31 Days of Howl-oween: Day 14 – Puppet Master

14 Oct

Today’s film had slipped me by for reasons unknown.  I’ve been aware of this film since its late night showings on “Joe Bob’s Drive-In Theater”, for whatever reason, opted to watch reruns of the Three Stooges or Laurel and Hardy instead.

You may never see a clown puppet the same way again…

31 Days of Howl-oween

A Review of Films Filled with Frights

Day 14

Film #14

~ Puppet Master ~

Director:  David Schmoeller
Year:  1989
Cast: Paul Le Mat, William Hickey, Irene Miracle, Jimmie F. Skaggs, Robin Frates, Matt Roe, Kathryn O’Reilly
Language:  English
Country:  United States
Specs:  90 mins. / Color / OAR 1.85:1 / MPAA Rating: R

A group of psychics are called to a hotel on the sea cliffs of California by a former colleague.  They arrive to learn that he is dead, but a group of puppets he found from magical puppeteer Andre Toulon (Hickey) are alive and doing the murderous biddings of their deceased master, for an unspeakable purpose.

There are few horror films with musical themes that are forever etched into my mind.  The haunting piano keys that make up John Carpenters “Halloween”, the echoing “coughing” sounds that make up the “Friday the 13th” musical score (“Chyck chyck chyck, kah kah kah, kooh kooh kooh”), and if you were to include it here, the marvelous bass keys that let us know “Jaws” is just below the surface, are a few.  I would happily include the music from Puppet Master in this list.  I simply love the tune here, and found it simply original and fitting.

The film itself is a fun b-movie sci-fi horror film.  The puppets are simply wonderful creations, and truly take on a life of their own.  The wonderful thing about the puppets is that you know exactly what they are “thinking” in every scene, without any dialogue!  The facial expressions, the sound effects of the puppets grunting or cooing, and the music timings all are wonderfully meshed together to produce a simply addicting foray into campiness.

The acting itself isn’t anything special, but it isn’t horrible either.  The same can be said for the story.  There certainly are elements about the film that are simply out of place, such as the woman who can tell anything about the history of an object, we are told, yet for some reason the only things she sees on camera are sexual in nature?  Fan-service for the late night cable crowd, to be sure.

I believe I’m not alone in my enjoyment of this film, as there were not 1, not 2, but 8 sequels!  I certainly will be giving them a spin, if not for this blog, then for my own personal enjoyment.

I’m certain fans of dolls-come-to-life films will agree:  Blade to me is found here, not in some Wesley Snipes vehicle from a few years back…

My Rating:  **** / B

Available on Amazon: Puppet Master [Blu-ray]

or Amazon Video on Demand: Puppet Master

Stay tuned…

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Posted by on October 14, 2010 in Movies


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