Full disclosure...my opinion of Full Moon High is biased. It's a slight bias, but it's potent enough to sour my outlook on this pungent precursor to Teen Wolf. You read that right. Larry Cohen cobbled this flick together before Michael J. Fox howled at the moon. So we have bragging rights on our side, but what else? Now, I've forced myself to sit through a repository of horror/comedy hybrids in the name of journalistic integrity. I'm determined to round off "high" month. Due to the nature of pubescent popcorn pics, I've been taxed with a surfeit of infantile humor. Excluding one title (well, maybe two), my May has been flooded with movies that desperately wanted to be funny. NOTE: They were not funny.
Full Moon High bends over backwards to elicit chuckles. The script is just a rapid-fire nexus of zingers, but as I'm sure you can ascertain, most of the jokes on display fizzle like birthday candles that your drunken uncle decided to piss on ("You can't piss on hospitality!"). I've seen so many of these cheeseball spoofs, that I was tired of this one before it got underway. And that bothers me because I'm a big Larry Cohen fan. Regrettably, 1981 was a substandard year for the director of such cult classics as It's Alive and Q: The Winged Serpent. A scant thirty weeks separated the release date of Full Moon High from that of the meager It Lives Again. An uninspired double feature, to state the obvious.
This drollery doesn't seem to know how to handle its comedic stylings. Is it a send-up? A parody? A good-natured coming-of-age story? Don't ask me. At times, it mimics the absurdity of a David Zucker production. In other scenes, Cohen echoes the complexion of John Hughes witticisms. The film also tries to make you laugh on the power of its cast alone. I'll admit that Ed McMahon gives a spirited performance as an aloof philanderer, but he's the only actor that stands out. Adam Arkin is simply mundane as Tony, a jock who is bitten by a werewolf while vacationing in Romania. As the first act draws to a close, we fast-forward twenty years to find Tony returning to his high school to enjoy the puerile mischief he missed out on.
You see, he poses as his own son. There are scads of plot holes along the way, and ordinarily, they wouldn't be obstacles. You're supposed to go with the flow when it comes to wacky pratfalls, right? I mean, this is pure camp. Who am I to complain about the unrealistic...everything? I'd be inclined to agree if the tone didn't shift gears every five minutes. Full Moon High doesn't play by its own rules. Furthermore, I wasn't entertained. Perhaps I wasn't in the right frame of mind to dig the telegraphed punchlines or the cartoonish characters. I will say this; it wasn't as irritating as Sleepy Hollow High. At least the narrative moved at a snappy clip.
Thankfully, my next review subject is light on tomfoolery. I'm in the home stretch!
Posted by Dom Coccaro at 10:40 PM