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Reviews » Blu-ray Reviews » Full Moon High (Blu-ray)
Full Moon High (Blu-ray)
Shout Factory // PG // April 10, 2018 // Region A
List Price: $29.99 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Ian Jane | posted March 30, 2018 | E-mail the Author
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The Movie:

Larry Cohen's 1981 film Full Moon High takes place in the fifties and revolves around high school student Tony Walker (Adam Arkin), the quarterback on the local football team. The big game against rivals Simpson High is coming up soon, so Tony's under a bit of pressure. When his father, Col. William P. Walker (Ed McMahon), takes him on a trip to Romania, Tony is told by a gypsy palm reader that he's going to live a long and youthful life. When he's attacked by a werewolf later that night, her message turns out to be true. Tony doesn't age, but when a full moon is out, he does transform into a werewolf himself.

Tony and his dad return home where Tony starts adjusting and eventually coming to terms with his new persona. When his dad walks in on him during a transformation and winds up accidently (and fatally) shooting himself, Tony stops chasing girls and decides to wander the world alone. But decades later, when he finds out his school hasn't beaten Simpson High, he returns to Full Moon High and enrolls, hoping to set things right once and for all!

Full Moon High is really, really goofy stuff. It is first and foremost a comedy, the horror elements come in a very distant second. There's no gore or bloodshed here at all, there's nothing scary or intense about any of this. Cohen plays this movie entirely for laughs. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't but if you're in the right mood for it and don't mind the fact that it is a very ridiculous film, it can make for a fun time killer even if the werewolf effects are pretty much bottom of the barrel.

Adam Arkin (son of Alan Arkin, who has a small role in the film as a doctor) is likeable enough in the lead. His work here isn't going to win any awards or anything but he looks the part and plays it well. Ed McMahon is actually pretty funny as the ultra-right-wing father with a bomb shelter in the basement and a small arsenal in the home. Roz Kelly, who played Pinky Tuscadero on Happy Days also shows up here, as Joanne Nail from Switchblade Sisters along with Bill Kirchenbauer (the guy who played the coach on Growing Pains!), Pat Mortia and Jim J. Bullock! Truly, all the stars came out for this one.

The Blu-ray

Video:

Full Moon High comes to Blu-ray from Shout! Factory on a 25GB disc framed at 1.85.1 widescreen in an AVC encoded 1080p high definition transfer. Some shots do look a little softer than others but that appears to have everything to do with how the movie was shot, rather than the transfer. The picture is otherwise pretty clean and nicely detailed with fair texture and depth to it. Colors look good, black levels are fine and skin tones look normal. There are no noticeable problems with compression artifacts, edge enhancement or noise reduction.

Sound:

The English language DTS-HD Mono track on the disc is fine. Dialogue is clean, clear and easy to follow and there are no issues with any hiss or distortion. There are no alternate language options provided but English closed captioning is provided.

Extras:

The main extra on the disc is an audio commentary with writer/producer/director Larry Cohen, Moderated by King Cohen director Steve Mitchell. These guys have a good rapport and the discussion is amiable and fun. Cohen offers up plenty of information on his inspiration and ideas for the film, directing the picture, the cast and the effects. Mitchell keeps him on topic and engaged in the conversation.

Additionally, the disc includes a theatrical trailer, menus and chapter selection.

Final Thoughts:

Full Moon High is far from Larry Cohen's best work but it is an amusing and oddball eighties comedy with some light horror touches. It's hard to wholeheartedly recommend it as a purchase, but it's amusing enough to be worth seeing once and Shout! Factory's Blu-ray looks and sounds just fine, throwing in a nice commentary too. Cohen fanatics and werewolf film completists can buy with confidence, everyone else should probably rent it first.

Ian lives in NYC with his wife where he writes for DVD Talk, runs Rock! Shock! Pop!. He likes NYC a lot, even if it is expensive and loud.

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