A Look Back At: FULL ECLIPSE (1993)!!

FEThe ’90s was an interesting decade to say the least. Growing up, nothing was better to me, than sitting down to watch either a horror film or one of my favorite HBO programs, whether it be TALES FROM THE CRYPT or THE KIDS IN THE HALL, most of my nights were spent eating McDonald’s and being stuck to the TV. Once in a great while, HBO would premiere films exclusively on their channel, and sometimes those films would be just what I was looking for. Whether it be 1991’s Lovecraftian, Phillip Marlow meets Black Magic type of film CAST A DEADLY SPELL, or the subject of this A Look Back At article, the 1993 Werewolf Cop film FULL ECLIPSE, HBO really did a hell of a job offering some fun programming.

Directed by HELLRAISER III director Anthony Hickox and co-written by Richard Christian Matheson (THREE O’CLOCK HIGH )and Michael Reaves (BATMAN: MASK OF THE PHANTASM), FULL ECLIPSE gave genre fans a breath of fresh, silly air. Throwing everything from a straight up cop film, to a cross between a werewolf film and an X-Men like story into the mix, the film is a perfect example of what made the ’90s so special. It came out at a time, when off the wall ideas were actually embraced, not turned away. Studios gave off-kilter storytelling a chance to succeed and though quite a few of those attempts backfired and failed miserably, I’ve always had a real soft spot for FULL ECLIPSE and its ludicrous mix of nonstop shooting in the air, cities getting destroyed, and horny as all hell werewolves and enough bad accents to make COLD MOUNTAIN seem like a good thing.

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After a bust goes horribly wrong, and Max Dire’s partner is shot multiple times in action, he’s stressed to the max. After a series of failed attempts at marriage counseling ends with Max’s wife leaving him and his partner’s survival looking pretty slim, all seems to be going straight to hell, until someone injects his partner with a serum which makes him instantly better, yet highly aggressive. As his partner gets wilder and things get even more confusing for me, Max is recruited by Adam Garou (PASSENGER 57‘s Bruce Payne) and his elite small group of special cops, who disguise themselves as a “crisis” group for Police officers in need. Not sure at first about joining, Max’s mind is swayed, when his partner realizes who (or better yet, WHAT) he’s becoming kills himself with a bullet made of silver. Garou and his team bring Max along for a ride, one that ends with all of them injecting themselves with the same serum that was injected into Max’s now deceased partner, and turning into werewolf-like super cops. They tear apart a whole gathering of baddies, all while wearing costumes that look like they’re straight out of X-Men. Seeing the craziness unfold in front of him, Max insists that he wants nothing to do with the team.

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As an audience, we know that the movie can’t stop there, so almost immediately, Max is seduced and injected by Casey (LETHAL WEAPON 2‘s Patsy Kensit), Garou’s lady, turning him into one of the werewolf elite. As the film goes on, Max is left to decide if he wants to remain a member of the team, and with the more information that he finds on Garou, the more danger he brings into his own life,..all leading to an awesome and action packed finale.

FULL ECLIPSE is a perfect example of a great rated R action/horror film, made in a time when people cared about telling fun stories, before everything HAD to be accessible to everyone. Is it a perfect film?, not in the slightest. What it lacks in seriousness and good accents, it makes up in charm and just overall silly fun. It’s the type of film that would be perfect to watch with friends over pizza. It doesn’t change the game, but it happily plays it, giving viewers a completely entertaining new take on werewolves, and also giving a likable hero character in Mario Van Peebles’ Max. It really gives you that classic gritty cop movie of the ’90s feeling, mixed with some very interesting ideas regarding the classic werewolf subgenre.

The action is consistent, the gore is pretty great, and hey, who DOESN’T want to see two injected werewolf characters get it on? It’s a film that screams “friday night movie!” louder than most of today’s action films. It’s a shame that films like FULL ECLIPSE don’t really get made anymore, because it’s one that warrants multiple viewings, full of two guns firing while leaping through the air, practical effects, and some pretty impressive stunt work to boot. It’s a movie that would be a perfect fit for companies like Scream Factory or Anchor bay to re-release.

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