I watched the Puppet Master series in its entirety, so you don’t have to. You’re welcome. Puppet Master The original film, where we meet Andre Toulon and his puppets. He’s a happy puppet maker who hides his puppets in the wall of the Bodega Bay Inn and then blows his head off because Nazis are coming after him. Fifty years later, a group of psychics all have various visions that imply their buddy Neil found Toulon’s puppets. So they go to the hotel where they learn that Neil also offed himself by way of gun in the head, although he left a fairly decent-looking corpse, which they all stare at before retiring to their rooms. Then there’s some banging and some murdering puppets, with some blood and death and I am pleased. I particularly like Leech Woman, who just pukes leeches up as a way to kill. The visual of her regurgitating the leeches is seriously amazeballs.
Anyway, Neil revives himself with Toulon’s Snake Oil Potion and he wants to use all the dead for experimentation and then gets all pissy and disrespects a puppet, so of course the puppets then kill the shit out of Neil for good this time. I love this series already. I am brilliant for undertaking this task.
FILM-TO-PUPPET EQUIVALENT: Charlie McCarthy, autographed on the tuchus by Edgar Bergen
Puppet Master II: His Unholy Creation
My suspicions start to rise at the quality of future Puppet Masters when I notice that the exterior shots of the inn look strikingly similar to the exterior shots in the first film.
So Toulon, who has been reanimated by the puppets because of course, puts his rotting corpse in tourniquets and stays in the hotel after killing the new owner of the establishment, which is also housing some parapsychologists who are looking into the previous film’s plotline. One of the ladies there catches Toulon’s gaping ocular cavity and he decides she is really his dead-wife-Elsa-incarnate, and tells the puppets to fuck off and begins pursuing this Carolyn broad. However, Carolyn has the hots for another, living, un-be-gauzed gentleman and rebuffs our hero, who, long story short, tries to come back to life in a giant man-sized puppet, and MAKE CAROLYN LOVE HIM, which rightly pisses off the little forsaken puppets, and they band together to KILL THEIR MASTER. The ultimate revenge and just what you get when you create an unholy creation.
This is basically The Notebook, but with puppets and a slightly different ending.
FILM-TO-PUPPET EQUIVALENT: Yard sale Howdy Doody, missing one boot
Puppet Master III: Toulon’s Revenge
So, this one really didn’t keep me entertained. I was a little disappointed to find that it all took place in Europe in the 1940s and the puppets are primarily killing Nazis, and I just don’t want the puppets to be good guys, and what sort of monster would I be if I was rooting for the Nazis to win?
Anyway, so it’s World War II and Toulon doesn’t like Nazis, but he likes puppets, and the Nazis want his magic puppet power. Toulon takes on an assistant, a little fat kid by the name of Peter, who, as far as kid sidekicks in film and television go, is pretty boring and isn’t half as adorable as the little fat kid in Disney’s The Kid or Ethan Embry’s annoying schoolboy in Dutch. Anyway, Peter and Toulon make a run for the border at the end of this one, puppets and all, and I assume away they go to the Bodega Bay Inn? If so, where was Peter when Toulon blew his brains out back in PM1? Someone needs to work on their plot twists.
FILM-TO-PUPPET EQUIVALENT: Barbie, modestly dressed, tied to a stick
Puppet Master 4: The Demon
Okay, well, I just shot myself in the foot with my puppets-fighting-evil complaints while watching the third movie, because this one’s tagline is “When Bad Puppets Go Good.” What the hell? Basically here we have a sciencey kid living by himself as the caretaker of the inn, who has some friends come over, including a lady. So sciencey kid reveals to them that he’s been working on artificial intelligence whilst caretaking, but here’s the catch — sciencey kid’s scientist boss, for whom he telecommutes, was just recently murdered by what appears to be either a gremlin/demon that mostly looks like a small, shitty version of the Predator.
Long story short, the sciencey kid and his friends find the puppets, and laser guns, the bad puppets go good and decide to save sciencey kid and his lady from Shitty Predator.
Also, we’re starting to have some real time issues with this series. Apparently PM4 is the sequel to PM2, which makes PM3 what? Arbitrary Nazi exposition? I’m confused.
FILM-TO-PUPPET EQUIVALENT: Furby hooked to a fishing pole
Puppet Master 5: The Final Chapter
I queued this little guy up and came face to face with sciencey kid from PM4. Oh, a linear plot line! Potential!
So sciencey kid has been arrested for the puppets’ murderous acts. He gets bailed out, of course by a scientist interested in getting ahold of Toulon’s Magic Egyptian Puppet Spell, so off to the Bodega Bay Inn he goes with some goons to get the puppets. Sciencey kid gets a juju feeling that he also needs to return to the hotel, so he and one of the puppets head back, as well.
Then we have some puppet battles and some other things happen. I don’t know exactly what, because I started falling asleep. Anyway, when I jolted back awake, the puppets were again saving sciencey kid and his lady, and sciencey kid decides to take on the responsibility of the puppets and takes them all with promises that he will spay and neuter them within 30 days of adoption.
