The 4th instalment of the Puppet Master franchise brings things forward in time after the events of Toulon’s Revenge. Unfortunately it also continues the trend of the puppets being forces for good rather than evil.
Rick Myers is a young, smart scientist experimenting with artificial intelligence. He is currently the caretaker of the Bodega Bay Inn, a regular haunt for the Puppet Master movies. Rick’s colleagues are killed one night as they draw closer to the Toulon’s secret formula. The demon lord, Sutekh (the costume is so plastic looking yet it has a certain charm) is trying to stop those who might discover the power which Toulon got hold of a long time ago.
Sutekh sends 3 small servants called Totems to take care of the scientists with Rick as their next target.
The same night as Rick’s colleagues are killed, Rick gets some visitors. His girlfriend Suzie; who he was hoping to spend time alone with. Then we have Lauren, a psychic (always handy) & Cameron, a fellow scientist & somewhat rival of Ricks.
The group end up discovering Toulon’s old trunk & find some of the puppets, Toulon’s diary & some of the life-giving formula inside. After reading his diary they decide to try the formula out on the puppets & bring several of them to life. Blade, who was already running around, Pinhead, Six Shooter, Tunneler & Jester are all active now just in time for Sutekh’s minions to arrive & finish the job.
The puppets, under the advice from Toulon’s spirits fight to protect Rick & his friends from the Totems.
Puppet’s against demonic puppets is not quite as exciting as it might sound with the first obvious problem being a lack of interesting violence or gore. The Totem attacks are lame by previous movie comparisons & the effects are really not up to scratch except when the Totems are dying, that is where the money was spent.
By positioning the puppets as ‘good guys’ in this movie their threat is instantly blunted & the fights between them & the Totems are no better than dolls being thrown at each other. The introduction of the Decapitron puppet at the end only makes things worse as this dude is over-powered!
It’s disappointing as the puppets are & should be the stars of the movie.
The human actors do a serviceable job in their roles. Rick borders on cheese at times especially in a protracted laser-tag session with the puppets. The rest, in particular the females are forgettable & it is a wonder they manage to survive the events at all.
Toulon also makes a brief appearance to pass advice & his puppets onto Rick at the end of the movie when the Decapitron’s head morphs into his. The continuity of these movies is all over the place with the timeline for Toulon’s death not matching nor the events in the 2nd movie being referenced at all.
Like many a franchise the Puppet Master movies are getting worse the longer they go on. I think the biggest flaw is having the puppets no longer be a viable threat to humans which eliminates a lot of the fun of the movies.
Puppet Master 4