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Site created 12/15/97.


review added: 5/24/00



The Puppet Master DVD Collection

reviews by Todd Doogan of The Digital Bits

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Puppet Master

Puppet Master
1989 (2000) - Full Moon (Koch Vision)

Film Rating: A (on the Puppet Master scale)

Disc Ratings (Video/Audio/Extras): B-/C/B

Specs and Features:

89 mins, R, full frame (1.33:1), single-sided, single-layered, Amaray keep case packaging, cast and crew bios with animation, trailer, website ad, commercial for Full Moon Toys, Full Moon Video Zone featurette: No Strings Attached: A Behind the Scenes Look at Puppet Master, film-themed menu screens with animation and sound, scene access (17 chapters), languages: English (DD 2.0), subtitles: none



Puppet Master 2

Puppet Master 2
1990 (2000) - Full Moon (Koch Vision)

Film Rating: B+ (on the Puppet Master scale)

Disc Ratings (Video/Audio/Extras): B-/C/B

Specs and Features:

85 mins, R, full frame (1.33:1), single-sided, single-layered, Amaray keep case packaging, cast and crew bios with animation, trailer, website ad, commercial for Full Moon Toys, Full Moon Video Zone featurette: Behind the Scenes: The Making of Puppet Master 2 with intro by producer Charles Band, overview of Full Moon, interview with The Pit and the Pendulum director Stuart Gordon, trailers for The Pit and the Pendulum, Puppet Master, Shadowzone, Meridian and Crash and Burn, film-themed menu screens with animation and sound, scene access (21 chapters), languages: English (DD 2.0), subtitles: none



Puppet Master 3

Puppet Master 3: Toulon's Revenge
1991 (2000) - Full Moon (Koch Vision)

Film Rating: B- (on the Puppet Master scale)

Disc Ratings (Video/Audio/Extras): B-/C/B

Specs and Features:

82 mins, R, full frame (1.33:1), single-sided, single-layered, Amaray keep case packaging, cast and crew bios with animation, trailer, website ad, commercial for Full Moon Toys, Full Moon Video Zone featurette: Behind the Scenes: The Making of Puppet Master 3 with intro by producer Charles Band, interview with Netherworld director David Schmoeller, a look at the making of Full Moon model kits, trailers for Dollman and Arcade, video ads for The Pit and the Pendulum and Subspecies, merchandise ad, film-themed menu screens with animation and sound, scene access (18 chapters), languages: English (DD 2.0), subtitles: none



Puppet Master 4

Puppet Master 4
1993 (2000) - Full Moon (Koch Vision)

Film Rating: D (on the Puppet Master scale)

Disc Ratings (Video/Audio/Extras): B-/C/B

Specs and Features:

79 mins, R, full frame (1.33:1), single-sided, single-layered, Amaray keep case packaging, cast and crew bios with animation, trailer, website ad, commercial for Full Moon Toys, Full Moon Video Zone featurette: Behind the Scenes: Puppet Master 4, intro by producer Charles Band, interview with Shrunken Heads director Richard Elfman, trailers for Trancers 4: Jack of Swords, Bloodlust: Subspecies 3, Mandroid and Dollman versus Demonic Toys, merchandise ad, film-themed menu screens with animation and sound, scene access (18 chapters), languages: English (DD 2.0), subtitles: none


Freddy Krueger. Just the name will strike a fear chord in your soul. Jason Voorhees. Where!?! Oh, God please... keep him away! Andre Toulon. Who? Well, okay, you may not know his name, but you know his work. He's The Puppet Master. Toulon is an old man who plays with dolls. Now, that may sound a bit off for most of you out there, but let me just qualify that statement. He plays with dolls that can kill you, and for a decade, he's been thrilling audiences with a certain cinematic magic. That magic is Charles Band's, the man who created Toulon and his playthings, and started Full Moon Productions in the process. Because of The Puppet Master's success, we've been treated to many a direct-to-video shocker with a decidedly merchandise friendly charm. Band's not just in the film business, he's also got quite a toy empire going, with franchises galore and action figures based on most of his horror characters. They kill buxom beauties on the silver screen, and now you can play with them in your own home. Gotta get 'em all!

