Community//

Charles Band of ‘Full Moon Features’: “It’s never easy to do but shutting it off is the only solution sometimes”

It’s never easy to do but shutting it off is the only solution sometimes. I’m not really on social media, I have people helping me with that. I can’t stand looking at it. I’m on Twitter personally, I handle that. But even then, I share my thoughts — almost always positive thoughts — and move on. I don’t “doomscroll” […]

The Thrive Global Community welcomes voices from many spheres on our open platform. We publish pieces as written by outside contributors with a wide range of opinions, which don’t necessarily reflect our own. Community stories are not commissioned by our editorial team and must meet our guidelines prior to being published.

It’s never easy to do but shutting it off is the only solution sometimes. I’m not really on social media, I have people helping me with that. I can’t stand looking at it. I’m on Twitter personally, I handle that. But even then, I share my thoughts — almost always positive thoughts — and move on. I don’t “doomscroll” as the kids say. The world is always fraught with chaos and unrest. We just have so much more media to document it, share it and comment on it now. Everyone’s a reporter! So, the best thing to do for mental health is to focus on the worlds you CAN control and that bring you happiness and that bring others happiness. If I was a politician, I’d give you a different answer. But I’m not. I’m an entertainer.


The COVID19 pandemic has disrupted all of our lives. But sometimes disruptions can be times of opportunity. Many people’s livelihoods have been hurt by the pandemic. But some saw this as an opportune time to take their lives in a new direction.

As a part of this series called “How I Was Able To Pivot To A New Exciting Opportunity Because Of The Pandemic”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Charles Band.

With almost 50 years in the business and over 300 feature films under his belt, producer, director and founder and CEO of Full Moon Features Charles Band shows no signs of slowing down. Band’s Full Moon Features has created many well-known video franchises throughout the nineties and into the new millennium, including the PUPPET MASTER series, SUBSPECIES and more. After decades of experience in the entertainment industry, Charles Band has cemented his legacy as a progressive businessman, prolific filmmaker, and cult movie icon.


Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we start, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your childhood backstory?

Well, I was literally born into this business. For real. My father was John Huston’s right hand man and even contributed to the screenplay of THE AFRICAN QUEEN. My parents socialized with Joe DiMaggio and Marilyn Monroe, who I vaguely remember spending time with as a very young child. My dad produced films in the late ’50s and directed the 1958 movie, I BURY THE LIVING, now considered a horror classic. He also directed a beautiful film called FACE OF FIRE that I wish more people knew about.

The film business was part of the fabric of my young life and when we moved to Italy in the 1960s, my dad started producing tons of popular “peplum” and gladiator movies. I even starred as Steve Reeves’ son in one of them. He also produced plenty of “spaghetti westerns”, including DJANGO director Sergio Corbucci’s THE HELLBENDERS starring Joseph Cotten.

I grew up on these sets and when I wasn’t hanging out with my dad, I was obsessing over Marvel comics and rock and roll. I even opened up a sort of underground nightclub in Rome when I was 16. Such a wild, wonderful time. Everything you’ve heard about Italian film industry in those days is true. Joyous and crazy.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

That’s a great question. To tie into cinema, I might say “We’re Gonna Need a Bigger Boat,” spoken by Roy Scheider’s Chief Brody in JAWS. For obvious reasons, in making films, and in life, when you think you’re prepared, it often becomes clear that you’re far from it. And you need to admit that and regroup… lest you get eaten by a Great White Shark!

Let’s now shift to the main part of our discussion. Can you tell our readers about your career experience before the Pandemic began?

When we moved back to America in the 70s, I almost immediately immersed myself in the film business as a producer and sometimes, director, starting with a series of movies that did pretty well in hard top theatres and drive-ins, stuff like MANSION OF THE DOOMED, LASERBLAST, CRASH, CINDERELLA and of course, TOURIST TRAP. I have always loved horror and weird stuff, so that’s what I focused on and it seemed to work. I realized very quickly — perhaps not quickly enough, though — that in order to see any real dough from these films, I needed to own them, in full or part. After helping restart the 3D craze in the early 80s with my films PARASITE and METALSTORM: THE DESTRUCTION OF JARED SYN, I started my own studio and distribution label called Empire Pictures. With Empire, we had a string of successes both theatrically and on home video with pictures like GHOULIES, RE-ANIMATOR, FROM BEYOND and DOLLS. And during this period, or just prior to it, I was instrumental in the early days of home video, with my companies MEDA HOME ENTERTAINMENT — which I sold and was later retitled MEDIA HOME ENTERTAINMENT, and my Wizard Video label.

I was the first video label to release films like HALLOWEEN and THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE and I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE, as well as plenty of obscure European horror stuff by guys like Jess Franco — movies which are major cult items now. After I sold off Empire Pictures in the late 80s, I started Full Moon Features in 1989, a venture that was buoyed by a distribution deal I made with Paramount Home Entertainment, creating direct-to-video genre films for the rental market. For many years, with movies like PUPPET MASTER (still the most successful direct to video franchise of all time), PIT AND THE PENDULUM, SUBSPECIES and many, many more, we basically cornered the market on DTV fantasy and horror. I also created sub-labels like Moonbeam, which specialized in children and family fantasy films and Surrender Cinema, which was — and still is — our label focusing on erotica made for singles and couples.

