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] I'd love to check out what you got.



Hi everyone, it's been a while since I checked the page, and I wanted to make a few announcements.

First and foremost, it appears a dubious site has claimed the old url, meaning any link in any review that goes to the old mattmovieguy url is corrupt. I'm in the process of trying to remove them all, but it's a lot! It's best not to click on any link without hovering over it first to make sure it doesn't have mattmovieguy in the url.

Second, it appears since my last trip to the blog, Photobucket has decided to charge for third party hosting, meaning none of my images are appearing anymore. That's simply an aesthetic issue, but still annoying.

Thank you all for your patience, and again, hopefully this will all be fixed soon.


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.

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  1. LOL! It does look like mint chocolate chip. :x

    I love this series! It was more funny than scary to me, even as a child.

  2. Good stuff, this is one of the better late-era Charles Band films (I count everything since he started Full Moon to be late-era).

  3. I plowed through the first 6 PUPPET MASTER movies in a few days for Emily's blog as well, and it was an interesting experience revisiting these movies or watching them again for the first time in years. I thought they would get progressively worse, but I actually found the first two to be pretty weak. Maybe it was just a matter of the films hitting their stride or something. And yes, I also agree that Charlie Spradling is super hot. She was also in another Full Moon movie, MERIDIAN, with Sherilyn Fenn, which I just re-watched the other day. I need to go back and check to see if you reviewed that one; if not, you should check it out. I'd be curious to hear your thoughts on that one.

  4. Didn't that look like mint chocolate chip? Maybe a little melted, but still.

    Yeah, this is a pretty fun one, and I can't wait to get back in and check out the rest of the series. A big thing for me and Charles Band is that I watched a lot of his films when I was much younger and didn't think about who the director was, so I need to go back and get a better idea of him as a director. I feel a little bit behind on that aspect.

    I haven't done Meridian yet, but I need to. It's currently not on Watch Instantly, so I'll have to track down a copy, but I'm interested to check it out.

  5. Puppet Master 2 was one of those repeat rentals for me as a kid. I think it's about on par with the first, although I do prefer it for focusing more on the dolls.

    Oh! And I've always wondered about the dress shirt on girls thing. I don't get it. If I can't reach my own shirt in a guy's bed, I want one of his comfy tees, not a stiff button down. But apparently, film directors find it sexy so that's what we get. Confusing...

  6. This is definitely a classic 90s rental, it just has that video store feel. And I'm telling you, it's not just film directors, straight guys in general find it sexy when women wear our dress shirts. Comfy T-shirts aren't bad either. I mean, frankly, as guys, we're just happy a woman's in our bed, after that she can wear whatever she wants-- but the dress shirt's pretty hot.