Larry Cohen's Australian Werewolf Exclusive: Full Moon High

Boy, if you're a serious Larry Cohen fan, you have to work hard for your DVDs. They're out there, but you have to be prepared to track down obscure imports from all sorts of different countries, multiple MOD discs from the various major studios and rare out of print DVDs that have been replaced on the marketplace with inferior counterparts. Today we're gonna go with one of the obscure imports.
Full Moon High in a way should be a crowd pleaser, as its a genre film (werewolves!), as opposed to some of his artsier dramas and thrillers like Daddy's Gone A-Hunting, The Private Files of J Edgar Hoover or Bone. But on the other hand, it'll probably drive many fans away because it's so goddamn silly. Sure, some of Cohen's most beloved films are pretty damn silly... Q, It's Alive 3, Return To Salem's Lot, The Stuff... But this is more like Zucker Brothers' silly. Except not as undeniably hilarious.
Adam Arkin - yes, Alan Arkin's son, and he pretty much plays the part like "hey, I'm Alan Arkin's son" - stars as Tony, a high school footballer who accompanies his paranoid wacko/ CIA agent father (Ed McMahon, who talks to a framed photo of Sen. Joe McCarthy on his wall) to Romania. There he gets his palm read at a restaurant and is told he carries the curse of the pentagram. "Oh, I always wanted to go to the pentagon," he says. At which point the waiter leans in to say, "pentagram, stupid!" ...That's the tone of this movie, more Young Frankenstein than Teen Wolf. Anyway, Tony naturally gets attacked by a werewolf and returns to his hometown with a taste for dog food and haunted by mysterious gypsy violin music.
Well, decades go by and the town is never able to discover the identity of the mysterious creature by girls on the butt. Tony hasn't age, so just like in the Twilight movies, he re-registers in high school. This time he's determined to win the big game like he never got to do years before. But he also has to avoid the cops, escape his stalker ex-girlfriend, and maybe break his curse.
This movie is definitely not for everyone, but if you're open-minded, this is actually a neat little movie. For every two terrible jokes, there's a smart one; and there's so many jokes, it means we get a lot of smart ones. You just have to not let the fact that the film is full of groaners spoil it for you; if you can take it all in stride, it's a good time. The roles are all (intentionally) broadly played, but there are a lot of enjoyable character parts, and even Adam Arkin is actually quite affable in the lead. Production values are relatively, surprisingly high, and it helps to finally see this film on a good looking DVD to appreciate it. It's also full of Larry Cohen's signature touches including, yes, James Dixon. And I actually wind up enjoying this film more with each rewatch.
This is an Australian only release on the underrated Shock label. It doesn't have any extras except for the film's trailer, which you should also watch for its goofy narration. But it's a surprisingly nice, slightly letterboxed to 1.85:1 anamorphic transfer. I never expected to see this film look, especially not as an Australian exclusive. Short of some loaded special edition blu-ray, which let's face it, this film will probably never get, this release couldn't be topped. At best we can hope for an MOD from MGM, but this is an actual, pressed disc and dual layer at that, so it will still be preferable. So it's a surprisingly high recommendation from me. Track one down.

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