertainment (1989-1995) logo FullMoonEntertainment.png
Full Moon Entertainment (1989–1995) logo

After the collapse of Band's previous film studio Empire Pictures, he moved back to the United States from Rome and opened Full Moon Productions. Band's goal with Full Moon was to create low-budget horror, sci-fi, and fantasy films while retaining a somewhat "big-budget" look. In the United States, Full Moon teamed with Paramount Pictures and Pioneer Home Entertainment for direct-to-video releasing on VHS and LaserDisc and the first release was the feature film directed by David Schmoeller, Puppet Master in 1989.

Puppet Master turned out to be a huge hit for Full Moon. Following the film on VHS and LaserDisc was a featurette entitled No Strings Attached, which documents the making of Puppet Master. It then featured interviews with cast and crew members, including actor Paul Le Mat and Charles Band himself. The next three releases— Shadowzone , Meridian: Kiss of the Beast , and Crash and Burn (changing to Full Moon Entertainment with the release of the latter)—all featured a making-of presentation after the film. Paramount, however, didn't believe in the making-of concept and forced Band to pay for all of the additional tape needed. At the same time, Band also reissued two catalog titles, Tourist Trap and Parasite through Paramount.

Some controversy arose, however, many years after the release of Puppet Master. In an interview on the website The Terror Trap, Puppet Master director, David Schmoeller, says that Charles Band owes him residuals, as well as stating that Charles Band doesn't give credit to directors. Schmoeller continues, saying that Band didn't want him on the director's commentary on the DVD release of Puppet Master, because "it would reveal that someone else shared in the creation of Full Moon's biggest and most successful franchise." [1]

With the fifth Full Moon release Puppet Master II in 1991, Full Moon introduced VideoZone, a behind-the-scenes video magazine. The average VideoZone featured an introduction by Charles Band, the making-of the "movie you just watched," an interview with someone involved in a future Full Moon release, merchandise (such as Full Moon T-shirts, posters and other assorted goods), trailers, and contact information. VideoZone tied together the "comic book feel" that Band insisted with the Full Moon product.

Moonbeam Entertainment Logo Moonbeamlogo.png
Moonbeam Entertainment Logo

Full Moon continued producing its releases throughout the early '90s (sometimes as many as twelve releases a year) and in 1993 founded two more labels: Torchlight Entertainment, specializing in softcore pornographic sci-fi comedies and Moonbeam Entertainment, specializing in family orientated sci-fi and fantasy films. Torchlight's first release was Beach Babes From Beyond ; Moonbeam's was Prehysteria! , which actually became a high seller for distributor Paramount and was one of the first Full Moon films to be sold as an inexpensive sell-through product (as most Full Moon features were sold on VHS as rental items with prices upwards of $100 for each tape).

Full Moon Studios era (1995–2002)

In 1995, due to the direct-to-video market losing interest and financial ground with the rental market in addition to internal issues, Full Moon Entertainment separated from distributor Paramount. Full Moon's Halloween 1995 production Castle Freak was released on video unrated.

After the releases of Castle Freak and Oblivion 2: Backlash , Band renamed Full Moon Entertainment, Full Moon Studios for the feature Vampire Journals and used the name Full Moon Pictures for the following film Hideous! . Band continued to distribute all films on his own under then name of Amazing Fantasy Entertainment until around 1999 when some of the films were distributed by The Kushner-Locke Company.

With the release of Shrieker in 1998, Band enlisted the help of Ohio-based filmmaker and Tempe Entertainment founder, J. R. Bookwalter, who had recently relocated to California. Bookwalter was commissioned by Band to begin editing features, including Curse of the Puppet Master . Curse of the Puppet Master created due to demand from video retailers for a new installment of the Puppet Master franchise isn't held in high regards with fans of the genre. To conserve costs (as most Full Moon features were being made for much less than the Paramount-distributed films), the film was put together using footage from the first five Puppet Master files, as well as some new footage. However, Bookwalter's work got Full Moon noticed on Apple.com where a story was published about Bookwalter's editing of Curse of the Puppet Master on his iBook in a hotel room in Ohio.

