Full Moon Features is an independent film studio/distributor founded by Charles Band. Full Moon is mainly known for Direct to Video B-Movie horror films notable for using stop motion puppet effects and featuring at least one scene of Fanservice. Band's overall approach to marketing and filmmaking gave Full Moon films a comic book feel, which attracted a Cult Following.
You might remember some of the studio's catalog as including the Puppet Master and Subspecies movies. Full Moon was especially known to renters with Blockbuster Video memberships, as their catalog was pretty much exclusively licensed to Blockbuster, a predominate promoter of Full Moon's catalog. Many of Full Moon's later titles are Comedy/Horror fusions like The Gingerdead Man (featuring Gary Busey) and Evil Bong (which notably featured an extended cameo by Tommy Chong of Cheech & Chong fame).
Charles Band had previously founded the studio Empire International Pictures, which produced cult favorites like Robot Jox, Re-Animator and Ghoulies. Empire, in fact, produced the first Puppet Master movie, but after Empire went belly-up due to financial issues, the movie was released by the newly formed Full Moon Entertainment instead. Full Moon initially had distribution through Paramount, but now distributes its own content.
Full Moon flicks are typically low budget, although the original goal of Full Moon was to make films for low costs that looked like big budget movies. As the studio fell on hard times, however, some of the films they made at their lowest point just looked cheap, and they had begun resorting to shooting on video during the late-90s and early 2000s. Thankfully for Full Moon fans, the quality of their movies improved, and the studio once again began producing movies on 35mm film.
Full Moon has had several subsidiaries tackling different types of films beyond Full Moon's stated focus on horror, sci-fi and fantasy flicks. Most of these have since been abandoned, but they have included:
- Torchlight Entertainment, which specialized in Softcore Porn.
- Moonbeam Entertainment, which specialized in family friendly sci-fi/fantasy movies, most notably the Prehysteria! series, which, like Full Moon's horror movies, predominately featured stop motion puppetry.
- Shadow Films, a shortlived horror subsidiary.
- Wizard Video was a home video distributor founded by Band which released cult classics like The Driller Killer, The Texas Chain Saw Massacre and Halloween. Band promoted these titles with compilation tapes showcasing violent or scary scenes. One of those compilations featured Elvira, Mistress of the Dark. Wizard disbanded somewhere down the line and the distribution rights to these titles scattered to other studios (except for Driller, which is now in the public domain). Eventually, Wizard reappeared as a subsidiary of Full Moon in 2002.
Also notable about Full Moon's VHS releases were their VideoZone segments presented at the end of each video, which featured an introduction by Charles Band, behind-the-scenes footage and promotions of future Full Moon releases and The Merch.
It should be noted that with few exceptions (including the original Puppet Master pentalogy), films made during the Paramount era are owned by Paramount; Full Moon box sets have been known to be withdrawn whenever Paramount gets wind of one of their films appearing in the sets (this actually happened to Puppet Master before Band repurchased the rights to the original pentalogy; Band had always owned the rights to the other films in the franchise).
Notable productions include:
- Castle Freak: Stuart Gordon's retelling of the H. P. Lovecraft short story, "The Outsider"; a dysfunctional family of three inherit a castle inhabited by a grotesque, murderous man.
- Corona Zombies: A Gag Dub of Hell of the Living Dead, spoofing the COVID-19 Pandemic, with ten minutes of new footage and scenes from the below-mentioned Zombies vs. Strippers added. Made within a month of the beginning of lockdowns in the United States.
- Corona Zombies 2: Barbie & Kendra Save the Tiger King: Another Gag Dub, this time mixing footage of Terror in the Jungle and Luana, the Girl Tarzan, ostensibly portraying the younger years of Tiger King's infamous Joe Exotic. A few scenes of new footage loosely tie it to the plotline of the first film; the film was released just a month after the first.
- Corona Zombies 3: Barbie & Kendra Storm Area 51: Yet another Gag Dub, this time with The Day Time Ended and Space Thing footage, ostensibly parodying the Area 51 craze of 2019. Released a few months after the second installment.
- Dark Angel: The Ascent: A rogue demoness appears on Earth and kills sinners.
- The Dead Hate the Living: Full Moon's first zombie film; received notable coverage in various horror magazines.
- Doctor Mordrid - Originally an adaptation of Marvel Comics' Doctor Strange but changed at the last minute due to copyright; one of Full Moon's "flashier" films.
