Puppet Master (1989)

DVD Cover (Echo Bridge Entertainment)
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Overall Rating 54%
Overall Rating
Ranked #3,317
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Genres / Traits: Horror Supernatural Horror Toys

Connections: Puppet Master

André Toulon is a puppet maker and the best of the kind. One day he happens upon an old Egyptian formula able to create life, so he decides to give life to his puppets. The Nazis seek to use this knowledge to their advantage and in desperation, Toulon commits suicide. Some years later four psychics get on the trail of a former colleague who suddenly commits suicide, and they decide to investigate the mansion he killed himself in. Along with his widow, they uncover the secrets of the Puppet Master. --IMDb
Paul Le Mat
Paul Le Mat
William Hickey
William Hickey
Irene Miracle
Irene Miracle
Jimmie F. Skaggs
Jimmie F. Skaggs
Robin Frates
Robin Frates
Review by Ginose
Added: August 28, 2007
Full Moon, at one time they were a colossus of the independent film circuit, churning out masterpiece after masterpieces of indie gold. Keep in mind that these were no Hollywood films, nothing of the sort, but I'll be damned if they weren't 50 times more entertaining than most of Hollywood's bull (especially the shite we see nowadays). This was some of the most entertaining cinema ever to be released on video and I really only wish Full Moon could have stayed in this realm of beauty... however, thanks to repeated bankruptcies on their own part, they've fallen from their grace. Sure, they release one or two EXTREMELY entertaining movies every 2 years or so, but they've got nothing real going for their DV features anymore... but, here's one fond look back on their glory days...

The movie begins with a very odd scene, a small oriental puppet staring out of a window. Strange, yes, but plot relevant all the same as we see Andre Toulon (William Hickey) creating a new puppet. After chanting a few magic words, the toy begins to move on its own. Meanwhile, downstairs, we have a first person view of what appears to be another one of Toulon's toys, panting and rushing around outside, only to see two men in black getting out of their car. This alarms the little fellow as he begins his quick (and slightly humorous) rush back to his master's hotel room. Andre places his living puppets in a large trunk, assuring them that they'll be safe. He hides them in a large (and hidden) grove in the wall just as the men in black arrive. At this, he blows his brains out.

Now, we cut scene to our (for the most part) lead, Alex Whitaker (Paul Le Mat), sitting at Harvard as he wakes from a dream in which he has huge leeches on him. Huh... Anyhow, as we go on, we're introduced to what seem to be several other psychics (as Whitaker is) who all seem to be drawn in by a mysterious calling from their associate, Neil Gallagher (Jimmie F. Skaggs). When the group arrive at the Bodega Bay Inn (where they are summoned) they are shocked to discover that Neil is dead (INSERT SHOCK AND AWE HERE), and his wife, Megan (Robin Frates) is the current keeper of her family's estate. The psychics get comfortable in the inn during their wait for Neil's burial the next day, but there are a few things that may frazzle their already suspicious feelings... and these things are about a foot-and-a-half tall and very, very mean...

Now, the first thing that pops into most peoples' heads when I tell them the premise of the movie is "what the hell do psychics have to do with possessed killer puppets?" Well, watch the damn movie, it'll all come together.

The movie itself is creepy. No other word. He atmosphere is cold, the actors give very solidly chilled performances (NOTE: I didn't say GREAT, I said chilled) and the whole movie just has a slow, depressing pace... hell, even the one sex scene in the film leaves you feeling super depressed.

As a whole, the puppets truly do steal the show, they're in this one for a very small window of time, but each scene they're killing, chasing or otherwise just giving you the creeps (thank you, Jester) with their appearances. Though the puppets are rather disturbing, they're honestly not the creepiest twist to the movie... I really hate reviewing movies like this because I know I'll ruin what few twists it has, just by talking about it... ah well...

The only thing I'll note as a down side is that the movie is very slow and takes awhile before it gets to any real action... this, however, isn't necessarily a bad thing, it just depends on your taste in horror.

Honestly, for a b-movie, this film is pretty classy. It doesn't rely on blood for scares or sex for entertainment, just good old-fashioned monsters in a creepy environment. I was more than surprised, I was impressed.

Anyhow, this movie truly amazed me in the best way. The performances weren't top shelf, but great for it's genre, the gore was fun (sparse, but fun) and this just had a very... I don't know how to word it... some kind of retro-gothic feel to it. Give it a look if it sounds interesting. I, personally, loved it. Maybe someday Full Moon will rise again... until then, let's just hope and pray that Charles Band knows he still has fans of his work out there...

