Full Moon Flicks
Chris: Puppet Master was the first release under the Full Moon label and, to this day, continues to be the best one. It's also where Charles Band got his obsession with killer doll movies (and he proceeded to run the idea into the ground with Blood Dolls, Doll Graveyard, etc.) and produced no less than eight sequels. But what makes this one so much fun is just seeing a stable of cool looking puppets preying on psychics at a seaside hotel. There's the hook-handed "Blade", the muscular tiny-headed "Pinhead", and other memorable David Allen creations paired with some decent kills and David Schmoeller's pretty stylish direction - I love the scene early on shot from Blade's point-of-view. The first two sequels were entertaining as well but the series eventually became a joke.
Josh: This is the franchise that Full Moon is best known for and this is for good reason as it provides b-movie fun along with some nifty stop motion effects. All the classic puppets are present including Blade, Ms. Leech, Tunneler, Pinhead, and Jester. Charles Band took this franchise and ran with it as eight sequels were produced as well as a line of action figures and comic books. Rumour has it that he is planning to remake this in 3-D. Although I sometimes wish he would come up with something new, I would love to see these little guys on the big screen.
Chris: Fan favourite Stuart Gordon and Charles Band started working together in 1986 when the H.P. Lovecraft adaptation From Beyond was released and they also paired-up for the Edgar Alan Poe based The Pit And The Pendulum but it was Castle Freak that got Full Moon fans all excited. Upon seeing the first images of a white-sheet covered creature in Fangoria, we all waited for the movie to arrive on home video. And waited. And waited. Eventually we got our grubby little hands on it and were treated to a twisted vision of an American family falling prey to the deformed being that's chained in the basement - and enjoys chomping on a prostitute's nipple.
Josh: When this movie came out, it was highly anticipated as it reunited director Stuart Gordon with actors Barbara Crampton and Jeffrey Combs. The three of them gave us a Lovecraft double shot of Re-Animator and From Beyond in the 80's and had established a healthy cult following. Although I was a little disappointed at the time (chalk it up the high expectations my young mind created), this is still a solid flick with a cool creature and a great location. I remember this flick as being marketed as starting a new product line for the company with more emphasis on gore and scares. I think the time has come for me to revisit this one.
Chris: Radu is probably one of the more memorable characters in Full Moon movies. Frail and with a sing-song heavy smokers voice, the vampire Radu and his miniature minions appeared in four films total but none of them was able to match the original which was breezy viewing but also had more smarts than your average b-flick. Of all the movies here, this franchise had the most potential - too bad they couldn't cash-in on it in the sequels.
Josh: Old Radu is a way cool vampire and had a creepy voice that sounds like he is breathing his words. This flick was the beginning of another successful frachise for the studio and has a great cover featuring Radu looking on as his mini-minions carry away a scantilly-clad woman like little ants. I liked this flick a lot when I was a Full Moon fanboy and I especially enjoyed the great Romanian locations the were featured (and would continue to be featured in many other movies from the studio). What I love most about this flick is that it is an easy and fun to watch and is slightly better than many of the other b-movies coming out at the time.
DARK ANGEL: THE ASCENT
Chris: While the other four movies on this list will be familiar to those even with a slight interest in Full Moon's efforts, Dark Angel: The Ascent is one that seems to be forgotten. Which is really too bad because it gets a good, sometimes naked, performance from Angela Featherstone in the lead, it's got decent style, and (like Subspecies) is one of the more intelligent films on their roster. Who doesn't want to see the luscious spawn of a demon come to Earth and wreak havoc?
Josh: This is without a doubt my Full Moon movie thanks to the fact that it is well written, well acted, well paced, and sprinkled with just the right amounts of gore and nudity. The premise in itself is quite cool as a rebellious teenage demon comes up from hell to spend some time on earth with us humans. It doesn't hurt that she makes a hell of an entrance by walking around naked and eventually ripping some guys spine out. The rest of the movie is pretty good as well with a tough but vulnerable performance from Angela Featherstone who makes all the other Full Moon actresses look pretty wimpy. This is an early writing credit from Matthew Bright who would go on to direct the brilliant Freeway with Reese Witherspoon.
Chris: An obvious off-shoot of the Puppet Master series, Demonic Toys was still a fun time on its own merit thanks mostly to its goofy cast of villains that included a giant teddy bear, a constantly giggling evil jack-in-the-box, and the always horny "Baby Oopsy". It's a whole slew of Satan-spawned goofiness set in a toy factory and, in my eyes, was one of the last true "classic" Full Moon efforts before they started their decline in quality and stumbled their way towards bankruptcy.
Josh: How can you not love a title like this? I think Full Moon was the only studio that could pull it off. You can't tell me that Tracy Scoggins being terrorized by a killer teddy bear in a toy factory doesn't sound like a good time. Along with the bear is a disturbing looking baby doll, a jack in the box, and a laser shooting robot. This was obviously an experiment to try to create another successful series like the Puppet Master movies but it didn't catch on in the same way due to the fact that there bad guys were not quite as cool as Blade and his gang. Speaking of Blade, this was written by Blade and Batman writer David S. Goyer who has come a long way.