Thursday, September 4, 2014


Puppetmaster III: Toulon's Revenge (1991) David DeCoteau (USA)

True story: Prior to tackling this for this month's Kryptic Army mission theme (that of "revenge), I’d only seen the original 1989 Puppet Master and that viewing was at least 10 years in the rearview. However, having read Gert Verbeeck’s outstanding retrospective of the series for HorrorHound back in 2012, I had learned that this installment was 1) a prequel, so I wouldn’t be lost by o’erleaping the first sequel and 2) many fans consider this the high point of the franchise. Thus bolstered, I ventured in and I gotta admit, it was pretty entertaining.

You’ve got the effortlessly engaging Guy Rolfe as politically subversive puppeteer Andre Toulon in 1941 Berlin, mocking Der Fuhrer in his children’s shows, with bad guy non pareil Richard Lynch as the cruel official bent on eliminating all dissidents. We learn how Toulon animates his puppets (apparently, he invented Herbert West’s luminescent green reagent) and the origin stories for several of them, including Leech Woman and Blade. We also get a lengthy look at scrumptious scream queen Michelle Bauer in the altogether (never a bad thing), and some pleasingly gooey gore pieces (courtesy primarily of Six Shooter and Tunneler).

The script by C. Courtney Joyner is actually pretty solid from start to finish, David Allen's stop-motion f/x are pleasingly old-school, and DeCoteau’s direction is surprisingly efficient, considering most of his output before and since. I’d go so far as to call this the The Wrath of Khan of the series.

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