The Direct to Video Connoisseur
I'm a huge fan of action, horror, sci-fi, and comedy, especially of the Direct to Video variety. In this blog I review some of my favorites and not so favorites, and encourage people to comment and add to the discussion. If you click on an image, it will take you to that post's image page, which includes many more pics from the film and other goodies I couldn't fit in the actual review. For announcements and updates, don't forget to Follow us on Twitter and Like our Facebook page. If you're the director, producer, distributor, etc. of a low-budget feature length film and you'd like to send me a copy to review, you can contact me at dtvconnoisseur[at]yahoo.com. I'd love to check out what you got.
Wednesday, February 8, 2012
Puppet Master II (1991)
I had been planning to do this one for some time. I mean, I'm planning to do them all at some point, but I'd already done the first Puppet Master, so the next logical step would be part 2, plus it's on Watch Instantly, so that's another bonus. But then Emily at Deadly Doll's House of Horror Nonsense shot me an e-mail asking if I had any movies to review about short baddies for her Vertically Challenged Villains Month, and I thought it would be a great opportunity to make this one happen.
Puppet Master II I think picks up where part 1 left off. We're at the famous hotel, now abandoned, and some twenty-something kids sent by the government bureau of paranormal activity are there investigating its goings-ons. At the same time, our stringless animated puppets are hard at work getting their old master, Toulon, risen from the dead, which they do, but he dresses like the Invisible Man, which is kinda creepy. Anyway, Toulon thinks one of the girls on the crew looks like his long lost love, and he wants her and him to be reincarnated into the bodies of large, human-sized dolls. She's not so amenable to the idea, and hopefully, for her sake, her beau will rescue her in time.
I enjoyed this one more than the first. It had a better puppet quotient, their time was spread out throughout the film, and we had fewer gaps between puppet kills. I liked that they added tangential characters that could be killed earlier on, so we didn't have that huge chunk of nothing we had in the first one. The addition of Toulon wrapped in bandages created an extra layer of tension and suspense without breaking the special effects budget, which worked really well too. This is the fun horror movie that I wanted from the first one, but didn't get until the last twenty minutes or so. Here we have 88 minutes with very little padding and a lot of action.
The Puppet Master series is to Full Moon what The Toxic Avengers are to Troma. While there are plenty of other films we associate with both companies, and while both companies put out completely different styles of horror flicks, both the Puppet Masters and The Toxic Avengers have that iconic quality that transcends their niche markets. It's weird then that I've seen the Toxic Avenger flicks much more than I've seen the Puppet Masters. I think a big part of that comes from the fact that I've never introduced people to the Puppet Master flicks the way I have the Toxic Avengers, and whenever we introduce a film to someone, it's usually a rewatch for us, right? It's one of the great things about having this blog though, I have a reason to go back and revisit films like this that I otherwise wouldn't.
Recognize her? It's Charlie Spradling. She played Paulette in Ski School, one of my all time favorite films. She was hot there, and she was hot here. In one scene, she goes from topless in only her panties to putting on the guy she's with's dress shirt. What is it about that that's so hot to us straight guys? It would make sense for gay guys, because they're both men, so one has a dress shirt, the other puts it on, he looks nice in it, I get that; but why do women look so hot to us straight guys when they wear our shirts? The shirt isn't made for them with their bodies in mind. I guess it's the fact that it's the shirt and nothing else that's hot, I mean, I don't know how hot I'd find a girl I was dating if she wore my jeans too. And it doesn't work around the way either, does it? Would a woman find us hot in her blouse?
The killing of kids is a tricky thing in any movie, and though I'm not sure it was pulled off well here, I give them points for trying. What they do is make the kid a total brat, and he picks up the new flamethrower puppet (Torch?) and starts abusing him. So the puppet sets him on fire-- though it's never shown. Technically, we don't know for sure if the kid is killed, because there's the cut away, but I'm pretty sure it happened. If it hadn't been being burned alive, I think it would've worked better-- I mean, violence towards kids in real life is abhorrent, but in a movie, with the kind of brat this was, it was a borderline applause scene.
Does that stuff not look like mint chocolate chip ice cream to you? It does to me. I don't remember the last time I've had some, I'm kind of getting a craving for it. Fun fact: I remember hearing that Timothy McVeigh's last meal was two pints of mint chocolate chip (just confirmed this on his Wikipedia page). I like me some mint chocolate chip, but I'm not sure I like it last meal good. Anthony Bourdain said all chefs have a last meal dish. It's like their standard for best food ever. Can you do that though? Can you have a gourmet chef whip up a rare and expensive meal? I'd say us tax payers made out all right with the two pints of mint chocolate chip-- damn, I might have to get me a pint tomorrow.
All right, enough of that, let's wrap this up. I want to thank Emily again for including my posts in her Vertically Challenged Villains month. Though you should watch Puppet Master before you watch this one, I enjoyed this one much more than it's predecessor. When you think Puppet Master, this is the movie you think of. Full Moon at its best, just a fun horror flick.
For more info: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0100438/