By Tom Landy
Since the early 1970s, cult horror legend Charles Band has written, produced, and/or directed well over 200 B-movies featuring everything you could possibly imagine (and then some) from maniacal mad scientists and diabolical dolls to deadly drug paraphernalia and killer cookies.
In the following interview, Full Moon CEO Charles Band sheds some light on his company's latest film projects, their newly launched web site, and what's in store for high-def home video later this year.
HDD: Hi Charles! Thanks for setting aside some time out of your busy schedule for this interview for High-Def Digest. We really appreciate it. How are things going?
Charlie: This is a really exciting and intense year for Full Moon. We're scheduled to make new films every 60 days! Bringing back some amazing times and eras in the history of the company.
Charlie: Fullmoondirect.com has been a long-standing resource for purchasing Full Moon products over the years. While the internet is great for that, it has also evolved in recent years to become more of a ‘hangout.’ We wanted a place where people can discover and explore Full Moon firsthand -- from anywhere in the world. Fullmoonhorror.com isn’t just a place to view the latest trailer, it’s an entertainment site that is fun in and of itself, with interviews, industry news, exclusive photos videos, and other fun content.
HDD: I'm a big fan of the 'Puppet Master' movies and think the designs for all of the puppets (especially Blade and Six-Shooter) are awesome. Do you have a personal favorite tiny terror from Toulon's trunk?
Charlie: The puppets we created for those movies really complement each other. There’s that old adage that “the whole is greater than the sum of its parts,” and I think that’s very true of those guys. But it’s clear that Blade has really been the heart of those films since the beginning. There’s something about the simplicity of his design that I think is visually appealing to people.
HDD: Speaking of which, you're now working on a tenth film in the franchise called 'Puppet Master X: Axis Rising.' It sounds like this film is going to be a direct follow-up to 'Puppet Master: Axis of Evil' correct?
Charlie: It is. I’m very excited about this one. It’ll be the first time we’ve directly continued a previous storyline in the ‘Puppet Master’ universe, and it’s also that the first time that I’ll be directing one of these films myself. We’ve re-sculpted each of the original puppets from scratch. They’ll be the most accurate re-creations seen on film in the past decade. We’re really pulling out all the stops to make this one the best ‘Puppet Master’ yet.
HDD: You're also planning on introducing four new killer puppets this time around. Can you tell us a little bit about those?
Charlie: We did a monthly reveal of each of them on fullmoonhorror.com, and the fan reaction has been phenomenal. There’s Blitzkrieg, who is essentially a tiny tank with heavy firepower. Bombshell is a female a character who has been in the works for close to seventeen years. Originally we had intended to include her in a film called ‘Puppet Wars.’ That one didn’t make it very far past the scripting stage. We’ve re-tooled her for 'Puppet Master X ,' this time heavily inspired by the titular character in the Nazi exploitation film, “Ilsa, She Wolf of the SS.” Kamikaze is a Japanese fighter pilot puppet with a time bomb strapped to his chest. And Weremacht is a Nazi werewolf with razor sharp fangs. They’re really going to put Blade and the other puppets to the test. I can’t reveal too much more than that, but you’ll find photos of each on fullmoonhorror.com!
HDD: Next, you've just wrapped up production on 'The Dead Want Women' with Eric Roberts. What's that about and when will it be released?
Charlie: Reese (Jessica Morris) and Danni (Ariana Madix) are two realtors who purchase the house of deceased silent movie star, Rose Pettigrew, to remodel and sell it. The house has stood empty for decades, since Rose took her own life and those of her friends, Tubby Fitzgerald, Erik Burke and Sonny Barnes (Eric Roberts). As the night wears on, the girls realize that they’re not alone, and the ghosts of Rose and her friends have dark plans for them. ‘The Dead Want Women’ is scheduled for a June 19th release. It’s full of blood, pretty girls and gross ghouls, so it should be a fun time for everyone.
HDD: What other new movies are you planning on releasing in the near future?
Charlie: 2012 is a busy year for us. We released ‘DevilDolls,’ an anthology film of three short horror stories. It showcases some films of our past that I liked a lot, but didn’t receive much exposure at the time of their original release. It’s at Redbox now and everywhere DVDS are available, including fullmoondirect.com! In April, we’ll release ‘Goobers!’ under our recently-revived children’s label, Moonbeam Films. We just finished post-production on ‘Zombies Vs. Strippers.’ We’ve got a killer script, great cast, and Ted ('Subspecies') Nicolaou’s son, Alex Nicolaou, will be making his directorial debut. We just wrapped principal photography on the fourth installment of a fun killer clown series and this one is called 'Killjoy Goes To Hell.' Jon Lechago returns as director with Trent Haaga and most of the cast from 'Killjoy 3.' And as of now, we’re about 6 week away from principle photography on the tenth 'Puppet Master' film: 'Axis Rising!'
HDD: What is the "Haunted Casinos" line of products and how did the idea for that come about?
Charlie: Hauntedcasinos.com offers a totally different line of merchandise from what we usually sell on fullmoondirect.com. Shot glasses, t-shirts, zippo lighters, playing cards, and more -- all with original artwork inspired by the label’s theme. When we started doing research for ‘The Haunted Casino,’ I became fascinated by some of the stories we unearthed. It’s a subject that so few have touched on. You always hear about haunted houses, but some of these old casinos have such a rich history and have hosted some very interesting, shady and tragic characters in their past. So the overall theme was compelling to me, and one that I wanted to explore further.
HDD: You also produced and directed a sort of tie-in film called 'The Haunted Casino' starring one of my favorite cult actors, Sid Haig. He seems to have a great personality. What's he like in person and on set?
Charlie: Sid is an absolute pleasure to work with. He’s been in this business for years, and worked with a lot of people, so he knows what he’s doing. For a director, it can be great to work with a veteran actor like that, because there’s a certain amount of understanding and flexibility that goes with it. He fully commits himself to any given role and keeps a positive attitude. It allows us to really explore our choices from a creative standpoint.
HDD: He sure makes a great mobster! Lastly, so far you've released 'Puppet Master,' 'Puppet Master: Axis of Evil,' and most recently, 'Subspecies: 20th Anniversary Edition' on the Blu-ray format. Do you have any plans for future high-definition releases?
Charlie: We do. There are certain titles like those in our Grindhouse series that would lose some of their charm if they were converted to high definition. The grainy picture is part of the show, it’s become synonymous with that kind of nostalgic experience. But Full Moon has continued to thrive by adapting with the times, and HD is the way to go now. All of our new films are being shot in high-definition. 'Killjoy’s Revenge,' 'Killer Eye: Halloween Haunt' and 'The Dead Want Women' will all have HD releases in the future. We’ll be converting a lot more of our classic films and releasing them starting in Fall 2012!
HDD: We'll be sure to keep an eye out for those Blu-rays. Take care, Charles!