‘Evil comes in all sizes’
The movie stars Paul Le Mat, Irene Miracle, Matt Roe, Kathryn O’Reilly and William Hickey. Barbara Crampton makes a cameo appearance.
Originally intended for theatrical release, Puppet Master was pushed to direct-to-video on October 12, 1989, as Charles Band felt he was likely to make more money this way. The film was very popular in the VHS market and developed a large cult following that has led to the production of an amazing number of sequels.
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In 1939, Bodega Bay, California, an old puppeteer named Andre Toulon is putting the finishing touches on a living puppet called Jester. A living oriental puppet, named Shredder Khan, stares out of the window for Blade, another living puppet, as Blade scouts the grounds of the Bodega Bay Inn that Andre is staying.
Two Nazi spies get out of a car and head for Toulon’s room but Blade beats them there and Andre puts Blade, Jester and Shredder Khan into a chest with the Indian puppet, named Gengie, before hiding the chest in a wall panel. As the Nazis break down the door, Toulon shoots himself in the mouth with a pistol.
1989: Psychics Alex Whitaker, Dana Hadley, Frank Forrester and Carissa Stamford make contact with an old colleague of theirs, Neil Gallagher, and conclude he found Andre Toulon’s hiding place. Each one of them experiences a different vision…
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“Even though the original is a bit slow at times, it’s still a pretty well done little slasher (once the slashing begins). The colourful cast of characters adequately complement the puppets, as they find themselves in some memorable situations (BSDM escapades go a little bit further when Tunneler and Leech Woman are involved!).” Oh, the Horror!
” …the puppet effects are great and their designs creative and memorable enough that their appearances are worth sticking around for … Nevertheless after the 1939 opening, it’s fairly slow going until the last twenty minutes or so. Better things were to come in some of the sequels…” Mysterious Universe
“Although Puppet Master is great fun, it’s not without its problems. The film relies heavily on psychic vision sequences that aren’t implemented well in a few cases, making a lot of the narrative of the film seem disjointed and confusing.” UK Horror Scene
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Cast and characters:
- William Hickey … Andre Toulon
- Paul Le Mat … Alex Whitaker – Death Valley
- Irene Miracle … Dana Hadley – Inferno; Night Train Murders
- Jimmie F. Skaggs … Neil Gallagher
- Robin Frates … Megan Gallagher
- Matt Roe … Frank Forrester
- Kathryn O’Reilly … Carissa Stamford
- Mews Small … Theresa
- Barbara Crampton … Woman at Carnival
- David Boyd as Man … Carnival
- Peter Frankland … Assassin #1 (Max)
- Andrew Kimbrough … Assassin #2 (Klaus)
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