Movie Reviews 28 – Puppet Master I-III

Puppet Master (1991)
Forget the weird looking puppets on all those puppet master DVD covers. Forget the semi-passable acting and modest production values. Forget all that and delve into the world of the Puppet Master! Almost as soon as this movie started I knew that I was in for much more than a cheap theme type of movie. It starts with a elderly man working on some puppets in a seaside hotel room. Cut to two black coated men briskly walking towards the hotel. The Puppet Master tells his puppets that he knows they are coming and not to worry. He hides the puppets in a hidden wall cavity and as the two men barge his room he kills himself by blowing his brains out. We then cut to some 40 years later with a roundup of mystics and psychics gathered at the same hotel to mourn the passing of one of their friends. Before you know it, they are under siege from the puppets. There is a loosely tied story to it all, but make no mistake, its the puppets that are the stars. We learn of their unique special abilities if not exactly what drives them to kill. The funny thing is, it’s more than enough. The suspense of what happens next and what next move the puppets pull off is enough of a lure. And somehow just knowing that there are many more sequels kept me going. Another highlight of the movie is the fantastically eerie carnival theme music that is just perfect for the movie and as it turns out, the entire series.

Puppet Master II (1991)
A group of federal paranormal investigators come to the now locked up hotel to try to determine exactly what happened during the events of the first movie. As they begin their investigation, they are visited by a man bandaged like the invisible man who claims to be the rightful owner of the hotel despite the presence of a woman who inherited the estate and agreed to the investigators request. The strange man is of course the Puppet Master who has been resurrected from his grave by the puppets. They used what little left they had of some magical elixir to revive him. Now the puppets are on the prowl late at night in the surrounding area of the hotel killing people and extracting their brains. They need the brains so that the Puppet Master can make more of the elixir to save one of the puppets who is growing week. But he he too is weak and wants to reanimate himself and his long dead wife into the husks of two life sized puppets he’s created. As it so happens, one of the paranormal investigators is a dead ringer for his late wife and it is she that he wants to transfer to his wife’s new puppet body. A bit confusing and all over the place, but it doesn’t matter. Its the puppets we want to see and once again, they do not disappoint. Leading the way is a new metalic-faced, bullet toothed Nazi puppet with a flame throwing arm. Worth the price alone.

Puppet Master III: Toulon’s Revenge (1991)
Coming on the heels of Puppet Master II, you would have thought that the production values would be lower in this third movie of the franchise. Not so. This is a period piece that isn’t a sequel at all but a prequel that brings us back to World War 2 Germany and describes what lead up to the opening sequence of the first movie. Turns out that the Puppet Master was once a lovable Nazi hating pacifist that mocked the fuhrer in a puppet show. Unfortunately the Nazis are trying to revive the dead so that a horde of zombies can be used as a shield on the battlefields of the war. The scientist they’ve engaged to invent such a formula is not quite there yet but he learns of the Puppet Master’s serum that brings his puppets to life and is sure that it is the ingredient he needs to make his zombies and placate the Nazis. It is during the Puppet Master’s roundup that his wife is killed. But he escapes to avenge her death. Once again a new puppet is introduced for the movie, a forever smiling six armed cowboy. Watch as the puppet master gets his revenge.

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