This flick is not a direct reboot of the first movie from the Puppet Master Franchise, that originally started in 1989, rather it takes place in a parallel universe, where Andre Toulon, instead of an opposing force for the Nazis and the Third Reich is now shown as one them, and the puppets as a collection blessed with occult influences and sinister intents. The latest entry marks the 13th-installment in the series, and thanks to producer Dallas Sonnier, who many have heard, from restarting the legendary horror magazine Fangoria and who’s produced quite a few horror flicks, among them Bone Tomahawk (2015) and Dark Was the Night (2014), with many new movies in both pre- and post-production. Sonny Laguna and Tommy Wiklund (Animalistic ) directed this insane b-movie with S. Craig Zahler serving as screenwriter, with them all familiar to the horror genre. One must clearly state this movie, definitely not politically correct, and highly possible to offend someone with thin-skin, and that makes a nice return to the harshness of horror. The genre, requires and needs this ruthless input to make horror live up its name with less of the PG-13 ratings. Early in this movie the characters namely Toulon and the puppets targeting certain races, religion and sexual orientation, but loses that guideline halfway through and just goes full-on slasher and splatter free-for-all for gore-hounds rejoice. One might see I’m a fan of this franchise, having statues, figurines, posters and even the Puppet Master Collection [Toulon’s Ultimate Collectible Trunk], however I did my best to approach the film and review with a non-bias attitude.
Toulon (Udo Kier, a horror icon) seen briefly in a prologue, learning he’s responsible for a few murders, in the early moments while in a bar, he gives an anti-homosexual look and phrases uttered from him in regard to the bartender and her lover. However, karma, quickly inserts as he’s sort-of killed by police, remember true evil never dies, the film quickly switches 30-years to present day, to a convention on the anniversary of his death. Herein, a group collectors of Toulon’s vintage creations, countless numbers of which were made for his mail order business, that’s correct, various variations of the puppets, include Blade, Tunnler, Torch and others. Although, before the convention fun, one must include a trio of important cast members first comic book creator Edgar (Thomas Lennon (Hell Baby ) who just had a divorce, moving back into his parent’s home and living in his late brother’s bedroom, and discovers a Blade puppet. He soon reconnects with a childhood friend, Ashley (Jenny Pellicer) and a fastest courtship to becoming romantically involved, and head to the convention, with his boss and co-worker Markowitz (Nelson Franklin). Soon after the convention, comes a tour the grounds, head by Barbara Crampton (yes, in different character than the first movie) this time as security guard Carol Doreski and speaking of cameo, there’s Charlyne Yi (Cloverfield ) as a Nerissa a hotel employee, Michael Pare (Bad Moon ) and Skeeta Jenkins as Cuddly Bear, he does a wonderful performance, and delivers comedic moments. Nevertheless the madness starts with all these puppets focused in one area and the gore filled killings, with a head in a toilet and removal of a baby from the womb. Ghastly acts! No one, spared, slicing and dicing the guests to bits, adults and children all treated to a smorgasbord of carnage.
This flick includes a nifty amount of production value, puppets look very good, a few times POV shots don’t work the best, but the techniques provide new avenues of adventure. The killing at a constant rate might seem too much for some, however it’s primarily a b-movie, with plenty of near moments of exploitation, once more crossing into areas of taboos, giving all the necessary elements to the horror genre, long since lost, but not going to the torture porn level.
Dallas and his team deliver a film horror fans who like the popcorn covered with blood, to enjoy and the puppet killers back with a vengeance. In the horror genre, the doll subgenre, dominated by Chucky of late, always a great place to have these types of films, as the ventriloquist dummies, such as Dead Silence (2007) to the mannequins in Tourist Trap (1979), even Dolls (1987). The composers include both Richard Band and legendary Fabio Frizzi that many horror fans recognize their contributions equally generate some wonderful scene tempo changers. The set design also included authentic Nazi relics from World War II, again it’s the small details the production puts to even a b-movie film, as well insulting, offensive and sharp edge dialogue.
As previously stated I have a passion for this franchise, I’m not clearly sure why, likely I grew up with it, and watched it as sheer entertainment, and something horror fans like and want to do that, just turn off the brain, and get drenched in the bloodbath. This movie, likely to turn off some people, with regard the language, offensive mannerisms, though frankly it’s a Lenny Bruce or Andrew Dice Clay level, however the movie promises a sequel, hopefully they go further down the road, not exactly tasteless, rather creating controversy versus criticism. Simply for this flick, grab the beers, invite friends over, especially those who grew up with the series, and see if it incites them with laughter and reminiscing about killer puppets, and all the b-movie qualities of T&A and ridiculous violence.
- World War III Begins on Your Toy Shelf
IMDb Rating: 5.4
Baron’s Rating: 5.5