David DeCoteau’s ‘Puppet Master 6: Curse of the Puppet Master’

We are back to Puppet Master and the first reboot of the series after it was initially intended to end back on chapter 5. New cast but no new puppets and an attempt at continuing to use the lore previously are the first of many miss steps, in an attempt to avoid too much. Lets get into this torrid tale of the darker side of man.

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Actually, this is not a bad scene.

We open up on the House of Marvels Museum which we are shown is now the home of Andre Toulon’s creations. The Bodega Bay Hotel is in the past and to show this we are interested to Dr Magrew (George Peck) and his daughter Jane (Emily Harrison) who treat the Puppets as curious playful creatures (Although the Dr does make note of the previously murdery tendencies). We are interested to a local young man named Robert “Tank” Winsley (Josh Green) who gets picked on by the local boys because he is large and meek. Tank is a very skilled whittler, spending time on his hobby to escape the mean spirited locals and kill time while working at the local gas station. Soon the Dr is recruiting Robert to help him create a special puppet designed by Andre Toulon but never created. As Robert helps the Dr we see that he maybe under the effects of something as his previously meek nature becomes increasingly violent. When we finally discover the nature of the Dr’s plan it seems that Robert can no longer be saved but can love bring him back from the brink?

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Cannon fodder.

This film has the feeling of the red heading step child of the Puppet Master series, some of the elements of the series are here but seem distorted. One element that makes a welcome return is the puppets requiring a soul to be animated, this actually becomes central to the plot but also offers a reason for the finale. The puppets themselves are slightly under utilised especially when initially they were a vessel for vengeance, this is one thing that probably came from the need to “Soft Reboot” the whole series and gave them more flexibility for future entries.

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“Oh, I’m not one of those high falutin city folk.”

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These dungarees should have been included in the credits.

The cast are not quite at the level of the other entries and struggle with some of the dramatic scenes but as this is a horror film we always allow some bad acting. Guy Rolfe does not appear as Ambiguous Nazi Puppet Yoda this time around which is upsetting since he was always the best thing about these films. The main character Robert is played as unintelligent but functional within this world, to make sure we are always aware of his intelligence they dress him in denim dungarees for the entire film (Like a weird new version of John Steinback’s Of Mice and Men) which is more than a bit condescending.

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He is holding a briefcase which would lead us to believe he owns more clothes, he does not.

To be absolutely honest this film is not good, it is difficult to watch and takes forever to reveal information most people will guess in the first few minutes. I like the Dr and they bring in a the Karate Kid style bully which is fun but sadly both characters lack any definition, becoming far too evil early on in the film.

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The perfect weapon to hold sideways and threaten people with.

This is the film that reinvigorated the series but after watching it I really cannot see why. I wouldn’t recommend it and once again give a David Spade, you may remember a time when you enjoyed it but that time passed long ago.

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Hey, they are wearing matching clothes!


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!

Dave Allen ‘Puppet Master 2: His Unholy Creation’

Here we go, round 2 with this series. After the first film I didn’t hold out much hope but there is always a chance this is the Godfather 2 of the the franchise. I got ready by going through some other films made by Full Moon Features (I also made some purchases that I will probably regret) just so I could talk with authority on the subject of this studios creative process and work (I still have no fucking idea about any of it, I assume cocaine was a large factor.). Lets get naked and go skinny dipping in this bitch shall we!

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This guy was a homeless drunk in They Live and Back to the Future. He could do better.

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This film contains child murder which is always gutsy especially when you have said child burnt to death by a puppet.

We open up on the grave of Andre Toulon (Steve Welles) being excavated and possibly ressurected by Pinhead, the scene then ends and we meet our new team of rag tag parapsychologists who have arrived to investigate the happenings of the previous movie. It seems that the survivors have met grizzly ends or wound up with free room and board for life in an insane asylum (The rooms are great but the food is lacking). Our new group move into the Bodega Bay Inn with the hopes of unravelling the mystery of why, what and who killed the gang of psychics (The hardest people to kill because they can sometimes see it coming). Soon after making residence one of the team goes missing and a strange man with the name Eriquee Chaneé claims ownership of the property but allows them to continue as he does not hold the papers proving so. The team leader Carolyn Bramwell (Elizabth Maclellan) captures and destroys Tunneler and (After dissecting the puppet.) she attempts to warn the others of a possible bad Pinnochio situation all the while having Eriquee creepily advance on her. Who is Eriquee and why does he speak the same as Mr Toulon? Who is the real Puppet Master and why are there 8 more of these films?

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Look, I am leaning just like average American asshole, ignore the thick German accent and smell of rot.

The good first then we will do the less good or “Bad” as it is now known. This film features slightly better acting over the orignal, that is at no times more noticable than the ending (Which I will not spoil here) in which one character pleas for their life while a villain simply tries to give them a tasty beverage. The special effects are also excellent with some stand out moments again being the finale involving some super creepy puppets, a nice little dissection scene with tunneler and the makeup on Eriquee Chaneé. The script is also a lot tighter with some nice moments between characters.

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Kill it with fire! Kill it with all the fire!

Now the bad and well there are a few things to mention. Firstly, although the acting is better than the original that really doesn’t mean much, actors often do not make it clear what they are trying to convey and it can make the plot muddy (One sex scene becomes very worrying as the female is sporting terrified eyes as the male mounts her). The film also keeps very close to the mythos set up in the original but this also means that it is the biggest break when it comes to the rest of the series but that is not the fault of this production more of the narrative of the series. Music is alright, nothing to really mention as outstanding but there isn’t anything too offensive for the ear holes.

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Is this not the fashion?

I would actually recommend this one, despite the bad it is entertaining and you start to see a little hope in the franchise. I give it a Mad Mel Gibson, I liked it and I may watch it again depending on if they legalise weed before I lose the DVD.

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This is the most 90’s image EVER!