Puppet Master

Puppet Master

When we were younger, my brother — a devoted horror movie fan — discovered Full Moon Entertainment (now Full Moon Features). They had a large collection of direct-to-video movies, complete with behind the scenes clips at the end. While I’ll always have a fondness for the Subspecies series (that first movie had the entire room rooting for the villain by the end), the series that hooked me, and stuck with me, was Puppet Master.

If you’ve never seen it, Movie Bob did a great overview to kick off this year’s Schlocktober over at the Big Picture.

Killer puppets. Yes! I’m in. I think a lot of my lasting affection comes from the design of the puppets, and their characterization. They never talk, though they can make sounds, but they still manage to have personalities. I’ve also always liked how the opening scene with Toulon in the first movie sets you up to connect with them, even when you know they’ll be slaughtering people later on.

The series is pretty long now (I’ve discovered I’m even missing two in my collection that I now need to pick up), and it has had its highs and lows. I’d say most of the lows came later, as you’d expect, but I think the first one was Puppet Master 2.

It has a setup I would usually like — paranormal researchers — but it gets over-shadowed by the decision to cast Toulon as the villain. While I can understand, maybe, the whole death thing causing a personality change, the ending hinges of his betraying the puppets, and they just didn’t sell it to me. I’d write it off completely, but it introduces Torch, who is cool, and it’s where Jester starts wearing his hat, which be needed, so I can’t quite do it.

Blade ToyI think the best of the series is Puppet Master 3. It’s something of an odd choice for me. Blade is my favourite puppet by a huge margin, and the third movie includes his origin story. It comes near the end, so he’s hardly in it at all. Still, it’s a strong story even if you take it as a standalone, but also brings it back to the caring Toulon and does a good job of establishing the back story for the series.

Overall, the continuity is a bit of a mess. (As Bob said, “this is just not the series to worry about things like that in”.) That’s the sort of thing that usually kicks me out of a series, and while it’s still kind of annoying, I forgive it, because killer puppets! Seriously, how could you not love these guys?

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