What do you get when you put a man with lion’s mane hair and the ability to dream of nonsensical future events, a witch who carries her stuffed dog around, two sex psychics who specialize in sexy sex stuff, a dead man who appears in random spots and finally a bunch of killer puppets inside a giant old hotel? You get the cult classic from Full Moon Productions, Puppet Master. You also get to see some boobies from one of the sexy sex psychics who specialize in sexy sex stuff…
Short nitty-gritty plot description from IMDb is as follows: Puppet maker Andre Toulon shoots himself at the Bodega Bay Inn before
his Secret of Life can be stolen by the Nazis. 50 years later in 1989
the secret is discovered by Neil Gallagher. Soon he sends messages to
his psychic friends Alex Whitaker, Dana Hadley, Frank Forrester and
Carissa Stamford who arrive to find his wife Megan who claims Neil to be
dead. As the night goes by, the murderous puppets are awakened and unleashed on the group, only for them to discover that evil comes in all
I have to laugh at the above plot description, because honestly I didn’t understand at all that Nazis were trying to steal Andre Toulon’s secret formula. I guess it goes to show how deep this movie really is, or that the movie barely had a plot and was just an excuse to show puppets killing people. I’ll let you decide which is correct.
Puppet Master was released in 1989 (direct to video) and what followed was a barrage of sequels, with plenty of diminishing returns. I’ve only seen a few of them, but rest assured I will be reviewing them all when I do get around to watching them. As for the first in the series, Puppet Master isn’t that bad of a film. It’s a little slow going and the plot seems to have been left on the cutting room floor. Honestly though, if you’re going into this movie expecting Shakespeare, you need to get your brain checked. We want puppet mayhem and puppet mayhem is what you’re going to get, well after about an hour has passed that is. Even if you haven’t seen any of the films, I’m sure you will recognize a few of the little monsters, with Blade being my favorite and it seems the leader of the group. A few others that show up are: Pinhead (a muscular puppet with a small head), a lovely lady with the gross feature of spitting out giant leeches, one with a drill on his head and finally a puppet whose face can change (yeah, not the best killing feature). There’s also actual live people in the film, but the acting is so bad you don’t really care (I did like that one sexy sex psychic lady though). The kills are mildly inventive and offer a few gross moments (leeches and the final kill are the highlights), but with the film only having 4 deaths and the blood and guts being cut or never shown, it’s disappointing. Although, the scene where a woman keeps getting punched by Pinhead is hilarious for all the wrong reasons.
Composer and brother of the film’s director, Richard Band provides some colourful music, with it’s hint of toy like sounds. As for the director, Charles Band, he does a nice job with filming the puppets, using close ups and stop motion animation and even today it still looks nice. Most of the film is shot at one location, so the sets are limited. As for the rest of the film, it’s your standard 80s bad/awesome hair and bad/awesome clothes.
Puppet Master is not a great film, far from it, but the puppets themselves are what make this film a blast to watch. Also, 80s horror cheese is usually always a guaranteed fun time. So grab a few drinks, some popcorn and friends and have a great time making fun and looking at the sexy sex psychic’s boobies.