Starring: Paul Le Mat, Irene Miracle, Jimmie F. Skaggs, Robin Frates, Matt Roe, and Kathryn O'Reilly
Directed by: David Schmoeller
Written by: Charles Band, Kenneth J. Hall, and David Schmoeller
Production Companies: Empire Productions and Full Moon Entertainment
Release Date: October 12, 1989
When I think of Puppet Master, I think of a classic horror film, so when I was researching this gem I was surprised it only came out in 1989. That's 21 years old now, but it had only been out about 5 years old when I first saw it and I thought it was 10 years old then. So I thought maybe the effects were better than I remembered. They weren't. Not to say they were bad, but the puppets, with their stop motion movement, weren't very well blended with the actual actors. It was probably pretty good effects for the time, but Puppet Master gave me the feeling of something like Phantasm which came out in 1979.
Puppet Master is about a group of psychics with various psychic abilities who gather together in response to the death of one of their psychic friends, Neil Gallagher. He had been in search of the secrets of Andre Toulon, the Puppet Master, who was able to create living puppets.
Shortly after arriving in the Bodega Bay Inn where Toulon killed himself to keep his secrets and his puppets away from Nazis, the psychics start getting attacked and killed by puppets. Our protagonist, Alex, and Megan, Neil Gallagher's wife, must find out what is going on before they are killed.
It's an interesting, if straightforward, tale which strains for mystery but doesn't quite get there. Alex, who can dream the future, has some interesting, psychedelic dream sequences, and the all of the characters except Alex are interesting. Alex is a bit bland. Megan's a bit generic, but fills her role adequately. Dana, the White Witch, is fascinating, Frank, the seeming leader of the group, is as sleazy as they come, and Carlissa, who gets psychic impressions off of objects, particularly erotic energy, well, she should have gotten her own movie...It'd be at least soft core porn, but there are plenty of soft core horror porn movies...It would have worked...
Anyway, the real stars of the show are the puppets: Blade, the leader; Pinhead, the muscle; the sadistic Tunneler; the comic relief, Jester; and the strangely attractive Leech Woman.
It's a fun movie and with some interesting characters, half of whom aren't even live actors.
Inferno - Irene Miracle, who plays Dana, the White Witch, also stars in Inferno. Semi-sequal to 'Suspiria' has a American college student in Rome, and his sister in New York investigating a series of killings in both locations where their resident addresses are the domain of two covens of witches.
- Jimmie F. Skaggs, who played Neil Gallagher, also appeared in Hollow Man. Scientists discover how to make people invisible, but their test subject becomes an insane killer who stalks them.
Man's Best Friend - Robin Frakes, who plays Megan Gallagher, also appears in Man's Best Friend. A dog turns from man's best friend into man's worst nightmare as he attacks everything that moves.
Child's Play 2 - Matt Roe , who plays the sleazy Frank, also appears in Child's Play 2. Chuckie's back as the doll possessed by the soul of a serial killer, butchering all who stand in his way of possessing the body of a boy.
Jack's Back - Kathryn O'Reilly also appears in Jack's Back. A serial killer in Los Angeles celebrates Jack the Ripper's 100th birthday by committing similar murders.
Tourist Trap - Director David Schmoeller also directed Tourist Trap. A group of young friends stranded at a secluded roadside museum are stalked by the owner of the place, who has the power to control his collection of mannequins.
Demonic Toys - Writer Charles Band also wrote Demonic Toys. A policewoman, her quarry and an innocent delivery boy become trapped in a haunted toy warehouse.
Clown at Midnight - Writer Kenneth J. Hall also wrote Clown at Midnight. Seven teenagers are stalked by a murderous clown while refurbishing an old opera house.