RETROCRUSH INTERVIEWS THE DIRECTOR OF
LASERBLAST, METALSTORM, AND PARASITE
Charles Band is the
director of the the explosions galore
sci-fi movie Laserblast whichI fell in love withat the Drive-In
as a 7 year old kid.
He made a 3D movie Metalstorm that
every friend I knew had gone to see based on the action packed
trailer. Later he cast a young 20 year old Demi Moore in her first
leading role dodging a 3D monster in Parasite.
In the late 1980's he founded Full Moon Pictures and became the
Executive Producer for hundreds of direct to video/DVD movies
including the popular Puppet Master franchise. On the eve of
his 21 cities in 30 days Full Moon Roadshow Charles took some time to
speak with us.
Is horror and sci-fi
one of your favorite genres?
of my movies are probably 70Ė80% horror and about 20% Sci-Fi fantasy.
Iíve never actually made a movie outside of the genre. Now so many
people are making horror films, but theyíre generally gritty, slasher
movies which Iíve never made. Mine are still a little more fantasy
oriented whether theyíre about puppets or dolls. They have a certain
amount of black comedy potion in there. As a kid I loved those
movies. I was a big marvel comics fan and before that the monster
Your dad was a director and worked with Steve Reeves?
Early on my dad put me
in front of the camera which I learned quickly is not where I wanted
to be. I played the son of Steve Reeves in one of the two movies my
father made with him. I think it was called The Last Glory of Troy.
It was essentially a Hercules sequel. He was the Schwarzenegger of
My dad made a lot of
movies in Italy in the 1960ís. I grew up on a movie set whether they
were epics with Steve Reeves and Gordon Scott who played Tarzan at
the time or a lot of the Spaghetti Westerns: A Minute to Pray, a
Second to Die, and the Hellbenders with Joseph Cotton.
Your father made an
interesting horror movie called I bury the Living.
He made a few horror
films. Stephen King wrote a book called Dance Macabre and
lists I bury the Living as one of his top favorite horror
films. It was a very cool film that took place in a graveyard. The
premise was that a guy had this huge map and black pins represented
where bodies were buried and white pins where for open or available
gravesites. He started mixing up the pins and people started dying.
It was a clever film for the time.
I remember watching one of your first movies
Laserblast when I was 7 at the Drive-In.
Wow. Thatís actually
one of the movies weíre taking on the Full Moon Roadshow. Weíre
taking special DVD editions. There are so many movies. I had to
select like 35 movies that had some meaning and relevance to today
and the show. I got a smattering of pictures Iíve made over 30 years
including the two I made more or less back to back of Laserblast
and a year later I made a movie called Tourist Trap with Chuck
Connors. Those are both movies Iíll have at the show and weíll be
Laserblast was a
revenge story. I thought it would be fun for the audience. There were
a lot of revenge stories out at the time: Death Wish and all
sorts of films. The thought was why canít some kid that has been
pushed around a bit and hasnít been treated very well at school find
some crazy alien weapon and blow the crap out of everything and every
person who tormented him. The premise is pretty simple.
Thatís probably why I loved it as a kid. Thereís so
many explosions in that movie itís insane.
That was back in the
day where there was no DVD, no video, and no internet. No nothing.
You only got to see one of these movies in your Drive-In or it was a
B movie. It was the second half of a double bill. Thatís why theyíre
called B films.
I donít remember the other movie, but I remember
Laserblast. That guy shot everything to death.
edict at the time from the exhibitors who decided whether or not
youíd see any money from the movie was "the more stuff you blow up
the better Charlie". I made another movie during that same timeline
called Crash! which was about a possessed car that went around
blowing other cars up. That was also fun and kind of silly when I
In Laserblast I
hooked up with this wonderful stop motion animation fellow David
Allen who I did a lot of work with. He passed on a few years ago.
Youíve got the Alien guys who are bummed out they left their gun on
the desert floor. Theyíre very careless aliens. So before theyíre
able to go back to retrieve it this kid who was pushed around finds
it and finds out how to use it and starts going on a little revenge
The guy develops creepy green eyes.
The more he uses the
gun of course the more it sort of took over his soul. We had
everything. We had guns, amulets, possession, little alien guys, a
hundred explosions, Roddy McDowell, and Keenan Wynn.
How did you get into making 3D movies?
I was a fan of the
genre. I made a film called Parasite which was Demi Mooreís
first film back in 1980. That was a good one. I made a film shortly
thereafter called Metalstorm which was a Universal release.
I saw Metalstorm in the theater when I was
a fun genre. Itís still not a genre that will work until technically
theyíre able to deliver it well, crisp, and working correctly on a
TV. Itís very hard to equip movie theaters with that technology. Back
in the day we did it and it was a lot of work. You had to have a
silver screen, you had to have special lenses, and you had to wear
the glasses. The effort that involved especially today would be
impossible because no oneís into doing that. Theater owners are not
into scrambling around all their stuff.
Didnít you film with big special cameras?
have to have a lot of light. Itís like 5 times as much light as
shooting a normal movie. We were blasting light into everyoneís face
just to get another exposure to make sure the 3D effect would work.
Itís a hard technology and very primitive in a way. One day theyíll
be some 3D technology that will work well and Iíll be back making
those movies. I love the 3D genre.
Itís just not practical
or even close to being profitable today. The market now is 98% DVD,
Video, and the internet. Thereís no way of delivering that kind of
content simply and successfully. You can make a 3D movie, but so what
thereís no theatrical life anymore in these films. The market is
through the TV and thereís no 3D.
