What can be said about the influence Charles Band had on my youth? It probably wasn’t a good influence, but it sure was a fun one. It wasn’t until a few years ago that I realized one man was responsible for so many films that really influenced me as a kid. Charles Band owns and operates Full Moon which in the mid 1990’s cranked out a ton of great low budget horror and sci-fi flicks. Their most famous creation is probably Puppet Master. What I learned a few years ago was that Band was responsible for lots of other films that weren’t of the Full Moon label, like Ghoulies, Troll and even Prehysteria.

In fact Band even created many lesser known films like Trancers, Mandroid and even some of the skin flicks that pre and early teen me used to love like Femalien. In the late 90’s Band and Paramount had a falling out and with the direct to video market dying Full Moon became a shell of itself. It stopped making it’s awesome toys, it pretty much stopped making movies and when they did limp out a film it wasn’t low budget awesomeness with Tim Thomerson, it was just slightly better than porn. In fact porn may have been better shot and directed… Or perhaps even acted.

For a time it seemed as though Full Moon, Charles Band and the greatness I loved as a youngster was going the way of the dodo. The last few Puppet Master films were atrocious and at some point Band even more or less sold the rights to the Sci-Fi channel where they put Corey Feldman(?!) into the film and pretty much raped the franchise of what little dignity it had left…

But it appears that there is a resurgence on the horizon. Thanks to direct DVD sales and a upturn in the direct to video DVD industry, Full Moon is back in a (semi) big way. Up first is Demonic Toys 2! Demonic Toys is more or less a third string of the Full Moon horror icons, but one that always seemed to have some potential for greatness. Demonic Toys is a simple premise, (think Chucky but with your whole toybox) and outside of the original film and a cool crossover with Tim Thomerson’s Dollman in the 1990’s, there hasn’t been much activity on the Demonic Toys front (aside from the aforementioned bastard child Sci-Fi channel film with Puppet Master) and it looks like the new film has potential!

Coming this Friday, January 15th, Full Moon will be releasing Demonic Toys 2 on DVD. I actually have some hopes for the film. Thanks to the aforementioned resurgence in film, some new financial backers and a general overall improvement in cheap special effects (finally a reason to celebrate CGI!) the film seems to go back to some of the core roots that made Full Moon such a staple of my VHS catalogue. You can order the film for the low price of $15 directly from Charles Band’s Full Moon website. I’m not paid to mention that, but it’s a pretty good deal.

If that wasn’t cool enough, there’s a new Puppet Master on the way too that actually looks like it might be watchable. I doubt Full Moon and Band’s projects will ever amount to as fun as they were when I was 13, but they still can past the time when you need a fun low budget horror flick to pop in and turn your brain off. Huzzah!

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