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Full Moon High (1982) - Blu-ray Review

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Full Moon High (1982) - Blu-ray Review

Movie Review

2 beersThis is the story of one teenager who has an itch that, because of what he has become, he won’t ever stop itching. Full Moon High, now on blu-ray thanks to Scream Factory, might never live up to its potential but it certainly knows how to have a howling good time while it runs wild.

Writer/director Larry Cohen (It’s Alive, Q: The Winged Serpent, The Ambulance) tackles his first hair-raising comedy in Full Moon High. Operating as a spoof of the whole werewolf category of horror flicks, Cohen’s film takes aim at the popularity of 1981’s An American Werewolf in London and, by doubling down on the clowning around, attempts to make the most out of Cohen’s horror to comedy transformation.

The film stars the father and son team of Alan and Adam Arkin as Tony and his CIA operative father who goes on a top secret mission behind the Iron Curtain in the late 1950s. Against Tony’s will (due to an upcoming rivalry high school football game that he wants to be present for), this ace quarterback accompanies his father to Romania and, while Daddy is banging hookers in the hotel room, winds up getting his palm read, lost in the woods, and then mauled by a werewolf.

"Featuring solid performances from stars Ed McMahon, Demond Wilson, Kenneth Mars, and Elizabeth Hartman, this comedy has a few things to howl at the moon about."

Now, everything that damn palm reader (Janet Villella) said about him forever roaming the earth makes complete sense. The dude can’t age. And, as he returns back to the hotel room unscratched and on time to catch the first flight back home, we get to see him transform – with pointy teeth and mutton chop sideburns – on board the plane and save everyone from Cuban terrorists. Really.

Okay, so the first part of Full Moon Fever is pretty damn good. It’s fast. It’s furious. And it is also quite funny. Unfortunately, the film just sort of slides into banality when Tony returns to America and discovers that becoming a werewolf has its own fair share of problems. In that beginning, we discover that wolves don’t play ball games and his skills at football decreases rapidly. Suddenly, he gets axed from the team. Thanks a lot, Coach Cleveland. Poor Tony withdraws from everything and everyone, including Jane (Roz Kelly, New Year’s Evil), his nagging girlfriend and returns to Romania to hunt in peace.

Twenty-five years later, he returns to Full Moon High, posing as his son, ready to reclaim his former glory.  He isn't beyond howling at the moon either. This time, he WILL play football and break the curse that began when the coach kicked him off the time. He will be the student he couldn’t be when he originally was attacked by that damn flea-ridden beast in Romania.

And he will have fun doing it. We might, too. We might. And all that depends on your taste for poor, poor puns and other Airplane-like antics.

Production wise, this is a low, low, aiming flick. The effects are laughably poor and the acting, at times, even worse. Yes, the jokes are fumbled throughout as our quarterback returns to the game he loves. The film only comes into focus in brief bits here and there, but there is an overactive innocence to Cohen’s Full Moon High that gives it the behind the line of scrimmage pass it needs in order to be to gain some additional yards.

Featuring solid performances from stars Ed McMahon, Demond Wilson, Kenneth Mars, and Elizabeth Hartman, this comedy has a few things to howl at the moon about. While not required viewing for B-movie fans, Full Moon High is at least noteworthy…. even if it is a hairy footnote.

Film Details

Full Moon High (1982) - Blu-ray Review

MPAA Rating: PG.
Runtime: 93 mins
Director: Larry Cohen
Writer: Larry Cohen
Cast: Adam Arkin, Roz Kelly, Ed McMahon
Genre: Horror | Comedy
Tagline: A Humungous Comedy Hit!.
Memorable Movie Quote: "Alright, lovelies, let's see what communist infiltration is all about."
Theatrical Distributor: No theatrical release
Official Site:
Release Date:
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date: April 20, 2018
Synopsis: The most important thing to quarterback Tony Walker (Adam Arkin, Halloween H20) is to win the big game against archrival Simpson High. But this plan soon changes when his ultra-right-wing dad (Ed McMahon) drags him along on a spy mission for the CIA. In Romania, Tony is bitten by a werewolf – and that’s when things really start to get hairy! Now, whenever there’s a full moon, he transforms into a growling beast that hungrily chases down beautiful girls. Cursed to live forever as a teenager with uncontrollable urges, Tony realizes he must find a way to the end this cycle of animalistic excess.

Full Moon High (1982) - Blu-ray Review

Blu-ray Review


Blu-ray Details:

Home Video Distributor: Shout Factory
Available on Blu-ray - April 20, 2018
Screen Formats: 1.85:1
Subtitles: English SDH
Language: English
Discs: Blu-ray Disc; single disc
Region Encoding: Locked to Region A

Scream Factory presents this send-up of the Horror genre on blu-ray with great results. With an aspect ratio of 1.85:1, the new 1080p MPEG-4 AVC upgrade of Full Moon High is pretty appealing. The film has never looked as crisp and clean as it does here. Blues are steadier and the location is detailed. Shadows a bit more engaged and the film just looks a bit more professional than remembered. Thanks to Code Red, the title certainly looks better than it ever did on previous releases. Cleaner and with a bit more life, the audio is presented in a DTS-HD MA English mono track.

Blu-ray Supplements:


Fans get a newly recorded audio commentary with Writer/Producer/Director Larry Cohen. Full of solid information about the making of the movie, the commentary is also moderated by filmmaker Steve Mitchell

Special Features:

Outside of the new commentary from Cohen, there is but the film’s original theatrical trailer.

Original Theatrical Trailer

Full Moon High (1982) - Blu-ray Review

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