At the end we get thanked for watching all the Puppet Masters. Yay! I’m done with this series. Except, you know, not at all, because four years after the “last” Puppet Master, there’s a new batch. I hate myself.
PUPPET-TO-FILM EQUIVALENT: My cable bill with a sad face drawn on it, tied to a shoestring
Curse of the Puppet Master
Things certainly pick up in this direct-to-video jewel (by the by, they’re all direct to video). In installment six of our series, we have an all new group of characters: an old guy who has bought the puppets, his college-aged daughter and Robert, aka “Tank,” who is a remarkable woodworker. When old guy learns of Tank’s skills, he offers him a bedroom next to that of his young, entering womanhood, daughter. Sparks fly and their love is cemented when Tank, during his puppet-carving downtime, saves ole girl from a mean rapey resident.
Soon after, we finally get to see the puppets do some of their most entertaining killing since 1989, which involves Tunneler’s drill-shaped head and rapey resident’s crotch. Good times all around. Some more things happen, but really, the high point is the crotch murder.
Maybe this marathon wasn’t such a terrible idea. I may be a misunderstood genius after all.
FILM-TO-PUPPET EQUIVALENT: Photograph of Kim Kardashian glued to a popsicle stick
Retro Puppet Master
Lucky number seven!
Oh god, we’re back in the past. And we’re learning about how Andre Toulon became the puppet master, and how he met his wife, Elsa, who we first learned about in the second one. I don’t care. I did not sign up to get emotionally invested in a man who kills himself within five minutes of the first fucking movie.
Oh, and also, how do the bullets coming from the guns one of the puppet’s wields actually shoot down chandeliers? It really doesn’t seem like these puppets have super strength. Is the shock value of a puppet sans strings enough for a person to be so frozen in fear that he or she just sort of fine with being killed?
This is bullshit and I am a fool for watching all these.
FILM-TO-PUPPET EQUIVALENT: Bastardized Lambchop puppet made from tube sock and googly eyes
Puppet Master: The Legacy
Okay, I have to be honest. I may have gone to brunch with my sister and her boyfriend before starting this one, so what I’m saying is I’d had Zoloft and beers when I finally got back to our series.
This movie is terrible. It’s just awful. Here’s the plot: A woman mercenary type with a furrowed brow finds the Puppet Master — holy shit, it’s the aforementioned boring Peter, we’re back to the third film, I did Nazi this coming! — and ole Pete regals us all with tales of Toulon’s legacy, which means most of the seventy-odd minutes of this film are ACTUAL “FLASHBACK” SCENES FROM THE PREVIOUS MOVIES.
I looked up this one on Wikipedia. You know how most movie pages have a budget listed? This one didn’t. I’m pretty sure that’s because it was filmed over a weekend at someone’s grandma’s house. I hate this series.
PUPPET-TO-FILM EQUIVALENT: Turd smushed into a slightly human-esque shape, dangling from a tapeworm coming out the back end of a dog
Puppet Master: Axis of Evil
For a brief moment I thought this one would include a George W. Bush puppet, which excited me probably more than it should. Alas, no. Instead, again, we’re back to World War II and the puppets are, again, justifiably killing Nazis and I’m depressed.
This one actually does make me cringe several times, but mostly because of all the racist jokes. It also, on the other hand, makes me laugh because it gives a few great lines, including “You’ll never defeat freedom and democracy,” and “I should have known Nazis could not be trusted!”
Big thumbs up for an actual, albeit shitty, plot. Thumbs down for paying little attention to detail, because our lead Nazi in this film, when in uniform, has his swastika backwards. Hashtag nazifail.
FILM-TO-PUPPET EQUIVALENT: Dollar-store puppet found in a ditch
Puppet Master X: Axis Rising
The real stars of this film are the fucking terrible hairdos. How is it possible that after ten movies, most of which referencing or flashing back to the 1940s, that no one thought to actually look at how people looked and dressed back then? One note of interest: This movie has a sluttly lady Nazi, who wanders around with bosoms and a bull whip.
You already know the drill. The puppets fight Nazis. The puppets win. The end.
By the time I’d gotten here, to the last movie, praise the deity of your choosing, I had spiraled into a full-blown existential crisis of how I once wanted to be a writer, to be published, to create something, and how I have not, yet all the people who worked on these films have, and are therefore more successful than me. I then continued to spiral when I realized that I had spent three days watching Puppet Master movies, which meant that as the final credits began to roll I was laying in the floor of my bedroom having a panic attack, which, to be honest, was the scariest part of any of these movies and therefore, in a roundabout way, make them the perfect horror series in that they left me with the certain knowledge that I will, in fact, die alone, anonymous, buried in the pauper’s graveyard and forgotten even by the worms that will feed on my corpse.
FILM-TO-PUPPET EQUIVALENT: 1980s style Princess Diana paper dolls, stained by the fingertips of hopeful children