The Puppet Master franchise is one that I had never experienced before I settled down to watch the movie. Horror movies about killer dolls/toys have never really interested me but I decided to give the original movie a chance.
The movie opens with an interesting sub-plot regarding the potential origins of the puppets. It is a great opportunity to see the puppets & understand that they are not evil as long as they do not have an evil master.
André Toulon can make puppets that are alive & the Nazis want them. Before they can get to Toulon he commits suicide. Many years later a group of psychics are called to a mansion where one of their friends has committed suicide. Together with the widow they try to unravel the mystery behind his death & the secrets behind the mansion.
The cast is pretty decent but the real stars of the movie are the puppets & the way in which they convey emotion particularly at end when the evil behind them is revealed. They each have a comforting yet threatening personality that comes across without a word spoken.
When they do go on the attack the results are extremely gratifying & the film, while not particularly bloody, is graphic enough. A lot of the time the results are left to your imagination!
A particularly gruesome scene sees 2 characters getting down to it. She wants to get kinky so ties him up & blindfolds him. As they continue she hears noises from under the bed & goes to take a look…she doesn’t come back up. He is still blindfolded so when he starts getting small kisses on his body he thinks the game is continuing. I won’t spoil it for you but it is a very enjoyable watch as his cries of pleasure turn into pain.
Sadly the story bores after a while & it feels like the movie is just waiting for an opportunity to showcase the puppets again. I disliked the main star who walked around with a permanent shocked look on his face & the ending was distinctly average (baring an excellent dinner table reveal).
I hate bad-guys who spend ages explaining their plans….it’s so James Bond.
Considering its age it looks really good & has some genius moments. As a starting point for the franchise it does a good job of introducing the puppets but is let down by a complex & un-interesting plot.