Over the next several years, Full Moon continued its releases and even introduced more labels:

Bookwalter would eventually get the chance to direct a Full Moon film with the sequel to Witchouse , Witchouse 2: Blood Coven . It was Bookwalter's first film on 35 mm and with it opened a new door for Bookwalter's Tempe Entertainment.

Starting with Horror Vision, Tempe Entertainment was hired to produce several Full Moon films for Band. All of these films were shot on DV, a first for Full Moon and were primarily made for under $60,000 (with Witchouse 3: Demon Fire completed for $26,000). The films were produced under very tight schedules, some being shot in as little as nine days. While the production drawbacks were high in each situation, this opportunity gave new exposure to Bookwalter and Tempe who was accustomed to producing films on shoestring budgets.

Once again, the industry changed and Band decided to end the Full Moon label with the 2002 release of Jigsaw .

During this era of Full Moon, Band secured a weekly television series on the Sci Fi Channel called William Shatner's Full Moon Fright Night . Veteran actor, William Shatner, hosted Full Moon films with wraparounds, as well as interviews with many of sci-fi's most notable personalities, including Stan Lee and Jeffrey Combs. Tempe also received exposure here as HorrorVision was included in this short-lived series.

With the release of 2000's The Dead Hate the Living! , Band dropped the VideoZone name and produced behind-the-scenes featurettes without a masthead.

Shadow Films era (2002–2004)

Shadow Films Logo Shadowfilmslogo.jpg
Shadow Films Logo

Blockbuster Entertainment, a longtime supporter of the Full Moon brand requested the company produce a slasher film, due to the late '90s resurgence of this subgenre, thanks to Scream and I Know What You Did Last Summer . With the help of an uncredited Tempe Entertainment, Band produced Bleed and acquired Keith Walley's Scared , renaming it Cut Throat.

Band produced only two more films "officially" under the Shadow name: ( Birthrite , Delta Delta Die! ). Another Keith Walley film Speck was acquired. William Shatner's DV science-fiction movie Groom Lake , produced by J.R. Bookwalter became notorious as one of the most-expensive films of the modern era of Full Moon.

Wizard Video Logo Wizardvideologo.png
Wizard Video Logo

Band also decided around this time to bring back an old label used in the Empire era named Wizard Video, which distributed cult-like films. This modern rendition saw the release of Tempe's Skinned Alive and Ozone (renamed Street Zombies for the Wizard release). However, due to low sales, another Tempe film Bloodletting (which was also renamed: I've Killed Before ) was dropped from the release schedule.

In 2003, Charles Band entered into a deal with 20th Century Fox to produce a low budget horror movie. Fox would distribute the movie and Band would retain copyrights. The film was directed by J.R. Bookwalter and named Deadly Stingers. In the tradition of the giant killer bug movies, Deadly Stingers was about giant scorpions taking over a town. However, after the film was completed, it was shelved due to a decline in the industry and low sales of another similar project at Fox (excluding Full Moon) entitled Dark Wolf. The film was shown at the Frightvision Horror Festival in 2003, but while it has surfaced on Full Moon Streaming as of December 2013 under the name of Mega Scorpions, it has yet to see a release on DVD or Blu-ray. A teaser trailer for the film does exist on J. R. Bookwalter's Tempe Entertainment website.

The second Full Moon Pictures era (2004–present)

In late 2003, Band began work on his first 35 mm film in years, Dr. Moreau's House of Pain . The film released in January 2004 also marked the official return of the name Full Moon Pictures. However, the film's video releases all contain the name of Shadow Entertainment, but the film's trailer contains the Full Moon Pictures logo.

Quickly before the release of Dr. Moreau's House of Pain, Full Moon released Puppet Master: The Legacy, a "greatest hits" film that contained the best scenes from all (hitherto) seven Puppet Master films with about 20 minutes of a wrap-around story and very bad puppet effects (string rods can be seen in almost every scene featuring the puppets). Once again, all video releases said Shadow Entertainment, but the trailer contained the Full Moon Pictures logo.

On the heels of Puppet Master: The Legacy, Band quickly cut together Tomb of Terror , Horrific , and Urban Evil . These three films edited by HorrorVision director, Danny Draven, were clip shows that showed off the best in Full Moon's library.

