When it comes to the horror genre, well any genre for that matter, you won’t find any filmmaker as prolific as Charles Band, owner of Full Moon Features. With over 333 titles under his belt (yes you read that right) the man is a legend! Behind movies like Castle Freak, and franchises like Puppet Master, Subspecies, and Demonic Toys, Band is busy with new projects like the Barbie and Kendra movie series filmed during the lockdown.
I sat down to talk with Band, who is as nice a guy as you want to meet, to talk about Halloween, his past, his films, and the official Full Moon site where you can learn more about Charles and his projects, watch movies and find all sorts of goodies including a ton of awesome merchandise in the Full Moon store.
Horror Fuel: “I need to confess, I’m a huge fan. I grew up on Full Moon and your movies. You’ve been involved with so many films.”
Charley Band: “It’s all there on IMDb, I can’t deny it. IMDb is way behind, the movie we are about to release in a few weeks, part of the Barbie and Kendra series, is actually three hundred and thirty-three.”
Horror Fuel: “Wow!” That’s amazing! Will you tell us about the movie?”
Charles Band: “What happened was when the pandemic hit, I knew we weren’t going to be able to shoot the movies we had planned – there was a new subspecies movie I was shooting in Croatia this April, there were two more. All those plans had to be scrapped. We of course had to go to work from home and leave our cool offices. I knew we had to invent something that’s relevant so that we could make the kind of at a distance. The first thing we did was a movie called Corona Zombies. Even today it sounds weird when I say it, but it’s actually very funny and clever.
We also did a thing with two girls who are oblivious to what’s going on, sort of a Romi and Michelle vibe. They’re discovered on an off-network, low-rent kind of horror channel. It’s a movie in a movie. Something along the lines of Mystery Science Theater. What we did is, we took out the soundtrack completely and put in a new dialogue and new music and had some fun with it as these girls watch this show. It’s hard to describe. You’ve just got to watch it. Ir’s crazy stuff. We were able to make this by shooting the material with the girls in one day under strict quarantine procedures with a very small crew. Of course, the main work came in post-production, getting all these wonderful voice actors to put new voices in this movie they’re watching. From the day we shot to the day that it came out on our site was 30 days. People really seemed to enjoy it, so we did a few more.
The next one was Barbie and Kendra saving the Tiger King. We actually found the second most popular guy from the Tiger King series, the zookeeper, John Reinke, the guy with the robot legs. He’s in our movie. The girls give him a call, and it’s all very funny. But the main thing is it’s a movie within a movie. They find a low-rent nature channel that is telling the story of the Tiger King. I licensed a movie that just by coincidence was about this five-year-old who holds a tiger throughout the whole movie. We wiped the soundtrack and added some really funny material. We got Wesley Jordan, a wonderful actor, and voice guy, he did the voice of the five-year-old which is hilarious.
Then about six weeks ago we shot the third installment which is coming out in two weeks. It’s called Barbie and Kendra Storm Area 51. It’s all about conspiracies, aliens, and of course Area 51. We’ve been able to make these three mostly all from home with the exception of the one day of shooting. We’ve got some really great voice actors. That one comes out November 6th on our Full Moon Channel. It’s been fun making those.
Horror Fuel: “Awesome! I’ll definitely have to check those out.”
Charles Band: “You’ll love them. If you like the Full Moon vibe these are really very clever, very different. You can go to learn about the movies we’re making, shop, and watch, or watch on Amazon. Sadly, the video stores are long gone so this is the new video store.”
Horror Fuel: “They look hilarious. I really do miss video stores. The people at the local Blockbuster loved me.”
Charles Band: Video stores fueled everything we did for many many years. I was the first guy out there back in the 70s, I started the first independent video company. Now we are in the streaming world, which is good for a lot of reasons. I do miss going into that library-type Blockbuster Hollywood and walking down the isles.
Another thing that we’ve been strong in is, that this is the 14th year of having our online store. We started off tiny, modest, and maybe we would make one sale a day and we were all excited. Now, because the world is sort of confined, we’ve put in a lot of energy into doing more with our store. We’ve got little action figures and replicas. That’s become a really cool thing. People love it, especially now that they can’t go to a convention right now. I sign whatever I can for promotions. It’s beyond just DVDs and Blu-rays we’ve had all sorts of cool things on FullMoonDirect.com. It’s so much bigger than we thought it would be. We’ve got a lot of things planned for this year.”
Horror Fuel: “You have a great site with some seriously cool merchandise. A long time ago I had a Puppet Master shirt with Blade on it (he’s my favorite), but it disintegrated after so long. I’ve got to get another one.”
Charles Band: “We have so many shirts now. Speaking of Blade, we just released a new movie a couple of weeks ago called Blade, it’s basically the twelfth Puppet Master. We decided that it was time to give Blade his own movie. It was really well received. It’s the most viewed movie on our streaming site. We also have it out on Blu-ray and DVD. It turned out really, really well.”
Horror Fuel: “I definitely have to watch it! I love that little guy!”
Charles Band: “I never thought back in 1989 when I shot the first one that thirty-one years later I’d still be making them. We also created these really cool action figures. In a perfect world, we’d make them all right away but they are expensive to make. So far, we have a little Blade, Torch and Jester.”
Horror Fuel: “I have the Torch and Jester figures. They look great by the way. Full Moon has its own dedicated space in my office.
I have to ask, there have been rumors, but that’s not a real leech coming out of Leech Woman’s mouth, is it?
