All hell breaks loose when a strange force reanimates everybody’s favourite pint-sized terrors that are up for auction, sending them on a bloody killing spree that’s motivated by an evil that defies logic, sense and plot coherency.
“Puppet Master” can be described at its best as uneven. The franchise that began life in 1989 has had a half-decent run with several reincarnations of variable quality along the rickety way. Nonetheless it was in 1991 that they perfected their brand’s balance with the swan song that was “Puppet Master III: Toulon’s Revenge”, only to throw all logic out of the window with its follow-up, “Puppet Master 4”.
The series that focused on antihero puppets, corpses animated by an Egyptian spell, paranormal investigators, demons and National Socialism continued to bury itself further into the obscurity graveyard right into the Millennium, even after drafting in one-time Hollywood It-Brat, Corey Feldman when trying to add Hollywood credibility to the proceedings that had become more affiliated with the bargain bin of no return than achieving strong weekly rentals.
But after a prolonged silence, 2016 bought the welcome news that “Puppet Master” was going to be given a fresh lick of paint, and eventually, in 2018, “Puppet Master: The Littlest Reich” premiered at the Overlook Film Festival before heading direct to VOD that August, followed by its final platform release on DVD and Blu-ray last September.
The film, which defies all logic, follows the recently-divorced Edgar (Thomas Lennon), who returns to his childhood home to get his life back on track. Shortly thereon in, Edgar discovers an odd-looking puppet (Blade) in his deceased brother’s room. Hard-up for cash, he decides to sell the puppet at a convention celebrating the 30th Anniversary of the infamous Toulon Murders. Ashley (Jenny Pellicer) and Markowitz (Nelson Franklin) join Edgar on his road trip, which eventually ends in murder and mayhem when the puppets are animate sending them on a killing spree.
"After witnessing half a dozen kills, the most brutal death involving a heavily pregnant female (Deanne Lauvin) induces a mere eye roll as opposed to a gasp the filmmakers might have intended."
One of the major differences between the reboot and its 1981 original is the unapologetic bloodthirsty nature of this beast. The pint-sized assassins slice and dice their way relentlessly through a Texas hotel. Throats are slashed, guts are spilled and limbs are torn clean off. Ironically, after witnessing half a dozen kills, the most brutal death involving a heavily pregnant female (Deanne Lauvin) induces a mere eye roll as opposed to a gasp the filmmakers might have intended, thanks to the franchise fulfilling its own self-prophecy of digging itself an early grave after a promising start.