Monday, November 29, 2010

Pull the Strings!: Curse of the Puppet Master

Just leave it alone.  Seriously, just stop!  In 1994, Full Moon released Puppet Master 4 (The Demon) and Puppet Master 5 (The Final Chapter).  The series was meant to go off in a different direction (more on that later this week), but that didn't quite pan out.  Jump ahead to 1998 and the series was back...for some reason.  Was there a big need here?  Of course, this revival led to this film, Retro Puppet Master, Puppet Master: The Legacy and Puppet Master vs. The Demonic Toys.  Let me be the first person to say this: thanks a ton!  This film is quick to toss out continuity and toss in stock footage.  You fools- you got it backwards!  Regardless, I'm going to be done with this series once I wrap up this review.  Let's go fetch the gun and take Old Yeller out back.  Get out your randomly-gray room for my review of...
The film begins out in the woods with a man doing something secretive.  I'm sure it's nothing evil or creepy at all.  Sometime later at a gas station, some jerks pick on a guy who clearly outweighs them by fifty pounds.  Oh, he's apparently one of those 'big guys that can't fight back,' so it all makes sense.  Wait- no, it doesn't!  An old man and his daughter intercede, the former picking a fight with the kids.  That's...random.  He hires the big guy to work for him, offering him a nicer job that doesn't involve pumping gas.  Of course, this guy has found something else he wants to pump: the guy's daughter.  She's 'Full Moon Hot' (translation: okay for a '90s chick), but she plays hard to get.  In fact, when she finally makes a move, she inadvertently causes him to cut his finger open.  That night, our hero wakes up to find his body opened up and full of doll parts.  That's really neat's a dream.  How can you pad out your film and piss off your audience with fake-out moments in one fell swoop?  Pointless dream sequence- that's how!  By the way, want to know why I'm not talking about the dolls?  It's because they haven't done shit so far!
Finally, the action begins to pick up a bit as our hero and the girl go out on a date.  It's just walking around, since this movie's on a budget tighter than Chinese Finger-Cuffs.  They get confronted by the jerks from before, who have designs on going 'family-style' on the gal.  Her guy intercedes and starts choking one of them.  When he stops, they just sort of leave.  Hey guys, you outnumber him five-to-one.  That night, the girl settles in for bed, only for the same jerk to show up.  Welcome to Stock Footage Hell, people (not to confused with the segment)!  Pinhead goes from sitting on a table inches from the guy, followed by gray stock footage of him running on the ground to suddenly jumping at the guy!  That's...not even close to good.  To make matters worse, this little bit of puppet/stock footage action ends in the guy tossing Pinhead away and stomping on him.  You're worse than the original film at making them look like a threat!  Our hero and the professor help rebuild him.  In a silly sub-plot, a Sheriff (played by the same guy who was the co-star of Trancers 6) suspects that the professor has been up to no good.  By the way, this has to be addressed.  Where did the professor get the dolls?  He bought them.  Yes, I guess the guy from Puppet Master 4/5 got bored with them and just gave up fighting evil.  Lame.  They toss in yet another pointless dream sequence too, by the way.
As it turns out, the guy is pretty evil.  He's been experimenting with Toulon's puppets in order to find out a way to make his own.  As such, he hires young men, uses them as guinea pigs and then dumps the bodies.  Our heroine discovers this when she digs up the puppet remains of the last assistant!  Before that can happen, we need some of the only Puppet Master-style moments of the film.  Blades and Tunneler go to the attempted-rapist's place and kill him while he's working night.  Two things to note here.  First, you get to see a kill that would later show up in Doll Graveyard (only changed slightly).  Second, way to show one of the guys' hands while moving Tunneler.  Since they were too cheap to make new stop-motion, they just wiggled the dolls up and down.  Lame!  All of this leads up to the professor making an experiment out of our hero.  He is nearly done with it when the Sheriff and his Deputy arrive.  They get killed by the dolls in some decent action, although it too has stock footage in it a bit.  Nice of you to overcompensate on the blood for the Third Act too.  Both of them die and the girl sees the experiment go off.  Our hero has his, um, energy put into a robot-looking doll.  Not surprisingly, he zaps the old man just after the dolls show solidarity against him and cut him to ribbons.  Oh good, I wanted to see the ending of Puppet Master 1 and 2 again!  The End.
This movie sucks!  The plot is stupid and barely involves the dolls.  It could have been Killjoy 12 or Demonic Toys 8, just with different stock footage in it!  The dolls barely appear in the film because this movie was made so cheaply that they couldn't afford to make new stop-motion effects!  I know that I've mentioned that a couple of times now, but it bears repeating.  How can you not afford that?!?  Furthermore, why did you think that your 'disguise' would work?  Aside from this, the actual story is pretty lame.  The characters are stock, the plot moves slower than a fat guy trying to walk while holding a fart in and the special effects are done way too much at the end.  It's kind of like watching Roger Corman's The Raven and it's crazy 'magic duel' at the end.  The difference is that I like that movie.  It's fun, silly and gets what it's point is.  This movie does none of that and sullies the name of Full Moon.  I didn't think that it was possible, but things have changed.  Give me randomly-evil Toulon or puppets fighting mummies any day of the week over this shit!
Next up, we take a break from tiny things and go big.  I mean, sea monsters fighting rednecks big!  Stay tuned...

1 comment:

  1. I've not seen the Puppet Master films of the last three days. And from the sound of it, I won't be seeing them. Thank you for suffering, so I didn't have to. :)