If there’s anything that should strike fear into the heart of a film-watcher, it’s the slowly dawning realisation that the film you’re watching ripped its central plotline from “Halloween 3: Season of the Witch”. Still, I suppose, it can’t be that bad, can it?
Well, it tries its hardest. Apparently, Full Moon have said this is a “non-canon” film, due to it being produced by the Sci-Fi Channel (aaarrrghhh it’s a SyFy Channel movie, I thought I’d escaped you), although with their laughably lax relationship with continuity, I’m surprised they care. Due to its non-official nature, all the puppets look slightly different, and we’re down to four – Blade, Six-Shooter, Pinhead and Jester. Pinhead looks much more normal – either his head is bigger or his body is smaller, which surprisingly disappointed me.
The new puppet master is the great-grand-nephew of ol’ Andre Toulon, Robert, played by Corey Feldman. Growing up, I was a huge fan of his, but it looks like at some point in his past, he sadly forgot how to act and now just gestures wildly and speaks in an exaggerated whisper / growl the entire time (my favourite post-fame film of his is still “Tales From The Crypt Presents Bordello of Blood”). After finding the puppets at a French flea market, and along with his sassy but loving daughter, he’s trying to bring the puppets back to life… and he also has the diary which was burned in the last film? After a brief bit of them rewriting the backstory again (who cares by this point? Also, non-canon, I guess) we’re introduced to the film’s villain, Vanessa Angel. She’s now the boss of Sharpe Toys, after her Dad died. He was so devoted to her that he sold his soul to the demon Baal to give her what she wanted (toys that were really alive), and now she’s making another pact with Baal, where she sells (or gives away) toys to millions of kids, and he animates them with his demonic power, so they can kill just about everyone and she can rule the world.
Vanessa Angel knows all about the Toulon legacy and spies on the Toulons, while they’re experimenting with how to bring the puppets to life. They succeed, obviously, Angel tries to steal the puppets (for kind-of a lame reason) all the while having the weird habit of sacrificing her receptionists to Baal. After the robbery attempt, the policewoman who comes to check it out gets involved in the plot. She firstly seems extremely suspicious, then flirtatious, and I couldn’t tell if she was a suspicious sort or just a really terrible actress (it’s the latter). While you’re pondering that question yourselves, you can also wonder why the film never says the words “Christmas Eve”. A news report says “less than one shopping day til Christmas” and an occasionally appearing inter-title counts down “24 hours til Christmas morning”, “12 hours til Christmas morning”, and so on. Answers on a postcard, please.
I’ve not really mentioned the Demonic Toys yet, have I? As I want to maintain some mystery for when / if I review their films, and definitely not because I’m lazy, I’ve not done too much research into them. Baby Oopsy Daisy is clearly the star of the trio we see, a Noo Joisey-sounding baby who loves sex and murder, and the film is building up to the climactic fight between them and the Puppets. Luckily, after getting damaged in a fire, Toulon is able to upgrade the puppets with metal attachments, and in the case of Six-Shooter, lasers, and…I was about to say “they don’t disappoint”, but that would reflect entirely wrongly on my opinion of the film.
It would have been fun if Baal, during one of his appearances, had made reference to the puppets killing another demon, Sutekh, back in Puppet Master 5. Him being frightened of them could have helped push the second half of the film along…sorry, no-one wants to read stuff from an armchair director, and I’m slightly bummed out that I’ve remembered as much stuff about these films as I have.
This film has, maybe, the stupidest bit of plot-advancement in the entire history of cinema. I have to spoil it in order to tell you about it…the Toulons have packed up the puppets and are ready to leave to go to the final battle. Suddenly, Corey decides he needs to go to the toilet, and as he disappears round one corner Vanessa Angel appears round another, kidnaps the daughter and takes the box containing the puppets. A few seconds after they leave, Corey, not remembering what’s happened to him up to this point, strolls round the corner going “what’s all the commotion here?” It feels like a stage farce, not a crucial bit of a horror film, and is even dumber than I’ve described it. I remember a pro wrestling TV show where a guy won a championship belt by finding it in a bin…that was smarter than this was.
The ending is stupid, although I kind-of enjoyed the fight between the toys and the puppets (the poster, at the top of this review, is the funniest thing about the film), and Baby Oopsy Daisy’s method of propulsion round the room is an eye-opener. But the film overall, just didn’t quite work. A surprising amount of stuff happened, as I discovered when trying to put a mini re-cap of it in here – I kept thinking of new things to put in, which would have made the review way too long…the problem it had was it wanted to be funny, and had two capable comedy actors in Feldman and Angel, but they just didn’t click. Weak script, poor direction, the two of them realising this was a TV movie and no-one cared? We may never know the answer to these questions.
Rating: Thumbs down
(still not the worst Puppet Master film though)