After the release of those films, Band re-christened the Full Moon name to Full Moon Features. Full Moon Features intends to take more time making films with considerably higher budgets and on 35 mm film and as of July 2006 has focused on that with the exceptions of When Puppets and Dolls Attack!, Monsters Gone Wild! , and Aliens Gone Wild! (all clip shows).

In 2005, Charles Band embarked on the Full Moon Horror Roadshow, a traveling, live Full Moon-inspired show featuring Band and actors/actresses from past Full Moon films. Some shows also featured his son, Alex Band. At all shows, Band offered a contest for a chance for a member of the audience to have a part in a future Full Moon feature. As of 2009, none of these winners had received their roles. However, on August 27, 2009, Band blogged that those who were chosen would have the opportunity to be cast in his next project. [2] Band continued the roadshow in 2006, this time putting it in smaller venues. A similar contest offering a part in a movie was held at these events. In 2011, contest winners were contacted for the chance to be extras in the movie Gingerdead Man 3: Saturday Night Cleaver . Available winners who could make it to the set were featured as extras in the movie during a mass electrocution scene at a roller rink. Full Moon uploaded pictures of the contest winners onset on its official Facebook page. [3]

In 2009, Band hopes to expand Full Moon to a similar release schedule more like the mid-1990s with a new release every month. Additionally, the company plans to add sequels to many franchises, including Puppet Master, Demonic Toys, and Head of the Family .

In 2012, the Videozone was brought back, making its return on the DVD release of Puppet Master X: Axis Rising . In addition, the Moonbeam Entertainment brand label was revived under the name Moonbeam Films.

The studio's nearly thirty-year history is covered in the book It Came From the Video Aisle written by Dave Jay, William S. Wilson, and Torsten Dewi and published by Schiffer Publishing in October 2017.

Notable releases

Related Research Articles

Dimension Films is an American film production company and independent film distribution label owned by Lantern Entertainment. It was formerly used as Bob and Harvey Weinstein's label within Miramax which was acquired by The Walt Disney Company on June 30, 1993, to produce and release independent films and genre titles, specifically horror and science fiction films.

<i>Puppet Master</i> (film)

Puppet Master is a 1989 American horror film written by Charles Band and Kenneth J. Hall, and directed by David Schmoeller. It is the first film in the Puppet Master franchise and stars Paul Le Mat, Irene Miracle, Matt Roe, and Kathryn O'Reilly as psychics who are plotted against by a former colleague, using puppets animated by an Egyptian spell. Originally intended for theatrical release in summer 1989, before being released on home video the following September, Puppet Master was ultimately pushed to a direct-to-video release on October 12, 1989, as Charles Band felt he was likely to make more money this way than he would in the theatrical market. The film was very popular in the video market and since developed a large cult following that has led to the production of twelve sequels.

Charles Robert Band is an American film producer and director, known for his work on horror comedy movies.

Prehysteria! is a series of three family monster comedy films made in the early to mid-1990s about the adventures of five miniature baby dinosaurs named after famous pop musicians. The dinosaurs were Elvis, a male Tyrannosaurus, Paula, a female Brachiosaurus, Jagger, a male Stegosaurus, Hammer, a male Chasmosaurus, and Madonna, a female Geosternbergia. The films were made by Moonbeam Entertainment, the family-oriented sub-brand of B-movie producer Charles Band's Full Moon Entertainment. Richard Band, Michael Bishop, and Fuzzbee Morse composed the music for the movies.

Empire International Pictures was an American small scale theatrical distribution company that was formed in 1983 by Charles Band, as a response to the dissatisfaction of how his films were distributed by motion picture companies while making films under the banner of Charles Band International Productions.

Ghoulies is an American comedy horror series that consists of four films and a novel. The films center on a group of small demonic creatures that have a wide range of twisted appearances.

David W. Allen was an American film and television stop motion model (puppet) animator.

<i>The Gingerdead Man</i>

The Gingerdead Man is a 2006 American slasher film directed by Charles Band. Gary Busey stars as the titular Gingerdead Man, created from a mix of gingerbread spice mix and the ashes of deceased serial killer Millard Findlemeyer, who terrorizes a small-town bakery. The film also stars Robin Sydney, Jonathan Chase, Alexia Aleman, Margaret Blye, James Snyder, and Larry Cedar.

