This Day in Horror

13 May 2012

Puppetmaster 1989 - REVIEW



The year was 1989, hammer pants were still in fashion and artists like Richard Marx, Debbie Gibson and The New Kids on the Block were topping the charts of music.  Meanwhile Charles Band had started a new production company called Full Moon Productions.  Fresh off of his previous creation called Empire Pictures which gave us the ever classic Re-Animator.  Charles had no idea when he released Puppetmaster that he just made a cult classic that would have 9 installments with a 10th on the way.

In 1939 at the Bodega Bay Inn a famed puppeteer in Germany is staying, Andre Toulon (William Hickey).  While making some touch up work on his Jester puppet Andre knows that the Nazi are on their way to kill him and steal his ancient secret of giving life.  Just as the Nazi's burst into the room Andre kills himself so his secret stays safe for the meantime and they do not get their hands on it .  Back to present day were a group of people who all have physic powers have a vision involving their friend and business associate Neil Gallagher (Jimmie F Skaggs).  Neil draws them all to the Bodega Bay Inn for what?  No one is really sure but the all follow their physic vision and go there.  Upon arriving they learn from Megan Gallagher (Robin Frates) that her husband Neil is in fact dead and gave instructions not to bury him till the group all got their.  Learning that Neil was a very evil and manipulative man that he had been there working on a project even just before his death.  Since Niel committed suicide so suddenly no one knows what he was working on and its a bit suspicious that he brought all of them there after his death.  What is the group in for?  They are about to find out what Neil discovered and even meet some tiny doll size friends on the way.

This instant classic changed the view of direct to video as we know it today.  While it was not the first direct to video movie ever made it certainly was one of the best and set a precedent for all others to follow.  Charles Band is a pioneer in the direct to video market releasing all of Full Moon's collection in that manner.  Nothing on the big screen at all.  That's not to say his movies do not have the big screen quality because they did.  Puppetmaster was actually scheduled to be released in theaters and then pulled to go straight to the video stores instead.  The acting in Puppet master was very good, not great but good.  All of the characters had their certain powers and quirks that they brought to the table and in that respect the character development was awesome.  Of course we cannot forget the real stars of this movie, the puppets.  Featuring Blade, Tunnler, Pinhead, Jester and Leech woman.  Each one like the group of psychics have a certain strength, something that makes each one of them unique.  This was the first of many great Puppetmaster's to follow.

About a year ago I bought the set that was released of all 9 Puppetmaster movies.  Packed with the original DVD title screens with all the Full Moon special features in tact, such as Video Zone.  Video Zone was a look behind the scenes of the current movie you were watching and also a look at a new Full Moon movie that would be released.  This is not on all of the films but is on Part 2 through part 5 I believe.  After that Video Zone was something they stopped doing.  I did not see all the movies in order, but none the less I still knew which one started it all and always had a great deal of respect for the first film.  To date part 1and part 9 are the only to be released on Blu Ray.  I purchased a copy of the Blu Ray also and it looks simply pristine.  I find it always interesting to know which puppet is your favorite.  Mine of course if Blade.  Probably the most popular of them all but also the most bad ass.  So which one is your favorite?  Stay twisted everyone!


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