Ginose #1: Ginose - added 12/26/2005, 10:00 PM
This review pisses me off alittle. this was probably one of the greatest movies I've ever seen! I love this entire series... except "VS. Demonic toys", but I like to pretend that was never made. You can read MY review for Puppet Master at me website: http://juggaloginose.tripod.com/
Crispy #2: Crispy - added 05/13/2007, 04:46 PM
Wow, reading that review was one of the dumbest things I've ever done. My head is throbbing after that one. It was like one long youtube comment.
QuietMan #3: QuietMan - added 08/02/2007, 11:13 AM
after the 2nd one they get alot better i have the box set
Crispy #4: Crispy - added 08/13/2007, 05:30 PM
I actually liked this one. Granted, it wasn't terrific, but not horrible. I'd go 7/10 personally
bluemeanie #5: bluemeanie - added 08/29/2007, 09:50 AM
Actually, Full Moon Entertainment never went bankrupt. They separated from Paramount for three reasons: (01) Paramount always treated Charles Band like shit while he was there, even though he gave them top sellers like "Puppet Master" and "Prehysteria! (with Moonbeam); (02) Charles Band had a problem with Paramount not agreeing to release their film "Castle Freak" as as unrated film, even though they had done so before; and (03) there were some disputes over the actual budgets for some of Band's films, with Paramout thinking that Band was exaggerating the amount he spent on the films. Full Moon changed names numerous times, but this was never because of bankruptcy.

As for "Puppet Master", what's not to love? It's a classic Full Moon feature and one of the most memorable horror films from that time frame. Very creative and very entertaining. 8/10.
QuietMan #6: QuietMan - added 08/29/2007, 10:27 AM
Look I love Puppet Master and I mean love it's the only horror series i wanted on dvd. that being said I must say this as both a fan of the Puppet Master series and movies over all i have to say the 1st movie is god awful. The acting is well below sci-fi orignal movie status (except William Hickey who is the man RIP) , the all the characters fit into 2 groups 1 being assholes and the other being losers, the plot is barely there and the dialog sucks more then a $1 hooker next to a change machine. The only thing good about the movie is the puppets which should be the most important part but they don't get as much screen time as they should (something that got fixed in the 2nd installment) but I figure that has to do with the budget so I really don't fault them for it. For starting a series I love i'd say this movie is awesometown but not taking the rest of the series into account i have to give it a 5/10
Crispy #7: Crispy - added 08/30/2007, 11:38 PM
Chad, why'd you delete yours? Instead of it doing that "pick a review" thing?
Chad #8: Chad - added 08/31/2007, 05:42 AM
Some of my '04 - '05 reviews suck ass - they weren't being written for this site back then, and as such, I didn't exactly put a lot of effort into them. Whenever I get a chance to replace one of them (such as with Ginose's review here), I jump at it.
Tristan #9: Tristan - added 09/14/2007, 08:28 PM
Sort of like Walking Tall?
Chad #10: Chad - added 09/14/2007, 09:03 PM
Hey now, I liked Walking Tall. So sue me.
Tristan #11: Tristan - added 09/14/2007, 09:26 PM
Remake? So did I.
I was just referring to how short the review was. It's like, the first or second on here, isn't it?
Crispy #12: Crispy - added 09/14/2007, 09:27 PM
Pfft, look at his Killer Klowns from Outer Space review. It's maybe a paragraph.
Tristan #13: Tristan - added 09/14/2007, 09:50 PM
That movie ruled. I had started a review for it, then noticed it on here so chucked it.
Now I know to just keep 'em.
Chad #14: Chad - added 09/14/2007, 09:57 PM
My heart has been completely shattered. Thanks.
Crispy #15: Crispy - added 09/14/2007, 10:00 PM
Almost makes me want to dig up your other "baby step" reviews ;)
Chad #16: Chad - added 09/14/2007, 10:03 PM
There's some on here that are really bad, but I'm certainly not going to point them out.
Tristan #17: Tristan - added 09/14/2007, 10:26 PM
Silent Night, Deadly Night 2?
It's like 9 sentences. If I tried that shit now you'd turn me down cold.
Chad #18: Chad - added 09/14/2007, 10:40 PM
Damned right I would.
Crispy #19: Crispy - added 09/14/2007, 10:42 PM
I still say you should have let that Bloodrayne review through. It really captured the spirit of the film.
Chad #20: Chad - added 09/14/2007, 10:49 PM
If we were doing that, I could finish Lommel's entire filmography tonight.
Shakes #21: Shakes - added 01/22/2009, 01:13 PM
I saw this as a kid, always have loved it. Nice originality and awesome puppets. My favorite puppet has always been Blade, but they're all pretty badass in their own ways. 8/10

Warning: PLEASE do not see The Legacy!!!! It will only make you angry at not just Charles Band & Full Moon but the entire world! - Reed
Lucid Dreams #22: Lucid Dreams - added 07/21/2010, 08:41 PM
This was ok and I'm starting to wonder why I was afraid of this movie as a child. The acting was laughable, but as the review states it was kind of a fun movie, so a 6/10 should be fine.
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