In 2008 Marvel started a firestorm with the release of the first film in their cinematic universe. In the years that followed Sony Pictures, 20th Century Fox, DC Entertaiment/Warner Bros., and recently announced Universal Studios have all followed suit to create shared universes that connect their respective properties, ranging from superheroes to classic monsters.
One of the most, if not THE most, successful direct to video production & distribution companies is Full Moon Features. Founded in 1989 by Charles Band, Full Moon Features (then Full Moon Entertainment) has released well over 100 films and continues to release films to this day! Their latest venture is the creation of Full Moon Streaming. A website, similar to that of NetFlix, which allows subscribers to dig deep in the vast Full Moon library of work!
Some may argue that Full Moon already has a connective universe, where characters from some films appear in others. This is true to an extent. We consulted with our resident Full Moon Features expert, Dustin Hubbard, to compile a rough list of already established Full Moon film connections, they are as allowed:
- In “Puppet Master II” you can briefly spot Mr. Punch (from “Dolls”) in Toulon’s hotel room.
- Brick Bardo appeared in “Dollman” who later appears in a post credits scene in “Bad Channels“.
- Officer Judith Grey (from “Demonic Toys”), Brick Bardo (from “Dollman”), & Nurse Ginger (from “Bad Channels”) all appear in “Dollman Vs. Demonic Toys.”
- Dr. Lorca first appeared in “Hideous!” and later appeared in “Demonic Toys 2: Personal Demons“.
- The “Subspecies” films featured lead vampire Radu Vladislas. The movie “Vampire Journals” had a lead villain vampire called Ash, the music lover. Ash tells the story of how Radu was his master and this property they run their business out of was property of Radu’s. Come “Bloodstorm: Subspecies 4” Radu ends up pursuing his fledgling, Michelle, and in his trek he ends up at this exact property and reclaims it from Ash he takes back as his underling to his bidding.
- The original “Evil Bong” featured a who’s who of Full Moon cameos. Rabbit (from “Trancers 2”) who even though he previously died, appears to deliver the title baddie to the movie’s stoner characters. Once they smoke from her and enter her Bongworld they then cross paths with many full characters like Jack Deth (from the “Trancers” film series), Jack Attack (from “Demonic Toys”), the Gingerdead Man (from the “Gingerdead Man” film series), and Ooga Booga (from “Doll Graveyard”).
- “Zombies Vs. Strippers” featured a crude kids TV show host named Hambo the Ranch Hand. Though falling victim to the undead he would later appear in Ooga Booga‘s starring vehicle of the same name. In “Ooga Booga,” Hambo introduces a character to a collection of racist action figures he calls Badass Dolls. One of them was Ooga who then comes to life to exact his bloody revenge. One of the other Badass Dolls was one called the The Gook. Hambo would appear again Full Moon’s second crossover film “Gingerdead Man Vs. Evil Bong“. Here he’s still trying to pitch his sales ideas, this time to Larnell from all the previous “Evil Bong” films. While in Larnell’s headshop he ends up meeting an Asian tourist who would apparently go on to inspire the figure of The Gook.
- The bad pastries that appear in pastry prison at the beginning of “Gingerdead Man 3” later appeared in “Gingerdead Man Vs. Evil Bong” as the pastry council judging the Gingerdead Man.
There are many more suggestive connections and little Easter eggs in many Full Moon films that connect to one another. Aside from cameos, there are really only a few that really affect or have influence on the narrative of the film. Below are the five reasons WHY a more solidified universe would work for Full Moon:
- Offers a chance to establish/build on the back story of a character or film.
Ever wonder what other biological oddities and collectors Belinda Yost (played by Tracie May in “Hideous!”) interacted with prior to the events of “Hideous!”?
This could be a great way subtly throw in tidbits of knowledge that only seasoned Full Moon Fanatics would catch and connect with.
- Enables them to bring back characters that fans love without devoting a whole movie to them.
The plants from “Seed People”, Virgil & his Blood Dolls from “Blood Dolls,” Myron from “Head of the Family.” There are countless characters in the Full Moon Library that fans are passionate about. This would be a good avenue for them to bring back the characters the fans have been wanting without having to make a direct sequel to their respective films. You could have them be minor or supporting characters that are important to the plot, but that just do not carry the weight of the film on their shoulders. Full Moon did a GREAT job doing this with the Dr.Lorca character by having him appear in 2009’s “Demonic Toys 2: Personal Demons.”
- Allows them to give a “soft opening” to a potential new franchise or character(s).
Similar to the above mentioned point, a connected universe film could allow for an already established property to carry the bulk of a film and allow for Full Moon to unveil a new character(s) that they might potentially see as a franchise and see how the audience responds to them.
- They have the perfect avenue to test it on a smaller scale.
With Full Moon Streaming as a medium for them, Full Moon can test a smaller shared universe exclusively on their on website! With the success of “Trophy Heads,” I expect them to develop further content to be on their site exclusively. They could produce another 5 part mini-series (could even feature Max from “Trophy Heads”) and connect it with established Full Moon fixtures.
- It’s a trend, and trends (for the most part) ARE successful
The shared/connected universe is primarily new and unexplored grounds for mainstream films. The results speak for themselves. Marvel is making hundreds of millions for Disney, and with many other companies laying their groundwork, now is the time to jump in and join the party! When romantic comedies are in, they are IN. In a years’ time you can see as many romantic comedies on the big screen as you have fingers and toes! How does this relate to Full Moon? Well they could be the first ones who would do it to the scale of Marvel but on the direct to video market!
There you have it. This writer’s five reasons why Full Moon Features should jump right into the Cinematic Universe craze. It could be profitable, even further trend setting, and most importantly of all vastly entertaining!
Check us out next Friday as we review the new Blu-Ray release of “Trancers.”