Puppet Master (1989): Movie Review

IMDB rated this movie: 5.6/10

Wikipedia states:

“Puppet Master is an American horror film series which focuses on a group of anthropomorphic puppets animated by an Egyptian spell, each equipped with its own unique and dangerous device (although not in all installments of the series are the puppets portrayed as threatening) and are represented as heroes, antiheroes and antagonists.

Produced by Full Moon Features, the series was established in 1989 with the eponymous first installment, which has since been followed by ten sequels, a crossover with the characters of Demonic Toys, a 2018 reboot entitled The Littlest Reich, a spin-off film about the puppet Blade, an upcoming spin-off about Retro Puppet Master’s Doktor Death, two comic book mini-series, an ongoing comic book series, a Multiplayer video game released in 2014 endorsed by Full Moon themselves and numerous other collector’s items.”

The trailer for Puppet Master

Puppet Master has become somewhat of a cult classic movie. I first had the pleasure of watching a few of the films as a child, back then the whole concept was exciting, frightening and lovable. Sadly, it didn’t receive critical praise. However, it has spawned many sequels, some arguably better than others.

So where to begin. Andre Toulon, the puppet master, uses an ancient Egyptian spell to animate the puppets, he also uses a green liquid (the formula) to animate them and sustain their lives! The film opens with two men in black, nazis, who are entering the Bodego Bay Inn, Toulon’s residence. The camera follows the little pattering footsteps as Blade – the lead puppet – is running his way through the hotel to warn Toulon of the nazis, of which he is already aware. Toulon commits suicide before the nazis can get into his room and kill him. Not before he can store Blade, and the other puppets into his now infamous puppet case.

A dramatic and overwhelming scene, a movie moment, but this movie moment doesn’t come with no surprises. Of course, to learn the background of Toulon one must watch the other puppet master films. Toulon has been on the run from the nazis for a while and they want the magical formula and secrets that Toulon uses to animate the puppets. The location, a hotel right on the edge of a cliff to the sea, is perfect. A seemingly claustrophobic nightmare, with the addition of the intriguing nazi back story which is further explored in the other movies.

50 years later in 1989, the secret is discovered by Neil Gallagher. Soon he sends messages to his psychic friends Alex Whitaker, Dana Hadley, Frank Forrester and Carissa Stamford – who posses both supernatural and psychic abilities – who arrive to find his wife Megan.

Each uses their power whilst simultaneously being unaware or glimpsing the animated puppets and the chaos they bring. Somewhat vengeful of Toulon’s suicide 50 years prior (I’d guess) they unleash themselves and one by one, they begin to hunt down and kill the new guests. *Note: the hotel is closed to normal guests.*

The Puppets: Blade, Pinhead, Tunneler, Leech woman and Jester. Although small, are well animated in terms of production value which is low for a first movie. (expected). Overall at this point just prior to the puppets killing people, it has been a slow build up, with good acting, good lighting and audio, the scene and sets are good and consistent and the story does somewhat hold itself together.

The puppets do though pose a threat, they are small and sometimes the shots of them waiting to do something do drag out and it makes you wonder why not just kick them away. I guess this is part of the make-believe aspect and the movie magic. We have some great characters but the action is a let down.

Mike and Megan seemingly being the only survivors are confronted by Neil, who has used the ‘magic formula’ to reanimate himself. Much more to the dismay of the puppets than anything else. They seem to be instructed to kill him, and to protect the secret.

Megan is seen at the end of the movie reanimating the stuffed dog, and we know at this point that she has learned the method too.

At the end of the day, this has some good suspense, acting, plot and overall movie magic that you would expect from a lower budget movie. It does still hold up well in terms of animation and cgi, but the puppets are exactly that, they are controlled by puppeteers, and no amount of filming method can change that.

I have managed to watch 5 of them, so something must be working. Personal highlights for me are the rare characters Torch and the common Blade. They have become screen legends much the same as Freddy (A Nightmare on Elm Street) and Jason (Friday the 13th). Film 3 and 5 are quite good in developing a proven method beyond what you might anticpate.

Will I continue to watch these films until I have seen all 12 movies? (Possibly more to come) The answer is yes. Despite our Toulon puppets wanting to kill people, they are also in certain movies, the heroes. They are a form of anti-hero and a much needed variation in todays over loaded cinema world full of remakes and cgi buffs.

Overall score: 4 stars – potentially an overlooked but hidden gem.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Collection

Sometimes you kick a stone against a rock

sometimes you begin to just...drop

there's a crow coming along...with flock

knock, knock

fetted behemoth lock

how you shine your dusty cobwebs off

crown and gown and say aloud

collection

reflection

dynasty days

my weeping flower

drifting away

collecting

erecting

the sacred mountain.

Resident Evil: Biohazard

One of the most horrifying, brilliant and intriguing games of the 21st century. The sequel, resident evil: village, number 8 in the series, has just released.

Resident evil 7: Biohazard was released 24th January 2017. I had seen many videos at the time, and waited until around June 2018 to buy and play it. An unforgettable first person survival horror video game that is in my opinion, one of the best resident evil games ever made and the best survival horror game I have ever played in the last 10 years. 2017 was a great year for this type of experience, with only Outlast 2 rivalling the success.