Do you remember much about directing Demi Moore in
I totally knew that
sheíd be a star. Itís easy for me to say that, but it was absolutely
true at the time. There was no surprise that she became very
successful very quickly. She and I stayed close for years. Her big
breakthrough film was Ghost. She was a 20 year old chick who
was one of a few hundred people who auditioned for that part, she was
terrific, and it was her first leading role.
There was a renaissance of 3D movies in the early
1980ís. I saw Metalstorm in the theater, but I missed
Itís out on DVD, but it
loses its whole charm by looking at it flat. It was such a cool movie
in 3D. Even Metalstorm which plays okay as a flat film, but if
youíd seen it in the theater like you did whether you liked it or not
it was a fun experience because of the 3D. Thatís what the effort
went into, the 3D. How do we make these shots really cool?
You had a great poster & the spiked ball that came at
you. For a kid that is amazing stuff.
Especially back then
kids were not so jaded. They had not seen everything under the sun.
Even the videogames are technically amazing. The graphics are so in
your face. Thereís nothing left. Weíre sort of amused to death right
Is there another movie youíre particularly proud of?
Trap has Chuck Connors in it. Itís one of my favorite top 10 films
that Iíve ever made. Heís about as demented as they get. A lot of
films ripped off the visuals. Itís about mannequins coming to life.
Itís equally good in a different way to Laserblast. Itís a bit
of a trendsetter back a million years ago when I made it.
How did you come up with the ideas for all the
different puppets in Puppetmaster?
Much like whether itís
Demonic Dolls or Evil Bong I dream this stuff up. I
canít remember how it exactly all came to me. I had these characters
in mind for years. I didnít know how to put them all together in a
movie. I had the idea of a character called six shooter who was a
western guy with six arms and six guns.
I had the idea for a
Pinhead character. A big hulking dude with the head the size of a
dime proportionally. Then one day I was thinking a high concept video
film that involves this character/master who controls these puppets.
I had made a movie years before called Dungeonmaster which had
done very well so putting master at the end of the right word wasnít
Then I designed the
whole thing around a World War II era story. I worked with a writer,
I worked with an effects guy, and we started designing the
characters. More ideas started coming to mind like Blade, Tunneler,
and the Leech woman. It just sort of happened. Weíve been making them
every year ever since.
What projects are you working on now?
back directing again full time. Iíve made six movies in the last
fourteen months. Itís nice to have a fresh idea in an overcrowded
genre. I did a stoner comedy thatís coming out for Halloween called
The Evil Bong starring Tommy Chong. Weíll have advance copies
of it on the Roadshow weíre doing. Weíll have bong replicas and I
stress the word replica. I just finished shooting a film called
Deadmanís Hand which is new spin on a tired genre. It has Sid
Haig, Michael Barryman, and a really wonderful cast.
Tell us about the Full Moon Roadshow.
Since the world is not
a world for independents anymore as far as big studios and
advertising budgets I go on the road much like a rock band does.
Thatís why Iíve done the Full Moon Roadshow. It has proven not just
successful, but a lot of fun to get out there and talk to 10,000 Ė
Iíve become sort of an
entertainer. Itís nothing like a seminar. Thereís no preaching here.
Its anecdotes and some fun stuff on stage. We cut heads off on stage.
We do re-enactments. Sometimes people are so inspired they take their
tops off and run around the stage. Itís a demented Ozfest.
Nudity rocks and the price is right at $12.
My very first stop of
the 21 cities is in San Francisco. It will be 7:30 PM on Thursday,
September 14th at a place called the Rikshaw Stop. Itís a cool, edgy
bar in downtown San Francisco. Itís well priced so no one can get
hurt at 12 dollars, but itís real interactive. People in Hollywood
now are so insulated. They make their movies and they may go on a
little press tour. Rarely do they come into any contact especially
one to one with the fans of the movies. It just doesnít happen.
In the old days in the
1930ís and 40ís the filmmakers and stars really went out on the road.
They went on a road tour. All the premiere theaters across the
country not only showed movies, but they did a burlesque. There was
live entertainment before the feature. A lot of these stars were
routed around. They sat and met the fans and got out there. No oneís
doing that today.
sell Monster Bras.
Well, theyíre perfectly
timed for Halloween. I came up with this idea of why not come up with
a bra and look at womenís breast as something different. Itís a bit
of slight of hand because each bra is very different. One of them is
the eye bra so essentially the breasts become big bloodshot eyeballs.
The woman wears the bra and on each cup are these prosthetic
We have the lip bras
which are two big Rocky Horror pursed lips. We have the skull bra
which is perfect for any Goth. Forget an earring or a piercing. You
go into a club wearing two skulls on your breasts thatís a statement.
Last, but not least we have one in the first series which is the
bigger bra which will save $10,000 plus in boob enlargement if you
want to just put a bra on that makes your breasts look huge.
We have all the Evil
Bong merchandise. Weíve got our mainstays which are the puppets and
dolls from Puppet Master and Demonic Toys. Weíre
bringing some of the original doll and puppet effects which weíre
auctioning off at the show. We have DVD box sets. Thereís no lack of
cool things if youíre into these movies and into the genre.
You also created a product for up and coming new
filmmakers called Cinemaker?
Cinemaker is an answer to thousands of questions and inquiries
over the years from people who want to make films or want to figure
out how to market films. There are so many questions I put it all
together. Itís not just me talking about it, but really interesting
interviews with people like Roger Corman, Stan Lee, and Jack Kirby.
People involved in the genre. Thatís another program that will also
be available at the Roadshow.
Growing up who would you say you had a retroCRUSH on?
On a hot babe I would
say there was a gal named Kay Lenz that was in a movie called
Breezy. I think Breezy was directed by Clint Eastwood. I think
she went on to do TV work and sort of faded. When she was first in
that movie she wasnít the most well known actress ever. I was hot and
had a big crush on her.