Charles Band: “No [laughter]. That would be gross and probably break some laws. We’ve had some pretty good effects. I’m into organic effects, I’m not into CGI. It all looks like a cartoon to me. It’s hard to pull those off sometimes. But that’s a real puppet with a real, but not real, leech wiggling out of its mouth. What you don’t see is two or three puppeteers that are beneath the set with pullies and rods making these characters come to life. What’s good about that, other than the look, is the actor or actresses playing against a real puppet and not in like some of these big movies, looking at a light or a ball on a string. They are actually involved.”
Horror Fuel: “That settles that. I understand. I’m a fan of practical effects too.
What does it feel like to be so involved in the film industry and Full Moon and to have such a cult following? Your movies have been such a big part of the genre for a long time.”
Charles Band: “I’m in my world. I just know how to look forward and go forward and try to make entertaining movies. I grew up on movie sets with my dad. It’s all I know. He was into making spaghetti westerns and I was more into sci-fi and fantasy and horror. When I started making my first movie I was only twenty-four. I’ve had all these periods in my life where in the early days it was more difficult, the only way you made a dollar was with B-movies in theaters. It was different than what we know today. You had to get it out to theaters and drive-ins. It was all about ticket sales. In the late 70s and early 80s, it was video. That was great for us actually. It was never a get rich thing it was more like a “we made an extra fifty or hundred grand, let’s make another movie.” That worked well in the 80s because I started a company called Empire that kind of morphed into Full Moon. Things ebb and flow. There were good periods where I was able to make more movies and not good periods where I made fewer movies. It’s always been about making films. I know that I made some cool films. When I go to these conventions and I meet people who grew up on them and they know way more about the movies than I do. They’re like ‘in Puppet Master 3, there’s a scene..’ I made that in 1991 and I don’t really remember that. People ask about Tourist Trap which we just released uncut on Blu-ray. I’m forward-thinking and I know I made some cool films. It’s exciting because now we’re trying to find the people that used to watch these movies at their local video store and get them on board to our streaming service. That’s how we are going to grow and expand now. It’s a whole other world.
It’s like I’m trying to publish a magazine. The more subscribers, the more I can bring in good writers and cool articles. The more subscribers we get the more movies we can make. It’s hard to believe I’ve been doing this for so many years.”
Horror Fuel: “And we want you to make more movies. Speaking of, while I was looking through your IMDB earlier today I noticed that something is happening with your movie Castle freak. Can you tell us anything?”
Charles Band: “Castle Freak was a movie I made in the 90s. I wanted to use Barbara Crampton and Jeffrey Combs who were the two leads of the Re-Animator and From Beyond. I had this piece of art – it always starts with a title and a piece of art for me – and I lived in a castle, so I said ‘let’s shoot it there.’
Horror Fuel: “Castle Freak is back at the top of your IMDb now. Are you doing a remake?”
Charles Band: “So, I’m not really involved with that. Sometimes people will come along and ask to buy the rights to do a remake. In this case, that’s exactly what happened. I made a deal with Dallas Sonnier and he went off to make it in Eastern Europe somewhere. I haven’t seen it yet. A similar thing happened a few years ago with Puppet Master and they did a small remake. I may not agree or like the way these things come out, but it’s a good thing. It spreads the word then they find out there are twelve more Puppet Masters. It all helps.”
Horror Fuel: “Halloween is coming up. Do you have anything planned?”
Charles Band: “We’re having one of the coolest sales this Halloween. People should go to FullMoonDirect.com we have all sorts of craziness and BOGO sales. For the few days around Halloween, you can get some really cool stuff for a great price. We do last-minute surprises. We are selling something called “Full Moon’s Mystery Box.” For a few hundred dollars, you get around a four or five hundred dollar value. There are things in there that are signed, statues, movies, and a really elegant Puppet Master trunk. We want the people who love the Full Moon to have some fun this Halloween. Because Halloween this year is kind of a bummer.”
Horror Fuel: “That sounds fantastic! Full Moon has a lot of really cool merch, plus there are all the movies. You’re right about Halloween. I think mine is the only house on our street with decorations up. It’s sad. In my book, Halloween must go on!”
Charles Band: “I had this funny idea and maybe people will pick it up, I have four grown children and I have three grandchildren, four, five, and six and like all little kids they look forward to Halloween. I was trying to think about what we could do to give them a sense of Halloween, but be safe. So what we are doing is – luckily I have a big enough house to do this – the eight adults will each have a room in my house to do whatever they want in that room to create a scene whether they want to give candy or prizes, or My Little Pony stuff that the girls are crazy about, and the kids are going to walk around the house and knock on each door like an in house Trick ‘r Treat. And of course, we’ll be in costume.”
Horror Fuel: “That’s an absolutely fantastic idea! I’m happy to hear your family takes Halloween seriously. You know, I think Halloween is for us as much as it is for them.”
Talking with Band was an absolute pleasure. It’s rare these days to meet a filmmaker who is as prolific in the industry as Mr. Band. It’s clearly evident that he still finds so much excitement and joy in making movies, even after 333 of them. Not only have I long been a fan of his films, but I also have huge respect for him as a filmmaker.
Be sure to stop by and check out FullMoonFeatures.com where you can find a massive movie library filled with Full Moon films. While you are there visit the store where you can pick up everything from collectibles to shirts. It’s the ultimate stop for fans! While you’re at it follow Full Moon on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram so that you don’t miss anything.