“The player controls Ethan Winters as he searches for his wife in a derelict plantation occupied by an infected family, solving puzzles and fighting enemies. It is the first main series game to use a first-person view. Resident Evil 7 is the first full-length game to use Capcom’s in-house RE Engine. “

Graphically this game is top notch, the re engine really stands out and is unique in so many way. It actually pays attention to details and the environment and characters movements and interactions are stunningly realistic. Sound effects and music are generally used to good affect as well.

I completed the game in a little over 10 hours. According to my save game data. I have also just started to play it again, so that the story is fresh in my mind for when I get a chance to play Resident Evil: Village. The stories of the two games are intrinsically linked.

So, here we have a simple premise: husband goes looking for wife who has been missing 3 years. She has sent a recording to his computer supposedly stating she is alive. Ethan is determined to rescue Mia and sets off to a beautiful Louisiana. We get a brief cutscene at the beginning of the game highlighting the vast empty wilderness that Ethan is trekking into. Personally, I love this kind of setting and wouldn’t mind living there myself.

Ethan turns up at a huge plantation mansion, which at first appears one building, but as you progress you quickly realise that the sets and the game are taking place in multiple building and massive gaming areas. They are linked together in a way that would allow you to explore multiple areas without having to ‘load’ into them. Again, this is the resident evil team, they have the money to build massive, detailed worlds, yet still retain that claustrophobic nightmare of not being able to leave. You can’t leave, and the only way to truly escape seems to be to rescue Mia and kill the entirety of the psychotic and infected Baker family.

Infected with what? Mystery abound as the first hour of gameplay is simple jump scares and some fighting. It is only when the mold creatures turn up that I truly began to feel fear. I mean the family is scary and the characters brilliantly acted and designed…but when you are in a dark room and mold creatures are morphing through walls I guarantee that you won’t be able to run quick enough. Another scary feature of this game, you can run, but extremely slowly, barely being able to escape. This is by design, and makes the game a survival horror, where stealth, patience and a little brain work to figure out the puzzles is required.

Inventory management is the best I have seen in the resident evil games. Some original concepts remain, like the herb healing plant and the ability to combine objects together. Ammunition is in good supply (normal mode) along with a variety of keys and puzzles that make completing some of the smaller objectives fun and interesting, rather than running around shooting everything.

The game is essential a movie, you meet the psychotic family members and one by one you face them off and destroy – or attempt to destroy them. I spent a lot of time trying to kill the first “boss” Jack Baker. A seemingly immortal man who continues to return during your early time in the house. All the time we are getting information from his daughter Zoe, who seems to be wanting to help Ethan by way of irregular telephone calls. Mia, on the other hand, continues to show up whilst the Baker family continue to try and keep her hostage.

The story and game have you complete mini tasks and work through the story finding Mia, getting help from Zoe and all the while wondering who the enigmatic Evelyn is. The Baker family provide the bosses, as mentioned Jack Baker is the first “boss” and one that just doesn’t want to die, with 2 fights against him plus plenty of chase time in the house. The closer you get to Mia, the more tasks appear, and again, the boss fight.

All of this culminates into a fascinating gaming experience which allows the player to experience true fear and excitement as they battle and sneak their way through one of the most disturbing games I have ever seen! When you are against a giant spider lady who is giving birth to giant insects, you can’t help but think, ‘God help me.’

So, Ethan, trying to rescue Mia, is being drawn further into the story of Evelyn, the mold creatures and the whole situation with the Baker family. This is one hell of a creepy experience. The developers acknowledge that this game is petrifying and have openly stated that resident evil: village has been toned down, to allow people to get through the levels without ******** themselves.

I felt a sense of achievement and connection to both Ethan and the game. I wanted him to succeed and for the story to end on a positive note. He is a brave mane. The ending, extremely bizarre. All the dark sets, boss battles and shaking hands have led to a final mission to finally escape. Escape is not easy.

Give this game a try. Bonus: This game supports virtual reality headsets! I will be honest, I was terrified with a headset, so no chance will I be doing VR!

The second playthrough has reminded me has awesome this experience was. I bought the game second hand and I do not regret it. The developers and everyone involved deserve a pat on the back for this occult(ish) nightmare!

( I am genuinely interested in Resident Evil: Village for the xbox one, however, I won’t be playing it until it has gone down in price.)

RATING: 5 stars

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Venerated

Never choosing this

“You choosing this”

I forgot which path to take

“You chose it”

Losing my faith

“They choose it”

A clean blank slate

“They blew it”

all the while feeling faint

ignoring the saints

thinking I ain’t!

“Never lose it”

sinking to the bar

never wanting to surface

who you are

an enigma

a shadow

come floating by

they all awe and why?

“Choosing to”

losing you

seeing you

being with you

being near

far

“They need you.”

Transcend

"Lay thou tired head to rest."


Thrown into the smoothness
all I asked for was forgiveness
a head full of smoke
my pipe on the ground
as I long to look around
for you
you feel mad
I feel you
seeking desperate rage
against a stone
falling through clouds
thinking aloud
in the mind storm
red raw door
where the crows caw
where darkness befall
the eye that seeketh the rough
acting tough
melting inside
being outside
ascend
transcend
open your eyes.

"Goodnight."