- Dragonworld - A Moonbeam Entertainment release about a boy and his dragon. The sequel, entitled The Legend Continues, was released by The Kushner-Locke Company in the United States under the title Shadow of the Knight.
- Evil Bong: A Stoner Flick franchise about a group of stoners who face off against an evil hookah who swallows the spirit of those who smoke from it into a fantasy world filled with killer strippers and characters from previous Full Moon features. The first one featured cameos by Phil Fondacaro, Bill Moseley and Tommy Chong, and a Crowning Soundtrack Of Awesome which features songs by Sen Dog, Twiztid, Insane Clown Posse and the Kottonmouth Kings. Spawned seven sequels, including a crossover with "Gingerdead Man". as the films progressed they bent more into the comedy angle..
- The Gingerdead Man: A comedy-horror slasher franchise, with the first installment starring Gary Busey, who plays a criminal who is sent to the electric chair, comes back to life as a Gingerbread Man, and goes out to kill the woman who sent him to jail. Followed by Passion of the Crust and Saturday Night Cleaver.
- Groom Lake: William Shatner's show about a dying woman who receives a visit from aliens. Only notable given the name and the stories behind it, as the film received mostly negative reviews.
- Horrific: An anthology featuring three stories edited down from three previous releases.
- Killjoy: A pentalagy focusing on the titular demonic clown. The first two were essentially So Bad, It's Good, but by the third film, the quality of the series improved and it shifted into a more knowingly comedy/horror tone. By the fourth, it was more farcical than horror and the fifth was straight up gonzo-comedy.
- Oblivion: A Space Western comedy about a man avenging the death of his father at the hands of a ruthless outlaw.
- Pet Shop: An adventure comedy film about a couple of aliens who come to earth to buy a pet shop in an attempt to try to get some of Earth's children back to their own planet to sell as pets.
- Petticoat Planet: A soft core Space Western shot using the same sets as Oblivion.
- The Pit and the Pendulum- Directed by Stuart Gordon (of Re-Animator fame), a retelling of the classic Edgar Allan Poe story.
- Prehysteria!: A trilogy of family-friendly sci-fi films about mini dinosaurs that come to life. The first was one of the earliest examples of a movie being released as an inexpensive sell-through VHS at that time in history when VHS tapes were mostly sold to rental chains at a retail price of around $100+. No longer in print, as Full Moon has not announced plans to release the series on DVD.
- Puppet Master: Full Moon's first franchise, although the first installment was actually produced by Empire. The series involves a group of benevolent puppets who operate at the will of whoever controls them, designating them sporadically as good, like their original creator, Andre Toulon (as played by William Hickey in a Death by Cameo) or evil. Usually good. Sequels include Puppet Master II, Toulon's Revenge, Puppet Master 4 and The Final Chapter during the Entertainment era, Curse of the Puppet Master and Retro Puppet Masternote during the Pictures era, The Legacy, Axis of Evil, Axis Rising, Axis Termination. Spin-offs includeThe Littlest Reich, notable for the Puppets finally being evil again, Blade: The Iron Cross, A stand-alone film to feature the iconic Blade puppet - all during the current Features era.
- Puppet Master vs. Demonic Toys: Crossover produced by the Sci-Fi Channel in 2004. Band does not consider it to be an official entry in either franchise.
- Shandra: The Jungle Girl: A softcore Jungle Opera about a Nubile Savage who kills men by draining their Life Energy while having sex with them.
- Shrunken Heads: A horror comedy written by Matthew Bright and directed by Richard Elfman (both known for Forbidden Zone, while Bright is also known for Freeway), and featured music by Danny Elfman. Shrunken Heads is about a group of murdered teenagers that are resurrected as, well, shrunken heads.
- Stitches: A demon manipulates the guests at a bed and breakfast into giving up their souls and skins. Not to be confused with the horror-comedy of the same name.
- Subspecies: Full Moon's take on vampires. It consists of Subspecies, Bloodstone, Bloodlust and Bloodstorm (released during the Full Moon Pictures era). Fans of the series also consider Vampire Journals as an entry as well.
- Trancers: A carryover from Band's days at Empire, under the Full Moon name, he produced Trancers II, Trancers III, Trancers 4 and Trancers 5. Trancers 6 was created by Johnnie J. Young and Jay Woelfel's Young Wolf Productions and was distributed by Band under the Full Moon Pictures label.
- Witchouse: A trilogy about a vengeful witch returning from the grave.
- Zombies vs. Strippers: A horror movie in where zombies attack an strip club, and as the title suggests, the strippers working there have to fight them in order to survive.