Retro Puppet Master (1999)

DVD Cover (Full Moon Pictures)
Movie Connections:
Puppet Master
> Puppet Master (1989)
> Puppet Master II (1991)
> Puppet Master III: Toulon's Revenge (1991)
> Puppet Master 4 (1993)
> Puppet Master 5: The Final Chapter (1994)
> Curse Of The Puppet Master (1998)
> Retro Puppet Master (1999)
> Puppet Master: The Legacy (2003)
> Puppet Master vs. Demonic Toys (2004)
> When Puppets And Dolls Attack! (2005)
> Puppet Master: Axis Of Evil (2010)
> Puppet Master X: Axis Rising (2012)
> Puppet Master: Axis Termination (2017)
> Puppet Master: The Littlest Reich (2018)
David DeCoteau David DeCoteau
Greg Sestero Greg Sestero
Brigitta Dau Brigitta Dau
Stephen Blackehart Stephen Blackehart
Jack Donner Jack Donner
Guy Rolfe Guy Rolfe

4.0 / 10 - Overall Rating

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Genres / Traits: Horror, Supernatural Horror, Toys
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Review by Crispy
Added: September 25, 2007
Damn. It's gotten to the point with this series where I just want to write "This one sucked too." but I wouldn't shaft you guys like that. Besides, Chad doesn't let me do that anyway.

Retro Puppet Master picks up almost directly where Puppet Master III left off, except the little kid has disappeared. Toulon and his band of merry playthings are hiding in a rundown shack until they can finish the journey across Swedish borders, when Blade discovers a puppet head in the case. Toulon gets all nostalgic and reveals its name had once been Cyclops and was one of the first puppets ever brought to life. He settles in with his sardines and tells the tale. Long ago in Cairo, a sorcerer named Afzel has snuck into the temple of the god, Sutek, and stolen a scroll. This scroll contained the secrets of bringing life to the dead. In an attempt to regain his property, Sutek resurrects three mummified sorcerers to kill Afzel. They chase him to Paris, where our friend, Andre Toulon, is putting on a puppet show. Attending this show is the daughter of an ambassador who witnesses an attack on Afzel outside after the show. She brings the old man inside and introduces herself; Elsa, of course. After a two minute conversation with Andre, she returns home now completely smitten with the puppeteer. Meanwhile, Afzel teaches Andre the Sutek's secret, thus creating the Puppet Master.

Prequels are a tricky thing. Especially the type of prequels that the Puppet Master series has been using. Going back and making a movie based solely on information we already know from watching the other movies. Now, Puppet Master III was done beautifully. In fact, it weighs in as my personal favorite of the series. Sure, we saw a lot of things we already knew, but it added so much more to go along with it. Retro Puppet Master is guilty of two offenses. First of all, it brought nothing new to the table. It was a boring ass movie that didn't add anything new to the series. Secondly, and in my eyes the bigger grievance, it just flat out changed the parts that were already established. In Puppet Master II, there's a flashback where the man, considerably older than he appears here, is putting on a show with stringed puppets in Cairo and the audience is bored to tears. Seeing his failure, Afzel uses his power to burn his old puppets, takes him in a private room and offers him the secret. This is a far cry from giving Andre the gift in Paris as a last resort. The list of broken continuity goes on and on. Toulon's accent suddenly switches from German to French. Originally, Elsa and Toulon were already in a stable relationship by the time he got his power. We're given yet another method of bringing the inanimate to life. You can really see just how bad they dropped the ball with this. The choice of puppets also bugged me, specifically the throwback puppets. Here, we're treated to the original, crude versions of Blade, Six Shooter, Pinhead and Tunneler, who's been renamed "Drill Sergeant." While initially I was irked that they completely gave them new origins, it's explained at the end that they're a completely different set of puppets. Why would he just remake the same puppets? It makes no sense whatsoever. But enough whipping dead horses; by this point, you can clearly see that the writers took no regard for the story already laid down and did whatever they saw fit. Continuity was never a high concern for Band, but this is just too far off the grid. And unfortunately, this is not the movie's only problem.

