October 8, 2006

Show Review: Charles Band's Full Moon Horror Road Show 2006

Tragedy has struck. This year's Road Show stop in Poughkeepsie, NY was beset be a couple of things that have left it a few notches below last year's inaugural event. However, they weren't enough to stifle the spirits of those who came out to celebrate the career of Charles Band, one of the most prolific purveyors of low budget cinema.

Unfortunately, not much has changed in my knowledge of Mr. Band's work, although the number of titles I own has increased. I still have that special place for killer dolls and puppets, I just need to refresh my memory with the growing collection of Full Moon Entertainment titles in my possession. But all of that is besides the point, it doesn't matter how much or how little I know about the titles, just that we were all there for a good time.

My sister, a couple of her friends, and myself arrived at The Loft. We climbed the stairwell to the upper room and saw a screen with the Full Moon logo and the faces of some of their more famous creatures. To the left of us was a glass case, featuring the evening's raffle puppets, which consisted of an original Ghoulie doll, a Blade, and a blood splattered Pinhead, plus there was a limited edition doll of Radu from Subspecies. To our right were some chairs set up for us, and behind it were the stacks. There were a couple of tables setup in the back of the room with an assortment of Full Moon DVDs and figures. There were pre-release copies of Evil Bong and Petrified (which includes yours truly as an executive producer), as well as classics like Puppet Master and Subspecies. New to this years tour were a selection of box sets, including Trancers, Dollman/Demonic Toys, and Stuart Gordon and Charles Band director sets. Then there was the tour exclusive bronze Six-Shooter, and resin Blades and Pinheads. There were also the requisite posters and t-shirts. they were a couple of tables of joy! I walked away with a couple of the boxes and a few single titles, plus a new certificate for an executive producer credit.

After making my purchases I made my way back to my seat and waited for the show to begin. Around 8:00 the house lights went down and the screen flickered into motion. The show started with a collection of film clips from throughout the history of Full Moon Entertainment. The clips were followed by Charles, himself, ascending to the low stage and leading in with a story about some after show entertainment from the start of the original tour, last year. The story was about his encounter with a drunk outside of a restaurant in downtown Houston. The story was also told at last year's show, but was still absolutely hilarious. Charles Band is a wonderful storyteller. The details weren't any different, although this time around we did learn about his use of the terms "awesome" and "far out," to very funny effect.

This segued into a story about Gary Busey and their experience on the set of The Gingerdead Man. Some of this I remembered from last year, but again, still funny. He told of how Busey wanted different setups for each one of his lines, turning a quick shoot into a day long affair, which included overhearing Gary discuss differences in female hygiene over the past decades. This leads to the revelation that Charles has hours of as yet unreleased Gary footage, which I am sure would be a kick to see. We jump ahead to the end of the production, and all the work they put into making the cookie puppet move properly for the scripted lines. The worries lay with bringing in Gary and having him do the lines. His worries ended up being for nothing as Gary showed up, decided to play them some music and proceeded to nail all of his lines in 12 minutes flat. Very funny stuff.

Charles usually works with up and coming or unknown actors and actresses, and over the years he has gotten to work with a number who would go on to become pretty big names. They played a collection of clips from movies featuring some of these stars. Among the past performers were Helen Hunt, Sherilynn Fenn, Lance Henriksen, and Viggo Mortensen, among others. You know, the stars of the future have to start somewhere, and probably in low budget films. Charles also spoke of some of the bigger behind the camera people he has worked with, including John Carpenter and Andrew Davis (The Guardian, The Fugitive).

Charles latest film is best described by its title, rather than any type of long winded description. That film is none other than Evil Bong, starring Tommy Chong, who was fresh off a 9 month stint in the pen for sending a water pipe through the mail. We saw the trailer and got a glimpse into all of the guest appearances by puppets and stars of other Full Moon films, including hot chicks wearing the Monsterbras that were demoed during last years tour.. Looks like fun to me!

Now is time for a little bit of crowd participation, which, like last year, led to a few lineups as the casting was done for the good guy, the monster, and the hot chick. All of the casting took a little bit of urging to get people up there (no, I did not go up, despite the urging of those with me). There were only two girls brave enough to go up there, and they ended up cast as a lesbian couple, to the cheers of those assembled. Next came the trouble of getting the girls to face the crowd, and to remove their tops during the scene, urging which was partially successful. The scene was a hit, and led to more than a few laughs.

Next up, Charles called back one of the chicks to assist in the puppet auction. The puppets all went for relatively little. If I remember correctly, the Ghoulie did not get past the initial $100 bid. Next was Radu, which made it through a couple of bids to $140. Pinhead had a little war going, before topping out at, I believe, $360. Finally, the ever-popular Blade had the biggest fight which topped out at $440. This did feature a few higher amounts than last year, which was also lead by a Blade puppet.

The show came to a close with Charles telling us how great we are and how much he loves meeting with fans. He then stepped from the stage and hung around to sign autographs and meet us individually.

OK, now for those tragedies. The first was the location, The Loft is connected to The Chance Theater, which had a metal show going on which had a lot of sound bleed through the walls. Next was The Loft itself, it is a very low ceiling , meaning they could not fit any of the stage props. That included a pillar for the acting scene, and the 10 foot guillotine. That means we were not able to see the advertised live decapitation.

I approached Charles after the show and had him autograph a few items, we chatted about the missing guillotine, and how much fun it still we. He also told me about why he didn't have a guest. The guest was supposed to be Tim Thomerson (Trancers, Dollman), but he got struck by the recent round of tainted spinach. Damn that vile weed.

Anyway, despite the missing elements of the show, it was still a lot of fun. Charles Band is a wonderful personality, very funny and very approachable. He is the kind of guy you could hang out with for hours just to hear his stories. I am hoping that he comes through again next year, but is able to get booked at a better venue.

There are still a few more cities on the tour, make sure you see it! In the mean time, don't forget to check out Full Moon merchandise and Charles Band's blog.


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