"It Came from the Video Aisle" Book Review
Written by ZigZag
Published by Schiffer Publishing
Written by Dave Jay, William S. Wilson and Torsten Dewi
2017, 480 pages, Reference
Book released on October 28th, 2017
Full Moon Entertainment is the brainchild of Charles Band and has been around for thirty years in one form or another. The independent filmmaker/ mogul has turned his creative desires into a sometimes-flourishing empire, but like any studio, Full Moon has faced both ups and downs. Unlike the others however, Band really is the man in charge of his company and everything flows through him, both good and bad. I say bad in that many who know him admit Band is not the savviest business man, but he is creative and resourceful when it comes to keeping his company afloat. Authors Dave Jay, William S. Wilson and Torsten Dewi trace the long and storied history of Full Moon in their new book It Came from the Video Aisle.
Readers are treated to countless interviews with more than fifty participants, all of whom have had a close working relationship with Band over the years, many from the beginning. Numerous directors, writers, editors and effects artists sit down to share their memories of working for the company and not all the experiences are sugar-coated. Band himself is interviewed throughout the book and is pretty straightforward about both his successes and failures. More than once he is compared to a used car salesman-type huckster, determined to get the most out of every dollar spent. In the studio’s heyday this was commendable, but over the years as budgets were slashed and output increased, things took on more of a quantity over quality position that has cost him more than expected.
The authors of It Came from the Video Aisle are amazingly thorough in their task of researching every title covered and do a phenomenal job tracking down a great number of participants from the three decades of filmmaking. Many of the directors and writers worked under pseudonyms, most of which are revealed here and their reflections on the work are generally met with fond memories, even if the conditions were difficult at the time. Key participants receive extended interview sections throughout the book, allowing the subject to expand on their time working for Band. The common thread is that there was simply never enough time or money allotted to do the job right. Fast, cheap or good – you can have two.
Charles Band has had an enviable run of success with numerous franchises including the Puppetmaster, Trancers and Evil Bong series. These are but a few ongoing titles that have kept the company in business over the years. Band has a keen eye for the way the system is turning and founded Full Moon during the dawn of the straight-to-video market of distribution in the late 1980s. He is also an early adopter of streaming services and continues to position himself in a way that keeps him afloat in the industry. Band has proven himself to be virtually unsinkable and he takes each new challenge in stride. The days of moderate budgets backed by major studios are long gone for Full Moon, but the mini mogul continues to create content for the masses even on a smaller scale.
It Came from the Video Aisle is divided into eight chapters, the first of which is over one hundred pages long (!), starting with the origin of the company and working through the history to its contemporary place in the system. The paperback book’s 480 pages are filled with information and include over 400 color photographs of promotional artwork and behind-the-scenes images. My biggest complaint is that there is not an insert of pages dedicated to larger sized photos, as the thumbnails are a bit hard to study. I really cannot say enough nice things about this book, however, as it really exceeds all of my expectations on the subject. Full Moon fans will definitely want to check it out and casual readers with an interest in behind-the-scenes tales of woe will want to pick it up too.