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Puppet Master II

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Release Date: 
Full Moon Features
Aspect Ratio: 
Directed by: 
Dave Allen
Elizabeth Maclellan
Collin Bernsen
Steve Welles
Bottom Line: 

The puppets are back, and this time they have a plan! In the opening credits they unearth their creator Andre Toulon and awaken him using the exact same black magic/green goop he once used to create them. Thankful for their gift of life he immediately returns to the Bodega Bay Hotel which (fortunately for him) still exists much as it did fifty years ago. But unluckily for Toulon, the place is now being investigated by a quartet of paranormal psychologists who are seeking evidence of the supernatural, in much the same way that they do on one of the many modern TV shows about parapsychologists. These ghost hunters get more than they bargained for as they're soon attacked, bedeviled and all but eliminated by the cursed puppets from the last film who are trying to clear the place for their demented corpse mastermind.

Also in for a big surprise is anyone who saw the first film who thought the characters from a Puppet Master movie were good guys?

I have seen every Puppet Master film and in retrospect this one is perhaps the weirdest and most unnecessary of them all as it doesn’t match any of the other films. In all other volumes Toulon’s puppets have a perfect sense of morality about them where they playfully scamper around and then butcher life size bad guys; people who actually deserve it? In this film instead of playing the part of the charismatic old artisan, Toulon is a demented zombie who sends his puppets out to collect the brain material of innocent victims so he can be reanimated as a grotesque life sized puppet.  Moreover, there was the moment one of the puppets burned a small child alive which was a stupid bit of violence and evil that served no purpose than to destroy any viewer identification with the puppets whatsoever as heroes, sympathetic creatures or characters that any viewers could “love”.  Even the ending of this film suggested a different story continuation than the next film PUPPET MASTER III actually gave us, so by all accounts, this is a shitty experimental film in the Puppet Master series that contributed several new bad ideas to the series, each of which were wisely ignored by all consecutive films in the saga.. It is true we lose a puppet and gain a puppet, but “Leech Woman” comes back in a later movie so it’s not like I need conceal this from you as nothing that goes on in this movie matters. As in the earlier films in the series, the stop motion is good and painstakingly done and perhaps the only way that a B movie could make characters move like this, back in 1991. The audio is what you would expect for 5.1 surround.

As this is a Blu-ray edition the picture is sharper, clearer and perhaps too much so as some of the creature effects ultimately look less realistic now than they ever did, and it is easier than ever to guess how the goofy little puppets are manipulated off screen with such stunning clarity. This film was never designed to be under such scrutiny whether speaking about a formal review written by an adult or the 1:85.1 screen ratio of the Blu-ray edition. So all of those who are young, young at heart or just enjoy watching a young child get burned alive by an evil toy doll in a movie that wasn’t intelligent enough to make his death actually mean something (as the death of a child in a movie always should), please take my critique with a grain of magic sawdust.  At the very least, most of the bad ideas that were first introduced into the Puppet Master series disappear by the next movie, except for the fact that everything is rewritten to begin with. From here all future Puppet Master Movies will have a very loose interpretation of the laws of continuity. For example, by episode 4 we are introduced to Lord Sutek and his ancient tiny gremlin army and this series will never make sense again to anyone who isn’t some sort of Full Moon puppet themselves.  

Still, Puppet Master continues to thrive and the original film spawned more direct sequels than any live action sci-fi series so except for this hated installment which almost ruined the entire series, every fan of Full Moon must somehow complete the individual volumes of this story, even if no one can completely understand why anymore? 

Special feature include a new commentary and intro by Charles Band. Original Full length Video zone (making of). Killer Puppet Master Montage. Full Moon Trailers and a commercial for 1997 puppet master action figures.

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