From there, I spun my many films and franchises into popular merchandising lines, creating toys, clothing and replicas, a business we still run today via our site FullMoonDirect.com. In recent years, Full Moon has been making dozens of new, crazy genre films for our own streaming channel and app, Full Moon Features, as well as our Amazon Prime channel, and, a few years ago, I started publishing my own horror and cult film print magazine called DELIRIUM. It’s hard to even remember half of the things I’ve done or am doing. I’ve never been one to just talk about doing things. I do them. I like to create. I like to move.

What did you do to pivot as a result of the Pandemic?

I’m a survivor and, as an unapologetic purveyor and student of exploitation cinema, Full Moon jumped into action immediately at the beginning of this madness, literally in the days before the lockdown in LA last March. I came up with the idea to comedically re-dub an old Italian horror movie we licensed called HELL OF THE LIVING DEAD and shoot new framing footage, refashioning it all as a wacky satire called CORONA ZOMBIES. It took us 28 days, from the idea to the release on our channels, to get this movie completed and released. CRAZY. We employed voice actors, comedians, editors, composers and more from all over the USA who did their parts virtually to make this movie happen, impressive at a time when the film industry had completely shut down. The movie was — as I had hoped it to be — controversial by its very existence and we got a lot of press from all over the planet and it was a big success. And people — even the haters — were surprised by just how fun and clever it was.

I quickly decided to take the main characters from the framing footage and create an entire “coronasploitation” franchise, with the sequel BARBIE AND KENDRA SAVE THE TIGER KING — which actually co-starred TIGER KING star John Reinke and the legendary Leslie Jordan, and re-dubbed a pair of obscure D-movie jungle epics into something new and insane. From there we pumped out a third picture, BARBIE AND KENDRA STORM AREA 51, which was a bit sexier but no less innovative. And during all of it, our channels have kept growing, as we license hundreds of rare and classic genre films from all over the world as well as producing our own. This year, we are making TWELVE new modestly budgeted horror movies. Nothing slows us down!

Can you tell us about the specific “Aha moment” that gave you the idea to start this new path?

It certainly wasn’t one moment. It was through decades of watching and making movies. Of understanding the business and human nature and the marriage of both. Of seeing an opportunity and acting. Some may accuse me of exploiting a very serious issue that affects us all. And they’d be right, but on the terms in which I work, in the world in which I run my business, exploiting things that affect the greater good in a traumatic or sensational way is what myself and my contemporaries do. What affects people more traumatically than death? And what is the hallmark of almost every single horror movie ever made? Death. The fear of it. The dread of it. It’s what horror filmmakers do. We take the unthinkable and package it as an entertainment. Why do people seek these films out? Why do they keep watching? Because in some small way, seeing the unthinkable played out as a 90 minute fantasy entertainment helps us absorb and deal with it. It gives us a sense of control, even if that control is just an illusion.

Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

That’s easy. My dad. He was a great man. A great father. I adored him, as did most who knew him. He opened up worlds for me. He gave me a unique foundation. And I was lucky enough to go from playing the part of his little boy, to growing into his best friend. I miss him every day.

So many of us have become anxious from the dramatic jolts of the news cycle. Can you share the strategies that you have used to optimize your mental wellness during this stressful period?

It’s never easy to do but shutting it off is the only solution sometimes. I’m not really on social media, I have people helping me with that. I can’t stand looking at it. I’m on Twitter personally, I handle that. But even then, I share my thoughts — almost always positive thoughts — and move on. I don’t “doomscroll” as the kids say. The world is always fraught with chaos and unrest. We just have so much more media to document it, share it and comment on it now. Everyone’s a reporter! So, the best thing to do for mental health is to focus on the worlds you CAN control and that bring you happiness and that bring others happiness. If I was a politician, I’d give you a different answer. But I’m not. I’m an entertainer.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be?

The only movement I could hope to inspire is one of having fun and being good to each other. We’re all here together. It’s pretty simple. Be cool. Watch more movies! Be weird! Don’t be like everyone else. Be an individual. But always remember that at the end of the day, we are all pretty much the same and want the same things and want to be treated the same way.

Is there a person in the world whom you would love to have lunch with, and why? Maybe we can tag them and see what happens!

Roger Waters and/ or David Gilmour from PINK FLOYD, my favorite band! And since they seemingly can’t stand each other, I doubt I could have them both at the same table. So, I’d flip a coin!

How can our readers follow you online?

You can visit our store and check out our warehouse of incredible merchandise, Blu-rays, DVDs, toys and more at www.FullMoonDirect.com and you can subscribe to our channel and app, Full Moon Features, available to download on every platform or Smart TV or by visiting www.FullMoonFeatures.com. The price is right and you get SO much crazy entertainment for your buck. The Guardian in the UK called Full Moon Features “the closest streaming has gotten to replicating the vibe of the grindhouse”, so you get the idea…

Thank you so much for sharing these important insights. We wish you continued success and good health!

Share your comments below. Please read our commenting guidelines before posting. If you have a concern about a comment, report it here.

You might also like...

Community//

Lo Bannerman of Positive Post Co: “Focus on your unique strengths”

by Karina Michel Feld
Community//

Trish French of Trish French Therapy: “Know the value you provide”

by Karina Michel Feld
Community//

Kelly Hartford of ‘Card My Yard Western Springs’: “Your business will only be as successful as you want it to be”

by Karina Michel Feld
We use cookies on our site to give you the best experience possible. By continuing to browse the site, you agree to this use. For more information on how we use cookies, see our Privacy Policy.