The house looks perfectly ordinary on a street lined with everything but ordinary houses.
Fairmount Boulevard is home to remnants of a bygone era when Cleveland movers a century ago looked east for greener pastures and a place to build stately estates.
The houses look like something out of a movie with grand architecture and have remnants of the bygone era where there were back stairs where servants could move around quietly without disturbing the owners.
Life is pretty quiet these days along the boulevard on the outskirts of town in Cleveland Heights. Except for the occasional blood-curdling screams of a house that’s about to become very familiar to fans of B horror movies.
This particular house has a rather sinister side to it.
It is currently home to an eccentric doll collector who has turned to YouTube for social acceptance and who, like in life, is being ridiculed.
Her fortune changes one day when she takes a charred antique doll head and decides to restore it to her social media channel.
It turns out that this particular doll – Baby Oopsie – has a checkered, haunted past, and murder and mayhem is devouring the 7,476 square foot home.
At least that’s the house scenario for this week.
Next week, he’ll likely turn into something new when his new owner, Hollywood film producer Charles Band, moves on to his next project.
The house now houses Full Moon Studios.
With some 348 films to his name since 1973, Band is a fairly prolific horror filmmaker.
He’ll be the first to admit that these aren’t exactly Oscar-caliber works, but a few titles are probably a familiar rental or two from your local video library at the time, including 1984’s “Ghoulies,” “Re-Animator.” from 1985 and “Trolls” a year later.
The films spawned many sequels and prequels as did his “Puppet Master” film series.
And then there’s Baby Oopsie Daisy from its “Demonic Toys” franchise which is the subject of its latest effort and the first film currently in production in Northeast Ohio.
Filming began Tuesday and is scheduled to end Sunday on the film which primarily used local cast and crew from the Cleveland and Akron areas.
If all goes well, the film could be available and available to stream at https://www.fullmoonfeatures.com/ and other streaming services from June. The film could also end up on a cable channel in the future.
“We are really hammering them,” he said. “We keep the content moving.”
The group aren’t quite ready to say what they’re thinking about for the next film just yet – other than saying Baby Oopsie won’t be the last tenant in the house.
With so many rooms at its disposal and with a bit of Hollywood magic, Band says, it can be transformed from a spooky old mansion into a suburban home with just a lick of paint and the right furnishings.
The 2,000-foot basement can be anything from an institutional hospital ward to a damp dungeon with the right lighting and a prop or two.
“This [home] is a living and breathing movie set, ”he says.
In the heyday of the VCR era, Band said there was an insatiable appetite – especially from Blockbuster – for its low-budget horror and slasher films to help fill the shelves of new releases and keep customers coming back for more.
Times may have changed, but with so many streaming channels now, there is a demand for new horror movies again.
Band said he believes this old Cleveland Heights home may just be the answer he’s been looking for to cut production costs and cut lead times quickly. He said the cost of real estate and studio rentals was astronomical in and around Hollywood, complicating his business formula.
It was by chance that he even ended up with the house and the new studio space in Ohio.
He was visiting Cleveland months ago when he heard about this really cool big house that had fallen into disrepair and was stuck in real estate limbo.
Located in historic Fairmount, the house, built in 1916 by Cleveland Architects Meade and Hamilton, was in jeopardy.
Its former owners were two sisters who were looking to sell quickly and relocate.
The house sold quickly, but closing the deal ran into a roadblock after a roadblock and was blocked.
Band said he stepped in and offered $ 1,000 over the previous offer and was able to buy it after overcoming a myriad of legal and real estate hurdles.
While Zillow says the house that includes a separate transport house is worth $ 768,923, Band said she needs a lot of TLC, including lots of plumbing and electrical work and a seven-page list of improvements dictated by the city before the sale could materialize.
“I was looking for another home away from home,” he says. “You can’t even buy a decent garage in a good neighborhood for $ 326,000 [the price he paid for the house and property]. “
The group said that just seven weeks after the house closed, they had brought on a handful of actors and writer / director William Butler to begin filming on “Baby Oopsie.”
He plans to rely primarily on northeast Ohio for the talent and technical magic of his future endeavors.
He’s already imagining a possible Christmas special that will use the house he calls Full Moon Manor as a backdrop.
And he won’t have to pay for Hollywood fake snow anymore.
“I can make movies for all eternity here.”
Craig Webb, who remembers renting the group’s films on VHS, can be reached at [email protected]