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 and Chong fame).
Charles Band had previously founded the studio Empire Pictures, which produced cult favorites like Re-Animator and Ghoulies. Empire, in fact, produced the first Puppet Master movie, but 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 (1974) and Halloween (1978). 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 The Driller Killer, 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 Full Moon 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.
- 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 going to be based on Marvel Comics' Doctor Strange, one of Full Moon's "flashier" films.
- Dragonworld - Moonbeam Entertainment release about a boy and his dragon. The sequel, Dragonworld: The Legend Continues was released by The Kushner-Locke Company in the United States under the title Shadow of the Knight.
- Evil Bong - THC Theater 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. The sequels are King Bong and The Wrath Of Bong. While the first film has some horror aspects, the series overall is more comedic than scary.
- The Gingerdead Man - Comedy/horror Slasher Movie 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 Gingerdead Man 2: Passion of the Crust and Gingerdead Man 3: 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.
- Killjoy - Focuses on the titular Killjoy, a demonic clown who is summoned to assist revenge plots in all three films, only to prove too overwhelming for each character who calls him. The first two movies in the series 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.
- Oblivion (1994): A Space Western comedy about a man avenging the death of his father at the hands of a ruthless outlaw.
- Pet Shop - A comedy/adventure film from Full Moon 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 (1994).
- The Pit And The Pendulum- Directed by Stuart Gordon (of Re-Animator fame), a retelling of the classic Edgar Allan Poe story.
- Prehysteria! - Trilogy of family-friendly sci-fi films about mini dinosaurs that come to life. The first one 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 or so. No longer in print, as Full Moon has not announced plans to release the series on DVD.
- Puppet Master - The first franchise from Full Moon, although the first movie in the series 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 evil. Sequels are Puppet Master II, Puppet Master III: Toulon's Revenge, Puppet Master 4, and Puppet Master 5: The Final Chapter during the Full Moon Entertainment era, Curse of the Puppet Master and Retro Puppet Master during the Full Moon Pictures era, Puppet Master: The Legacy and Puppet Master: Axis of Evil during the Full Moon Features era.
- Demonic Toys was Full Moon's Follow the Leader cash-in on its own Puppet Master series. The sequel was Demonic Toys: Personal Demons.
- 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 soft core Jungle Opera about a Nubile Savage who kills men by draining their Life Energy while having sex with them.
- Shrunken Heads - Comedy/horror flick 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 currently consists of Subspecies, Bloodstone: Subspecies II, Bloodlust: Subspecies III, and Subspecies 4: Bloodstorm (released during the Full Moon Pictures era). Fans of the series also consider Vampire Journals as an entry as well.
- Trancers - A carry over from Band's days at Empire, under the Full Moon name, he produced Trancers II, Trancers III, Trancers 4 & 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: Film 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.