Blu-ray Review: Full Moon High

Back in the early ’80s there was a film about a high school athlete who turns into a werewolf. Are you already screaming, “It was Teen Wolf!” Not quite. Turns out there were two of these films and Teen Wolf didn’t arrive until 1985, the mid-80s. The answer is Full Moon High which debuted in 1981. Luckily the films are not hairy clones. After being rather obscure in the last few decades, we can finally see Full Moon High in high definition thanks to a Blu-ray from Scream Factory.

Tony (Chicago Hope & Sons of Anarchy‘s Adam Arkin) is a star football player at high school. His dad (The Tonight Show‘s Ed McMahon) takes him on a trip to Romania. It’s during this business trip that things get weird since it turns out the dad is a secret agent and he also wants to hook up with the local ladies. While waiting for dad to be done using the hotel room, Tony gets attacked by a wild creature. During a flight home when there’s a hijacking, Tony transforms into a werewolf and stops the diversion. Along with being hairy ever few days a month, Tony stops growing older. He’s a perpetual teenager like Dick Clark once was. After 20 years of roaming the Earth, Tony enrolls in school and gets a girlfriend. But how long can he live a normal life like before dad’s genius idea of a bonding overseas trip?

The film by Larry Cohen (It’s Alive and The Stuff) is weird enough, but an amazing cast of people straight of the dais from a Dean Martin Roast makes it captivating. First there’s McMahon who was able to wander off the sofa and Johnny Carson’s side. Watching him seducing Romanian women is an experience you will talk about the next morning to co-workers. Roz Kelly (Pinky” Tuscadero on Happy Days) is a romantic interest of Tony. Bill Kirchenbauer (Growing Pains) is a detective. Kenneth Mars (Young Frankenstein) is a football coach who likes to shower with the boys. Elizabeth Hartman (Walking Tall) is a teacher. There’s a little preaching from Louis Nye (Sonny Drysdale on The Beverly Hillbillies). Demond Wilson (Lamont on Sanford and Son) drives a cab. Pat Morita (Karate Kid) might make a silver bullet. Did you know there’s no “I” in team or Jm J. Bullock. Why bring up that fact? Because the second greatest Hollywood Square and star of Too Close For Comfort also pops up on the set. Finally there’s the legendary Bob Saget (American’s Funniest Home Videos). Did I forget to mention Oscar winner Alan Arkin (Little Miss Sunshine) gets to investigate his son’s werewolf antics?

This isn’t a great werewolf film. Thanks to the amazing guest stars, Full Moon High feels like it was supposed to be a Bob Hope special. It’s truly made for lovers of ’70s Kitsch television. It’s rather quirky at every turn as Adam Arkin plays a teen with hair appearing everywhere on his body. For kids dealing with being a lycanthrope, it’s good to know that there’s two films from the ’80s that deal with their issues. Full Moon High promises the moon and delivers the stars.

The video is 1.85:1 anamorphic. The 1080p resolution brings out the glory of Ed McMahon in full lust. The audio is DTS-HD Master Audio Mono. The levels are fine so you can hear the howling when the moon comes out. The film is subtitled.

Audio Commentary with Director Larry Cohen is moderated by King Cohen Director Steve Mitchell. Larry discusses all the comic actors he brought onto the project for small parts.

Trailer (2:58) promises a howling good time.

Scream Factory presents Full Moon High. Directed by: Larry Cohen. Screenplay by: Larry Cohen. Starring: Adam Arkin, Ala Arkin, Ed McMahon, Roz Kelly and Louis Nye. Rated: PG. Running Time: 93 minutes. Released: April 24, 2018.

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