The Puppet Master film series has been noticeably AWOL on DVD... until now. Full Moon is fixing that with their DVD box set of all seven (to date) Puppet Master films. Since we have nothing better to do, let's show you what you can expect. We'll start first with the films...

Puppet Master

This is the first of many such films and with it, an empire was raised. You have dolls that can kill, and a spooky hotel where four psychics are conducting experiments. Add in some witty special effects and interestingly surreal death scenes, and you have a charming little horror film. You'd never guess that Toulon would be a driving force in the series after he offs himself to keep away from a group of renegade Nazis. After that, the story because somewhat convoluted, but in an entertaining way, and we end up with a slasher flick where puppets named Blade, Jester, Leech Woman, Pin Head, and Tunneler doing the slashing.

Puppet Master has a certain flavor, and it follows through in most Full Moon films. Charles Band is a competent film producer, he has a very carnival approach to his movies - give the audience what they want and pull the cash from their pockets (making them happy all the while). No Full Moon feature will ever win any legitimate film awards, but the fans are many and they include some people you may not even realize are fans. Puppet Master is probably the best of the series because it's pure and undiluted. The puppets are evil, the deaths are gory and the bad guys get theirs in the end too. Oh, and there's a hole in the end, nicely leaving room for a sequel. Which brings us to...

Puppet Master 2

The puppets this time are Blade, Jester, Leech Woman, Pin Head, Torch, and Tunneler. The plot is simple, although a bit on the "huh?" side. Toulon is raised from the dead by his puppets, in the hope of transplanting himself into a giant puppet body. While he is sulking around dressed in rags to cover his face (I guess to not give away that he isn't the same actor from the first film), he falls in love with a paranormal researcher (who he thinks is his reincarnated wife). Here we learn that the fluid that makes the puppets who they are is really a liquid brain formula... made from real brains. Yick.

This is an okay sequel. I mean, there were probably better ways to go with this series, but they went this way and that's fine. Again, no one appearing in this film will ever find themselves on a stage accepting an award for Best Actor, but the puppets are cool. Torch makes his first appearance here, setting fire to stuff. And a very important lesson is learned: don't double cross a toy.

Puppet Master 3: Toulon's Revenge

It's 1941 Berlin, and everyone's favorite puppets are back. They're on the road to sort of good guy mode, when they take on some Nazis. The reason? First, it's to take out some revenge over the death of Toulon's wife. Yeah, baby. Knew they'd get the title in there somehow. The second reason, is that those Nazi's have kidnapped Toulon to make him help them develop a formula that will reanimate the dead so they can win the war. This film is most notable because of a new puppet named Six-Shooter, who makes one hell of a toy.

I think at this point, Band and his team of filmmakers figured out they really had something going here. The film, for a Full Moon flick, is well rounded and shows the puppets in a way that is much more marketable. They're psychotic, but they kill bad guys with as much gusto as they do paranormal investigators. I can probably stop saying it, but the acting is pretty bad - except for maybe Toulon. The old guy is sad and believable. Still, I have to finally plunk down the coinage and get me some of those action figures.

Puppet Master 4

Another film, another new puppet. This time we get one of the most popular (because, by all accounts, the doll kicks ass)... the Decapitron! The story is secondary to the dolls, but it's something about a young scientist named Rick Myers, who's working on an AI project. Of course, the house he's working in has an ancient truck holding the puppets we so love and admire. Myers' tests awaken some other dimensional creatures known as Totems, which want him dead. But they will have to go through the puppets first.

Shot back to back with the next film, the series is really grabbing for straws now. The promise of Puppet Master 3 died a quiet death with these two films. But two good things came out of it: a cool doll and a new series of films based on the Totem creatures. As I said above, Band knows how to sell, and sell he does.

That's the first half of The Puppet Master DVD Collection. We'll deal with the other half, and the overall quality for these discs, on the next page...

Todd Doogan
todddoogan@thedigitalbits.com


Go to Puppet Master page 2

The Puppet Master DVD Collection


Puppet Master


The Puppet Master Boxed Set


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