Even looking at the movie's plot by itself, there are some serious holes there. For example, we have these mummies back from the dead who've spent their first few minutes in action being completely unstoppable. They've gotten stabbed and shot without so much as slowing down, yet I'm supposed to believe that they get their asses handed to them by six toys? My suspension of disbelief has a higher threshold than most people's, but no dice. Also, Elsa and Andre's "relationship" is one of the most rushed and unbelievable in the history of cinema. They've spoken a grand total of less than five minutes, yet Andre is willing to run headlong in to a certain death situation for this woman? Again, I'm not buying it. Not only is the plot full of holes like these, but it's boring as Hell. I'm sure I glanced down at the clock at least every five minutes to see how much more of this I had to endure.

Aside from Jack Donner, who portrayed Afzel, the acting sucked. And I mean every single character. It's almost mindboggling how they were able to consistently hire such bad actors. Every line in the movie is giving in a deadpan, bad French accent and there is hardly a hint of emotion on anyone's face, even when in a battle to the death with a thousand year old sorcerer. I know not everyone can be Morgan Freeman, but a little effort would be nice.

This movie was a disaster. We got dead bodies blinking and scenes where the entire film, dialogue and all, is randomly shown in slow motion. And most unforgivable of all, this is the second time that they've dropped the traditional Puppet Master theme and replaced it with shitty stock music. That song is way too good to be shelved. You don't start a Halloween movie without that famous tune, and Puppet Master is the same way. The only entertainment in this whole ordeal was Donner's performance, who just oozes contempt for this movie and it's horribly written script. I swear to God, he's the only man I know who can roll his eyes with his voice. The Puppet Master series has yet again found itself a brand new low. 0.5/10
Recommended Movies
Puppet Master III: Toulon's Revenge Curse Of The Puppet Master Totem Puppet Master II Puppet Master: Axis Of Evil
Puppet Master: The Legacy Puppet Master Puppet Master 4 Puppet Master 5: The Final Chapter Ragdoll
Puppet Master vs. Demonic Toys Puppet Master X: Axis Rising Puppet Master: Axis Termination Puppet Master: The Littlest Reich Dollman vs. Demonic Toys
bluemeanie #1: bluemeanie - added 09/25/2007, 05:18 PM
Give me a break. What a disaster. Talk about a franchise that's dead and buried, "Puppet Master" might be less needed than the "Leprechaun" series. There were a couple of good films and then some stinkers. Just end it! It can't seriously be bringing in THAT much revenue. 0/10.
Crispy #2: Crispy - added 09/25/2007, 05:31 PM
Hence Puppet Master: The Legacy being their last ditch effort. Squeezing the proverbial blood from a stone, as far as I can tell they just took stock footage from all the movies and summed it up in 90 minutes, before handing off to Sci-Fi Channel. At this point I'm considering going through this series as paying my dues for MvMMDI.
bluemeanie #3: bluemeanie - added 09/25/2007, 05:38 PM
I want to see a film with the puppets from "Puppet Master" up against the muppets from "The Muppet Show". You'd think, at first glance, that the puppets would have the edge, seeing as how their more accustomed to violence and have weapons. However, the muppets have more intelligence and have better language skills. I think the muppets' intelligence would win out over the tenacity of the puppets.
Crispy #4: Crispy - added 09/25/2007, 05:40 PM
If they have a "Statler and Waldorf doing MST3K" feature I would pick up that the second it hits shelves.
Crispy #5: Crispy - added 09/25/2007, 05:47 PM
Seriously though, I've heard rumors that the powers that be were seriously considering doing Puppet Master vs. Gremlins. Thank God that fell through. Because I would have no other option but to see it. I'm a glutton for punishment.
bluemeanie #6: bluemeanie - added 09/25/2007, 05:59 PM
Well, lest us not forget the gem that was "Dollman Vs. The Demonic Toys" -- so it might have worked.
Edd #7: Edd - added 09/26/2007, 02:14 PM
You couldn't do face Muppet Show puppets off with Puppet Master ones. Gonzo would be sure to kill them all.
bluemeanie #8: bluemeanie - added 09/27/2007, 11:50 AM
Gonzo? Animal would kill them all. I can't think of a single puppet that could come close to taking out Animal. I mean -- his name says it all.
Crispy #9: Crispy - added 09/27/2007, 01:54 PM
I remember a skit or a comic or some sort of parody involving Animal having to go into rehab for coke. Whatever it was it was funny as hell.
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