Rapid Heart Pictures is a Canadian film production company owned by prolific filmmaker David DeCoteau. The company, based in British Columbia, Canada, has produced the homoerotic horror movies The Brotherhood, Leeches! and Beastly Boyz. In 2007, DeCoteau and Rapid Heart worked on an adaptation of Edgar Allan Poe's "The Raven".

Richard Howard Band is an American composer of film music. He has scored more than 140 projects, including From Beyond, which won the award for Best Original Soundtrack at the Sitges Film Festival. Lately he scored Exorcism at 60,000 Feet (2020) and Necroplolis: Legion (2020).

<i>Witchouse 2: Blood Coven</i>

Witchouse 2: Bloodcoven is a 2000 horror film directed by J.R. Bookwalter and starring Ariauna Albright, Elizabeth Hobgood, Nicholas Lanier, Kaycee Shank, Alexandru Dragoi, Adriana Butoi, and Andrew Prine. A sequel to Witchouse, it was distributed by Full Moon Features. The film is available in "R" rated and "Director's Cut" versions. The "Director's Cut" is 5 minutes longer than the "R" version.

<i>Gingerdead Man 2: Passion of the Crust</i>

Gingerdead Man 2: Passion of the Crust is a 2008 American slasher film written and directed by Silvia St. Croix. The film is a sequel to the 2005 film The Gingerdead Man. The distributor of the film is Full Moon Entertainment. The film was originally titled Gingerdead Man 2: Bakery of Blood.

<i>Puppet Master</i> (film series) American horror film series

Puppet Master is an American horror film series which focuses on a group of anthropomorphic puppets animated by an Egyptian spell, each equipped with its own unique and dangerous device and are represented as heroes, antiheroes and antagonists.

<i>Gingerdead Man 3: Saturday Night Cleaver</i> 2011 film by William Butler

Gingerdead Man 3: Saturday Night Cleaver is a 2011 American sci-fi slasher comedy film by Full Moon Features and is the third main installment in The Gingerdead Man franchise and a direct sequel to Gingerdead Man 2: Passion of the Crust. It was co-written, directed, and produced by William Butler and was released on September 13, 2011, by producer Charles Band.

David Schmoeller is an American film director, producer and screenwriter. He is notable for directing several full-length theatrical horror films including Tourist Trap (1979), The Seduction (1982), Crawlspace (1986), Catacombs (1988), Puppet Master (1989), and Netherworld (1992). In May, 2012, Schmoeller was awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Fantaspoa Film Festival in Porto Alegre, Brazil where his new feature film, 2 Little Monsters (2012) was screened along with his other notable films.

Brockton McKinney

Brockton McKinney is an American comic book writer, short story author and horror film screenwriter. McKinney is known for writing the comic book series' Gingerdead Man, Ehmm Theory and Amerikarate for Action Lab Comics, the films Evil Bong 666, Evil Bong 777, and Puppet Master: Blitzkrieg Massacre for Full Moon Features, as well as being a contributing writer for Mad Magazine.

Moonbeam Films

Moonbeam Films is a family-oriented brand sub-brand of Charles Band's Full Moon Features that is the revived successor to the former Moonbeam Entertainment and Pulsepounders. It distributes family-oriented sci-fi and fantasy films from the past originally released by Moonbeam Entertainment onto DVDs, with some carrying alternative release titles. Some films put out by this distributor were originally released by different companies associated with Paramount Pictures from 1990 until 2015.

The Bongy Westphall Universe is a fictional universe of 30+ related films released by Full Moon Entertainment. Series creator Charles Band took inspiration from team up comics he read as a child. The universe is named after the Tommy Westphall Universe and also the film Evil Bong which presents the largest crossover in the fictional universe. The named was coined by film podcast Double Feature during their "Killapalooza" episode highlighting the Puppet Master franchise.

Prison of the Dead is a 2000 supernatural horror film with elements of a zombie film and a slasher directed by David DeCoteau under the pseudonym Victoria Sloane and produced by Charles Band. It follows a group of friends who unwittingly resurrect a trio of zombie prison executioners that systematically hunt them down.