Puppets! Sometimes cute, always terrifying! It doesn’t matter if they are the creepy looking life like puppets or the funny ones employed by Jeff Dunham in his comedy/ventriloquism routine. There is just something about puppets that weirds me out, and I think a lot of people feel the same way. Even when they are just sitting there you half expect them to sneak up behind you and shove a knife in your back. In the end most are harmless, but how cool would it be to be able to control some puppets, or at least have them as buddies. They could get you things, scare away Jehovah’s Witnesses, and even kill people who piss you off… oh to dream! Well dream no longer because Andre Toulon (William Hickey) has the secret of turning inanimate objects into life-like creatures with a soul!
It’s 1939 and the world’s last great magician, alchemist, and puppet creator has discovered the ancient Egyptian art of giving life to his puppets. It’s something the most powerful people in the world would kill for, including the Nazi’s. They track down Toulon at the Bodega Bay Inn on the west coast of the United States just as Andre is finishing with his latest puppet. He rounds up all his puppets, places them inside a wall to the hotel and commits suicide before the Nazi’s can capture him and discover his secret. It is lost forever… or is it?!
Cut to the present of 1989, a group of psychic magicians are working to track down Toulon’s secret. Their minds are all linked, and they receive a message from a group member named Neil Gallagher. He has tracked down Toulon’s secret at the Bodega Bay Inn and has asked them to join him. Dana (the fortune teller), Carlissa (who can see the past), Alex (who dreams of the future) and Frank (just an asshole who does research of ancient magic) all travel to the Inn to meet their friend. But they are all shocked when they find out that Neil is dead, survived by his wife no one knew he had. Megan is the owner of the Inn, and Neil married her so he could have free reign to search for Toulon’s secrets. But it’s still a mystery to her and everyone else as to why Neil committed suicide after his greatest discovery.
During their first night strange things begin to happen, and Toulon’s puppets terrorize the entire group. Blade, Pinhead, Jester, Leech Woman and Tunneler all attach Neil’s former mates, but no one knows why. It isn’t until the new master reveals himself that we find out that the puppets are only as good, or evil, as their master. The group must now fight for their lives against 5 troublesome puppets and their master.
It had been quite a while since I’d seen this movie and I was excited to watch it again. I remembered bits and pieces of the story and the puppets, but once I started to see them again things started to click. The beginning was a little slow, but it really setup the story for the end of the movie, and most likely for the rest of the series which I plan to watch and review in the coming weeks. The puppets are downright brutal, and all have an interesting and different way of killing their enemies. My favorite has always been Blade. He has a hook for one hand and a blade for the other… how cool is that! Plus he seems to be the leader of the bunch and his emotion is only rivaled by Jester whose facial expressions are priceless. This was a terrific start to the series and I hope things continue to go the same route. I give Puppet Master, 4 spinning drills to the face out of 5!