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Puppet Master
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Puppet Master (1989)

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Plot Summary:
"Neil Gallagher found the secret to Toulon's puppets who come to life and then killed himself. Alex and his psychic friends come to investigate and are stalked by Toulon's puppets who have a variety of strange traits including a drill for a head and the ability to spit up leeches."

Review by
Steven Davies
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Review Date: 08 June 2004 My Rating: out of 5


'A box of little toys has just become a gang of little terrors. This is not child's play...', well according to the tagline it's not. But has obvious influences from the success of the original 'Child's Play' been any kind of a factor here?

So what is going on? Aging puppet maker Andre Toulon shoots himself at the Bodega Bay Inn before his Secret of Life can be stolen by the Nazis. Skip to 50 years later and the secret has been discovered by psychic Neil Gallagher. But as his psychic friends arrive to visit Neil they discover that he his dead, well kind of. And as the night goes on, the murderous puppets are awakened and unleashed on the unsuspecting group. Well, I say unsuspecting but they're supposed to be psychics aren't they!!!?

From the trailer 'Puppet Master' looks to all intents and purposes creepy, unsettling and fairly original - to an extent. In particular the puppet character Blade has that sinister look about him. Unfortunately this dark edge was completely obliterated for myself within the opening sequence. As we have this potentially disturbing little being scurrying around peoples feet with the audience being treated to Blade's point of view. But the comically childlike mumblings and screams heard off screen didn't leave me with much hope from thereon in. And how nobody could spot him was beyond me.

So do any of the other puppet characters (and lets face it, that's what we're watching it for) have anything more to offer? There's the Tunneller a slanty-eyed guy a drill bit head top. There's Pinhead, the guy with the incredibly small head but unnaturally sized flapping goalkeeper hands. Oh yeah and let's not forget the vomiting leech woman, yeah that's right, vomits leeches.

In spite of the commonly placed Present Day caption shown near the beginning of the movie (a particular gripe of mine) we are then thrown into a world of shocking outfits, unstylish decor and regrettable haircuts, it could only be those fantastic 80's. But geez, the music. What's up with that cheese-on-toast music?

Puppet Master looks cheap and nasty and mostly is. It does offer the occasional and intelligent use of slow motion and other such interesting camera movement. But the hint of predictability and oddness, the ear-assaulting music, and Paul Le Mat's hair simply disappoints. Redemption then? Well its saving grace must surely be its potential. It may not have lived up to standards in 1989 but in this day and age where horror can be sequelised, prequelised, reinvented or reimagined maybe the word remake is stamped over this like a bad smell.

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