Charles Band’s ‘Puppet Master 8: The Legacy’

I really cannot express my disappointment when watching this movie and realising that it is essentially a series of clips from the previous films. I really cannot justify reviewing this as a film, if you wanted to see everything that is shown here you probably would have watched the previous films in this series.

Kiss me you FOOL!

ROMANCE!

The “story” revolves around Peter Hertz (Jacob Whitkin) who was the young boy saved by Andre Toulon in the third film. Peter is now the Puppet Master and has been cornered by the mysterious Maclain (Kate Orsini) who is seeking a way to destroy the nefarious marionettes and save the souls trapped inside. Eventually she kills him or something along those lines, many clips of other films are shown in between.

Shoot him you FOOL!

ACTION!

It’s difficult to pinpoint the reason for Charles Band to create this film using mostly footage previously seen. On one hand it could have been that he wished to show the journey the puppets have gone on but if that was the case you would pick scenes of emotional depth and not just murdering. This intention could have been for this to just be a kill compilation but then you have to question the book ending segments involving Maclain and Peter.

Cat eyes!

SUSPENCE!

All in all this really shouldn’t be classed as a separate film, it feels more like a DVD extra that would come in a box set more than a piece deserving any narrative. I recommend avoiding this and give it an Adam Sandler, you know it’s going to be shit but it depends on your tolerance for that sort of thing.

A Thankless Thank You

Thank you for all the monies!

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Jeff Burr’s ‘Puppet Master 4: The Demon’

Well here we go, number 4 in the Puppet Master series and it’s getting a bit easier to watch these. Quality is not always something you can expect but there is never a lack of interesting things to see. Number 4 brings back Mr Toulon played by Guy Rolfe who is a great addition to the cast and brought warmth to the role which helped the shift in tone for film 3. Lets get to the tatties and pies shall we?

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This is a massive puppet of Suketh and I find it hard not to laugh as it waves it arms.

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When you see this shot you should hear Aerosmith singing “Back in the Saddle”

We open up on Suketh who as it turns out is the original holder of the spell to animate inanimate objects. Suketh is pissed since the spell was stolen and has been so flippantly used by humans for all the monkey shines from the previous movies, so he decides that it’s time to send down some of his own 12″ monsters. Back on Earth we find the Bodega Bay Hotel has a new occupant in the form of Rick Myer (Gordon Currie)  A young man working on artificial intelligence systems for a the government and moonlighting as the off season caretaker for the hotel. Rick has his girlfriend Susie over the night but she decides to bring a few friends for an impromptu party during which the Puppets are found, awoken and appear to be in the mood to help. As the demons arrive the Puppets do battle with Suketh’s evil forces while defending the party guests. With the hep of Andre Toulon’s spirit (Guy Rolfe) will Rick be able to save his girlfriend and by extension her friends? What is Suketh doing hiding and not going to Earth himself?

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Puppet Fight!

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That thing looks sharp and deadly but is actually only 12 inches tall.
The good first then we can have a big old shit sandwich 2nd. One good thing is that the characters are a little more like cannon fodder this time around, other than Rick most are cliché horror movie types but the film knows that and moves along briskly without wasting time with exposition. Suketh’s evil monsters are scabby little bastards and while not intimidating they are freaky little things. Guy Rolfe returning is a treat, once again he elevates the series and takes the original Puppet Master from stock German villain into something so much more, the tragic element has been abandoned and he now stands as the Obi-Wan figure promising to train Rick.

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Pinhead is great at working the tip but not so good with the shaft.
The bad and slightly bad. Mr Suketh is a terrible bit of FX work, this massive shambling puppet is one of the worst things in the series and the biggest crime is that he is entirely unnecessary, removed from the plot everything would have been streamlined but included it adds nothing but runtime. In terms of dialogue and writing there could have been a few lines cut or just rewritten to add some finesse to proceedings.

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The last shot is of the puppets waving goodbye and it is spectacular.

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When Suketh is angry you better believe he is going to flail his arms around madly!
In terms of enjoyment this film ranks 2nd of the titles reviewed so far. The series really lacks definition, sometimes being too camp or humorous for horror but not funny enough for comedy, this film is not a victim of that and nicely settles for horror of the House-under-siege variety. I liked it, it’s worth seeing and it gets a Tom Atkins from me, if it was any other series of films I would not rate it so highly but it reached above mediocrity and those are lofty heights for the Puppet Master movies.

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Look, everyone’s favourite puppet! Sexually ambiguous Nazi man person!

David DeCoteau’s ‘Puppet Master 3: Toulons Revenge’

Well I haven’t gone blind so lets continue our adventure into the mystical world of the Puppet Master! Number 3 arrives with the original director and a new actor playing Toulon plus a few better known actors join the cast for this time warp to a time before Bodega Bay Hotel. We are up to the third film, only 7 to go after this and I can rest, maybe go on to some sort of romcom. For now we are dealing with monstrous marionettes and it’s time to cut the jib.

