Monday, January 12, 2015

Puppet Master Week: Puppet Master

Well let's get this started and welcome to Day 1 of Puppet Master Week. Logically we will begin with the first film but first I wanted to give a little detail on the creator of this bizarre series Charles Band. Less than thrilled how distribution occured in the states and overseas, Band formed Empire Pictures in 1984 to produce and distribute his films and make sure of return on the profits. As the VHS market was just being its mass allotment, Empire Pictures had allied itself with Wizard Video for their contacts and they only became a power in the industry for producing two horror games on Atari 2600 in 1982, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Halloween. Imagine the scandal of horror games pre 8-bit. As Italy had its fluctuation or many economic issues, most of the low budget films Band was making hailed from the region causing him leave and return to the US of A. Forming the company Full Moon Pictures. Aside from ambition behind the scenes, Band started developing scripts of horror genre ranging from period pieces, guy in rubber suits and the love for inanimate objects doing horrible things to people. This is Puppet Master.

Just a little work under the chin and around the eyes please.

Written by Charles Band, our movie starts in 1939 in Bodega Bay, California with an elder man, a puppeteer name of Andre Toulon (William Hickey of Mikey and Nicky, Wise Blood, A Stranger Is Watching, Prizzi's Honor, One Crazy Summer and The Maddening) who has discovered a secret, a formula that brings life to where there was none. A true alchemist whose secrets were handed down to his ancestors for generations. This goes without saying the Nazi party would be very interested in this... you know, the remaining few that did not go after the Ark of the Covenant or the Holy Grail or virtually any other religious artifact. Wonder how that tesseract business went for them. Moving along, a pair of goose-steppers are looking to cease Toulon and his prized puppets when Toulon locks them away in a secret compartment and ends his life with a revolver.

50 years later a gathering of psychics Alex Whitaker (Paul Le Mat of American Graffiti, Melvin and Howard, Wishman, Lonesome Dove: The Series and American History X), Dana Hadley (Irene Miracle of Midnight Express, Inferno, Puppet Master and Walking Thunder), Frank Forrester (Matt Roe of Puppet Master, Child's Play 2, My Blue Heaven and Naked Gun 33 1/3: The Final Insult) and Carissa Stamford (Kathryn O' Reilly of Married with Children, Jack's Back, Saturday the 14th Strikes Back and Top of the Heap) get in touch with some college colleagues Neil Gallagher (Jimmie F. Skaggs of Lethal Weapon, Cutthroat Island, Hollow Man and Catch Me If You Can) who is not melon crazy but has found Toulon's hidden treasures.

Meatloaf looks on confused as ever.

The four agree to meet him at the late Toulon's home, already envisioning fortune and glory but don't count your Sankara stones yet, folks. There is bound to be more than a few problems. No sooner do they arrive that all the psychics recieve premonitions of death or death still to come and meet Megan (Robin Frates of Puppetmaster, The Arrival, Man's Best Friend, One Night Stand and The Round and Round) who is apparently Neil's wife has news that Neil shot himself. Yeah you can see that being an issue. Alex and the gang were attempting to find the secrets of Toulon's alchemy that hails from Egyptian practitioners...when they were putting hot pokers up nostrils and preserving organs in jars. With each psychic having a unique gift it is their hope to unlock these secrets. Frank and Neil's research has almost pinpointed everything they need but now the party seems taken back by all of this. Meanwhile unaware of this, our cast is being haunted by tiny puppets that seemingly have been animated by Toulon's formula as they stalk their late master's would-be grave-robbers. Will any of our psychics get out alive? Can these dastardly dolls be burned and destroyed?

A few comments about the movie now. The practical effects for the puppets from David Allen Productions was amazing. From stop motion animation and animatronics these killer puppets are maiming in style. Originally slated for a theatrical release, our movie had to go with a straight-to-video instead due to Band feeling it would do better in the rental market which given its popularity gave it cult status and the grounds for a sequel or nine in this case.

I got no strings, to keep me down!