REVIEW: PUPPET MASTER

CAST

Paul Le Mat (American Graffiti)
William Hickey (The Nightmare Before Christmas)
Irene Miracle (Midnight Express)
Jimmie F. Skaggs (Catch Me If You Can)
Robin Frates (Man’s best Friend)
Barbara Crompton (The Sisterhood)

imagesIn 1939 Bodega Bay, California, an old puppeteer named André Toulon is putting the finishing touches on a living puppet named Jester. A living oriental puppet, named Shredder Khan, stares out of the window for Blade. Meanwhile, Blade scouts the grounds of the Bodega Bay Inn that André is staying. Two Nazi spies get out of a car and head for Toulon’s room but Blade beats them there and André puts Blade, Jester and Shredder Khan into a chest with an Indian puppet, named Gengie, before hiding the chest in a wall panel. As the Nazis break down the door, Toulon shoots himself in the mouth with a pistol.MV5BZDM3Y2VjNDMtZTRmNC00MjQ5LTk3ZmItNjFmZDgwMGZlZjk5XkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyNTk0OTM1NzU@._V1_50 years later, in 1989, psychics Alex Whitaker, Dana Hadley, Frank Forrester and Carissa Stamford make contact with an old colleague of theirs, Neil Gallagher, and conclude he found Andre Toulon’s hiding place. Each one of them experiences a different vision; Alex sees Neil pointing a gun at a young woman’s head, and dreams of leeches sucking blood out of his stomach, while Dana foresees her possible death. The psychics meet at the Bodega Bay Inn that Neil resides at and meet Neil’s wife, Megan, the woman from Alex’s vision. They also meet the housekeeper, Theresa. The psychics are skeptical that Neil took a wife but it is forgotten when Megan tells them that Neil shot himself. Theresa, Megan, and Alex leave the body, leaving Frank, Carissa and Dana. Dana stabs a long pin into Neil’s corpse to verify that he is in fact dead.puppetmaster10Each psychic experiences a vision; Dana tells Theresa not to go near the fireplace, Alex sees Neil wearing a mask while dancing with Megan in the dining room, and Carissa sees Neil assaulting a woman in the elevator. As the sun sets, Pinhead, who is another living puppet, climbs out of Neil’s casket. That night at dinner, Dana makes several remarks about Neil that causes Megan to leave the table. Alex goes after her and explains about the powers of the people in the group. Carissa is a psychometrist, and she can touch an object and give the object’s history, Dana can tell fortunes and locate things and people, and Alex himself has premonitions in his dreams and when he’s awake. All four of them were helping Neil in his research of alchemy, and during that time, Frank and Neil discovered that the Egyptians created a method of giving life to inanimate figurines, a power passed down to practitioners of magic, and Dana tracked down the location of Andre Toulon, the last true alchemist, to the hotel. But because he had not made contact with them in a while, Dana and the rest think he abandoned them and took whatever he was looking for himself, and they are there to take it and settle the score.puppet-master-dream-or-psychic-phenomenaWhen night falls, Theresa goes near the fireplace and is knocked out when Pinhead hits her with a poker. Someone moves Gallagher’s body to a chair, and causes Megan to become ill. Before going to bed, Dana puts protection spells around Alex and his room, forcing Blade to leave Alex alive for now. Carissa and Frank spend some intimate time together to open up a channel and make contact with Neil in their hotel room but two more living puppets, Tunneler and Leech Woman, enter. Tunneler kills Carissa by drilling into her face and Leech Woman vomits leeches onto Frank’s body, which drain his blood, which disrupts Alex in his sleep. Meanwhile, Gallagher’s body reappears in Dana’s room, and she puts a spell on him to put him at rest until she is attacked by Pinhead, who breaks her leg. Pinhead chases her and repeatedly strangles and punches her until she manages to knock him away, only to have her throat cut by Blade, using his knife-hand, fulfilling her fortune.puppet-master-pic-4Alex has a premonition of Megan taking him to Toulon’s room when nightmares of Megan having a gun put to her head by Neil and the other psychics being found dead block him from seeing the room, but is eventually awoken by Megan, who takes him into the room that Andre Toulon was in, and tells him that Neil found Andre’s secret to bringing inanimate objects to life. Alex has a vision of Neil shooting him and they go downstairs to escape when Alex senses the others in the dining room, and finds their dead bodies sitting around a table. They are stopped by the newly resurrected Neil. He explains that “metaphysically speaking”, he did commit suicide, but he used Toulon’s secrets to become immortal. He contacted them all so they wouldn’t take the secret from him, and he hopes to use their bodies for future human experiments, expressing disgust of working with the puppets and violently throws Jester at a chair. Seeing this attack on one of their own, the puppets revolt against Neil, brutally killing him in front of Alex and Megan. The film cuts to Alex saying goodbye to Megan and leaving the hotel. Now alone, Megan picks up Dana’s taxidermied dog, and in the following scene, the dog becomes completely animate, walking up the stairs with Megan, suggesting that she, too, has learned Toulon’s method. Perhaps, even that Dana’s spirit has taken over Megan’s body!puppets-puppetmaster-590x350I was surprised: it was good very entertaining. It inspired me to see the sequels, too, and they – most notably the third one – were good, too. It’s a little slow to start with, but once the puppets begin their attack story gets interesting, concluding with a gruesome ending.