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Take that puppet Hitler, you son of a bitch!

The film opens up in nazi controlled Berlin and a small Puppet show taking place, we see children laugh as six shooter takes a couple of shots at Hitler. The show ends with Andre Toulon (Guy Rolfe) handing our sweets to the children while a very Aryan man waiting to speak to the Puppet Master. It is soon found that Toulon has the ability to bring life to the lifeless and the Nazis begin hatching a plan to steal the secret. Cue the shooting of Elsa Toulon (Sarah Douglas) and the Puppet Master using his wooden friends to exact revenge on the bastards who took his wife, his town and the lives of so many. Will he succeed in driving back the Third Reich? What do the Nazis wish to animate with the formula?

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Nazis; always doing some evil shit with science and the occult.

So as per usual we are going to start with the good then get on to the bad. First and foremost, Guy Rolfe is amazing and deserves recognition for his role in this film, I spent half the film in awe of his dialogue. The director made a wise choice moving the action to Nazi Germany this time around, we instantly have more villainous forces at work and Toulon is made sympathetic easily after he loses his wife to monsters all too real.

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These muppets make it hard to understand the tone of the scene, one is fucking happy and the other looks like it’s a pissed on cornflakes morning.

Here goes the bad. The film itself is the first of many instances of plot holes appearing in this series, Toulon being alive after his apparent suicide in the 1939 does call into question the psychics reasons for being at the Bodega Bay Hotel (Although he eventually turned up there it wasn’t within the same time frame). Leech Women from Puppet Master 2 is also shown to be inhabited by the soul of his wife but when she died in the 2nd film he didn’t even question Blade or Torch on her whereabouts. There are more things that felt off and didn’t match the previous films plot but I don’t think most people will watch these films back to back so it maybe less noticeable normally.

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No bad words will be said about this man.

All in all I found this film incredibly enjoyable especially when compared to the previous 2. I would give it a Julia Roberts, you may not be expecting great things to begin with but it should surprise you.

David Schmoeller’s ‘Puppet Master’

I have recently given myself the task of watching every entry in the series of films by Full Moon Features called The Puppet Master. These films tread the line between horror and action, often the titular puppets flipping sides as often as genre. I’m not going to go into too much detail but I have now made it far enough that I think it is time for me to start making these thoughts of mine into words. Lets fucking do this!

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Backstory!

So episode one of The Puppet Master series focuses on a group of psychics that have been invited to a hotel in the hopes of unravelling mysterious goings on. The invite comes from a colleague and fellow Psychic Neil Gallagher (Jimmie F. Skaggs) who has recently taken residence at the spooky hotel. The story is eventually revealed to be that the Bodega Hotel was once the grounds for the final battle of Andre Toulon (William Hickey) the original Puppet Master, he met his end by his own hand but not before passing his secret of animation on to a protégé. It would appear that whoever the new Puppet Master is has lost control of the animate monsters and they have started killing who ever they see. What will happen to the Psychic group? Can they band together to stop something 12 inches long that doesn’t take batteries? Why would anyone be scared of a bunch of toys?

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Spoiler! Someone dies!

Lets get on with the good, we will then do the bad since that way seems to work best. This film is excellent at knowing what it is and how to do a thing without spending too much money. They chose puppets because they are cheap and do not require any flashy animating, the people are psychics because no expensive special effects are required to show that and the cast are mostly unknown which means they are also cheap (Probably more so than some of the puppets). It is also nice that this series had some scope in this first film and they started a mythology that carries through all the other entries in the series.

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Needless to say we all have dreams involving getting a bunch of head(‘s).

The bad, well because the actors are so cheap (I presume, if I’m wrong fee free to shout at me) they are not great actors, every line is tinged with a small hing of ham (Not the good Bruce Campbell kind) and your forever guessing what the intent of each scene is. The music is pretty awful but again budget meant that most of the money went on the screen, this does bring up the point that where the budget (While well used) was detrimental to the production. Expensive scenes last too long and some deaths are 5 minutes of a person screaming when we would only need 30 seconds to know that someone was not going to be in the sequels.

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So fucking sexy!

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So fucking sneaky!

I wouldn’t normally watch this film unless I planned to watch several of the films from this series, it doesn’t really stand well on its own and the narrative is all over the place. As the start to one of the lesser known horror series that are out there this is a humble beginning, it sets up a mythology which is rare but it is fair to assume the Full Moon would have made a sequel with pennies if they had to.

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Please excuse the other guest, they are dead tired.

I did like the film, I have watched it before and knew what I was in for but if this was the first time I would probably be very underwhelmed. The puppets are not scary and the plot plods along at a muddling pace but there is something so endearing about it all, this is a series that was made with it’s dukes up ready to start a new film franchise. I cannot give it a full recommendation but I will give it a Sandra Bollock, sometimes you will enjoy it but most of the time you’ll just question how she keeps going.

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Holy shit this film just went all Sinister up in this bitch!