Video libraries have been a staple of American culture for some 40 years, and for many their absence still stings. Sometimes too far ahead of the curve for its own good, Charles Band was among many iterations in the film industry. From the days of the drive-in to filling the shelves of video libraries with his company’s latest efforts in digital broadcast networks, Band has been through it all.
Having produced over three hundred feature films, the businessman and entrepreneur filmmaker, often compared to Roger Corman and Lloyd Kaufman, gave some of the industry’s top talent their first opportunities, including John Carpenter, Demi Moore, Viggo Mortensen and Helen. Hunt to name a few.
We were lucky enough to catch up with the B-Series titan and host of new Full Moon Monster Show Podcast to talk about his upcoming slate of twenty new titles that will slide into the Full Moon streaming service over the next twelve months.
Charles Band leads the way
The son of prolific producer and director Albert Band, Charles Band grew up in the film industry, absorbing his father’s trade secrets. 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 Dungeon Master, among countless others.
Band was simultaneously the founder of Media Home Entertainment, distributing a huge inventory of VHS tapes and LaserDiscs to retailers around the world, including films from New Line Cinema like Cache and the Nightmare on Elm Street franchise. Most of the Cannon Films library has been included, along with many other high profile films like Halloween, The Beatles Magical Mystery Tourand Santa Claus The Movie.
Band has a holistic understanding of the film industry that has helped it stay afloat in an ever-changing field of technology and distribution models. Throughout it all, he continued to produce and direct smart, quirky titles that celebrated his appreciation of a weird, kitsch aesthetic.
Often employing his imaginative use of comic book-inspired imagery – galactic gonzo aliens, creepy toys, puppets and dolls – all with a shrewd commercial focus on merchandising and collectibles targeting a small but passionate fan base. Charles Band was even one of the first to adopt of horror movie video games, bringing bins of Atari 2600 cartridges from a licensed Chainsaw Massacre and Halloween to potential buyers at an early 1980s consumer electronics show.
Confused executives gave him strange looks, understanding video games only as a form of children’s entertainment. This is just one of many examples of Charles Band being frustratingly ahead of the curve.
The upcoming full moon slate
Full Moon fans can expect a sequel Baby Oupsie dropping later this year on the Full Moon Features streaming service (available via Amazon), a 1992s spinoff Demonic toys. Demonic toys was also related to doll man and Bad channels in the 1993 merger, Doll Man vs Demonic Toys. It brought together three separate Full Moon titles, exploring an expanded cinematic universe long before Marvel made such an ambitious scope popular.
doll man was directed by prolific Hawaiian filmmaker Albert Pyun which spawned the Cyborg and Nemesis franchisees. 1992 Bad channels was a semi-sequel/spinoff of TerrorVision which Ted Nicolaou did for Empire Pictures in 1986, which has gone on to garner a loyal cult following. There was even a Puppeteer vs Demonic Toys film in 2004 which starred Corey Feldman. It was licensed and produced by the Sci-Fi Network, taking advantage of Full Moon’s legacy that could not be ignored by other competing studios.
We also discussed plans for the next Subspecies 5 filming soon, which will bring back a number of the original cast as well as Evil Bong 888: Infinity High (with Diana Prince AKA Marcy The Mail Girl from The Last Drive-in with Joe Bob Briggs) and Doctor Death, the last puppet master spinoff character to play in a standalone feature. The group also enjoys a relationship with director Fred Olen Rey who recently directed Piranha Women for the workshop.
There was also talk of the next Revenge of the 50ft Cam Girl. It will introduce the intergalactic adversary called “Spazor”, a new character in the hybrid sequel to the erotic comedy Kaiju Attack the 50 foot cam girl by director Jim Wynorski. The filmmaker gave the world Deathstalker II and The return of Swamp Thing, among countless budget classics of the genre.
The legacy of Charles Band
As Band gracefully enters his 70s, nothing seems to be able to stop the endless stream of cinematic madness from his unbridled imagination. Whether filmed in the Eastern European kingdoms established by his family roots (having grown up in Italy) or the Midwestern Cleveland estate he recently entered, dubbing it the “Full Moon Manor”, the brand seems to retain its place as a luminary of alternative genre cinema.
Marching to the beat of his own drum, the lovable lunatic obsessed with creepy dolls, beautiful women and cool toys shows no signs of slowing down. On the Full Moon Features app and website, the company resurfaces in HD gems from a bygone era like Laser blast, The day has ended, convict mansion, and End of the world, all of which are worth seeking out for fans of retro indie gonzo cinema that has aged like fine wine.
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