|11-22-2004, 07:42 AM||#1|
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Florida, USA
Man, this is just sad. One of the exploitation greats, Charles Band, is starting a new company. It's the only new thing here, since he's hatching the enterprise by recycling films he's already shot.
Believe it or not, there was a time I admired Band and everything he did. It all started when I saw METALSTORM: THE DESTRUCTION OF JARED-SYN at the local movie theatre. The film was short, cheap and my eyes felt like they were going to pop out of my head from the 3-D glasses. But I was hooked. LASERBLAST became must-see entertainment whenever it was shown on our local TV station. I began to follow his career as he progressed onto Empire Pictures and it's spin-offs and then finally with the straight-to-video behemoth Full Moon Entertainment. Full Moon is where most people grew to love Band's stuff. The company launched in 1988 and notoriously promised "200 films by the year 2000." They started releasing films on a big pace, and in the still youthful straight-to-video market, Full Moon movies were far better than anything else being released in that niche. PUPPET MASTER, SUBSPECIES and other entries just kept coming and coming. He even expanded the profits for many properties by starting a merchandising empire that was unheard of for a low-budget upstart. For a couple years at least, things were good. Then, there was a noticeable decline in quality. Projects that Band would promise in his Videozone "video magazines" rarely came to fruition. By the turn of the century, very few Full Moon features were being released.
Band has tried to keep Full Moon going. He entered family-friendly and mature audiences markets to try and recapture some of the former glory but to no avail. As recently as last year, he was promising that Full Moon would get back on its feet and announced several projects. But none of those has seen the light of day. William Shatner even lent a hand, hosting some of the old films on the Sci-fi Channel but that show was short-lived. Last summer, he began marketing a how-to DVD set called CINEMAKER. Compiling tons of behind the scenes interviews and stock footage from Full Moon's lifespan, it was designed to teach people how to get into low-budget filmmaking.
Give Band this, he is nothing if not persistent. He has finally closed the doors on Full Moon Entertainment once and for all. According to Fangoria, Band has signed a deal with Koch Vision to release films under his new company, Forbidden Worlds. Band's new home will release between six and ten films next year. The first two, THE POSSESED and URBAN EVIL will be released on February 8th. Good news, right?
But hold it right there. Turns out these films aren't new at all. They aren't even old films that are finally seeing the light of day. Instead, they are anthologies made up of Full Moon features that Band still retains the rights to. That's right, each film contains three previous Full Moon films each edited down to a little less than a half hour a piece. Band has then packaged this as a new product. To clarify, THE POSESSED scavenges material from J.R. Bookwalter's WITCHOUSE 2: BLOOD COVEN (a good film that should be seen all the way through), STITCHES and VENGEANCE OF THE DEAD. URBAN EVIL stitches together the "urban-themed" (exploitation-speak for "black" these days) films THE HORRIBLE DR. BONES, RAGDOLL and THE VAULT.
Fango points out that Band did this before with TOMB OF TERROR (pictured) which threw together another three truncated films. The Express would like to point out that Band has been using stock footage more and more over the years, and not just for budget concerns. Both DOLLMAN VS. DEMONIC TOYS and the recent PUPPET MASTER: THE LEGACY were at least fifty percent stock footage from other films.
This is just outrageous. It's an insult to every fan who once cherished their Full Moon fan club membership, a club I am now glad I never actually joined. It would not be so offensive if Band was actually marketing these as compilations. But he's not. He's advertising these as new projects and its the fans who are going to get ripped off.
Given the climate in the industry, this action is also unnecessary. As part of my other gig for CultCuts, I review a good number of "micro-budget" and SOV (that's "shot on video" folks) projects. Not all of them are good, some have been horrible in fact. But others have been fantastic surprises. So much so that I growing collection of SOV films that I've never reviewed for anyone. They are started by grass roots movements of filmmakers who now have high-tech filmmaking and editing tools at their disposal. Forget million dollar budgets. For any of these filmmakers, $ 100,000 would be a dream come true. Even $ 50,000 might be shooting for the moon. There is no reason why Band shouldn't gather a group of like-minded grass roots filmmakers, let them do their thing and then spin off his merchandising ideas (where most of his effort has been in the last ten years anyway) from whatever comes about.
In other words, there's just no reason for it. No reason except to make money with minimal effort on anyone's part. If the other four to eight films get released next year, they will hopefully not be cut-and-paste jobs like these two. My advice would be to just nurture those projects and don't even bother with the cheap compilations. But then I'm just one of the fans who made him what he is. What do I know?
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Scott W. Davis
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