It’s ME, It’s HIM, It’s T-I-M,
Not all of your classic favorite nasty puppets are in this one (Pinhead, Drill Sergeant/Tunneler, Blade, etc are) but fear not, for the ones you will not see are now replaced with some new ones including, but not limited to, a spout-nosed one, a grasshopper puppet, a flying one with a helicopter blade called Autogyro, and my personal favorite “Junior Fuhrer” among lots more.
After hearing this film was coming I heard all kinds of gossip and mixed reviews, so never one to go with the herd I was looking forward to making up my own opinion, as you should too. As a true fan of both Full Moon Entertainment and the Puppet Master series, I couldn’t be more primed for this. My favorite films in the series were always the first two with part two barely edging out the first one. Part two was a clear favorite as it introduces my favorite puppet, Torch. It also has a batshit crazy ending with the mad creator Toulon passing his own soul into a puppet to “in theory” live forever. The open-ended doomful ending where the gang of puppets have a new guide and are on the look for “Children to enchant” filled me with such hope for a continuation of this evil plan but alas by part three they all turned face with a ridiculous 6-armed cowboy puppet and became heroes to root for, So Yeeehaw I guess… um no. I think this is part of the reason some fans can’t give the new one a fair shot, they feel somehow betrayed with the new version which I’m not spoiling anything that hasn’t been already posted online, the newest version has them as Nazi puppets. Yup, you read that correct, and this reviewer for one says… GOOD! They are not fucking Toy Story’s Woody and Buzz to cheer on you dummies it’s a HORROR FILM and you should root for the true heroes who don’t want to die.
But I digress… let me get to the meat.
The script was penned by S. Craig Zahler whose previous credits included the instant classic Bone Tomahawk. It was produced by Dallas Sonnier whom I had the pleasure of speaking to recently, he’s very excited about how things are going with the film and has let me know it has been accepted to a multitude of film festivals and even international ones! Dallas is the newest man behind Fangoria Magazine and I cannot express how enthusiastic horror writers and fans alike are at this news! His drive and passion and unmatched, plus his honesty and straight-shooter style makes me the question: How the hell did a nice guy get into Hollywood?! On board is Executive Producer Charles Band the godfather of all things creepy and puppets.
Side note: I asked Charles for a blurb on my horror writing once, and he had this to say about me…
“Tim Chizmar is batshit crazy and brilliant in the same breathe. Long may he rage!”
–Charles Band, President of Full Moon Entertainment, Creator of The Puppet Master series
Scream Queen Barbara Crampton stands out as a Queen of Fright and I even liked her dramatic turn intro to the film. She’s a joy to see. I was surprised to see my old pal Charlyne Yi in the film. She and I did standup comedy from the same club over a decade ago, so she stood out to me. The leading actress, Jenny Pellicer was a wonderfully charming believable romantic lead, I’d not seen her before but now she’s on my radar plus she showed her boobies and thank god for that. I like nudity, what?! I should mention the guys too, um they were okay. I know the black bartender was set up as a favorite but I really felt the girls were more flushed out over even the wisecracks and testosterone so personally, I was rooting for the ladies more than the gents on this go-round.
The opening titles were creative and original, it didn’t bury the lead and you knew right away what kind of movie this was. When I saw the cartoon of my boy Torch I hooted. Hell yeah.
The head of Toulon as he’s introduced was fantastic, all the physical FX in this film were top notch. I was very impressed and reminded of the best parts of the latest Hellraiser film.
Talk about knowing your audience, the hero works at a comic book shop, there’s pro wrestling playing on the television in a scene, a girl is taking her cat for a walk on a leash… right from the start its quirky and fun. This is out of the box but not pandering. Listen for the Sleep-away Camp reference for horror die-hards. This movie as it rolls along is FUNNY, has snarky dialogue, and more than once I compared it to the best of Kevin Smith’s film Yoga Hosers which also features mini-Nazis. It was created for horror fans by horror fans and it shows. You’d be dumb not to recognize that.
The comments about the atrocities Toulon inflicted on his Jewish women captors had me appalled and splendidly transfixed on his evil and overall madness. I was thinking, damn that’s a bad guy. No pussyfooting around here.
I had many shocked WOW! Moments including when my boy Torch does a little Torching shall we say on some folks, this scene was hardcore politically incorrect and I was shocked. So often scary movies that are made today are bland and without a bite, not this one. I was bleeding and I think it was an infected bite. Whew! I felt legit uncomfortable and to feel anything nowadays is a good thing. HOT or COLD but if you are luke-warm you get spit out, this will have people talking.
Nudity, Shock value, Humor, Gore, and a WTF vibe that will leave you questioning if there’s anything hiding under your bed…
You should watch it with a crowd if at all possible… or alone… on on a boat with a goat, with green eggs n ham, just fucking watch it. Look I get that people have a general apprehension and fear for any sort of remake/reboot because for every The Blob or The Thing there’s also a Rob Zombie’s Halloween 2 (Really dude? Really? What’s with putting your wife in everything and now a goddamned white horse?!) or god forbid that She-Ghostbusters debacle; so fans don’t know what they’ll get crossing the finish line. Well, in this case, its waaaaaay more good than bad.
Nothing is safe, not the pregnant black lady or the kid who’s hands are cut off… nothing is off limits and its GREAT. It’s a throwback to the words you’re to utter reminding yourself ITS ONLY A MOVIE, ITS ONLY A MOVIE, ITS ONLY A MOVIE… There were moments I said to myself “It’d be cool if they did…” and then THEY DID! That’s a cool film. The ending had me reminded of the classic Hell House film, this movie has everything!
Is it mean-spirited? I’ve read that was others considerations relating to hate-crimes and such; my answer is No. It is a horror film and this film did not invent Nazis nor does it celebrate them. They have been a plot device as far back as Charlie Chaplin so calm down you angry little snowflakes.
It’s all practical FX and typically really good stuff at that buuuut I remember the nostalgia of seeing a stop-motion Blade hopping off the bed and I kinda missed it. Just one or two shots like that would have got me going crazy!
Just because the team behind it are cool, I’m no shill for production, did I love EVERYTHING? Of course not, the editing was lacking in spots and because of that, I’d miss some action because something flew by too fast and I’d barely catch what happened. I also felt it lost some steam in the third act where I’d hoped for more explanations and resolutions instead it was more of an abrupt cliffhanger ending. I didn’t love that part of the ride but overall I still applaud the use of breaking plot layout and tropes and instead of going for twists and something new, so that’s cool.
It is very dark in parts and some (not I) but some may question: WAS IT NECESSARY? Art is subjective and this in ways goes back to a more devious time of films of the 70s or 80s before we wussed out, this film goes for the throat: you either get it or you don’t. I get it, but if you don’t I can see why.
THE FUTURE OF THE SERIES:
Stay till the end for the post-credits stinger.
Til next time, ~Tim