There were key movies in my life that helped to make me who I am today. Movies that I have loved from the moment the opening credit rolled and still love now. This blog series is about those, My guilty pleasures, my favorites, my escapes. Some were very popular, others not so much. Some of these will have some real life take-aways, others are just for fun.
Thanks for joining us again as we travel deeper into the Puppet Master story with Puppet Master 4!
Today’s Key Movie:
Hell decides to take back the secret to eternal life by sending totems to Earth in order to track down and kill anyone who knows Toulon’s reanimation methods. With the Puppets in danger, they team up to protect themselves and a group of researchers who think Toulon’s Secret is the answer to a new AI program. Starring Guy Rolfe returning as Toulon, Gordon Currie, Chandra West, Ash Adams and Teresa Hill, this is the fourth entry in the classic Puppet Master franchise.
Why this movie?
I honestly have very little memory of this particular entry. While I know I watched the first five films in the franchise before Full Moon took a hiatus on the films, for some reason, this one has mostly vanished from my memory with only vague recollections of demon puppets and a return of the classic characters like Blade and Leach Woman. I’m not sure if that’s a good sign or not but that’s why I’m revisiting these right?
This entry brings us back to the Bodega Bay hotel from the first two films with it’s new caretaker Rick Myers, who is using his isolation to develop a new IA Program. After some unexpected friends arrive, with one that happens to be a psychic, the Hell Totem attacks the bodega and, of course, Toulon’s Puppets get involved as their own fate is at risk as well.
Seeing as this is the fourth entry in the franchise, does it hold up? Well…
You like it, but is it really a ‘good’ movie?
After the first three entries, Puppet Master 4 just seems to be trying too hard. This entry is a strange amalgamation of Witchboard, Re-Animator, Gremlins and Batteries Not Included. While the special effects are clearly superior to any of the franchise, the plot just bounces around between Hell taking revenge on Toulon for ‘stealing’ the immortality formula, to a crazy battle between diminutive creatures not unlike the film Small Soldiers that would hit theaters only a few years later. That’s not to say it’s a bad movie, just one that doesn’t seem to know what genre it wants to play in. In one moment it dives deeply into Gremlins territory with demon like creatures attacking people, then it jumps over to the Killer Puppets of the previous films acting like a trained military unit attempting to defend themselves and the humans around them from the minions of Hell.
Then, we meet Decapitron, the newest addition to Toulon’s Puppet Army. With Torch missing for some reason from this entry, it only makes sense that a new Puppet had to be introduced but Decapitron comes as a bit of a surprise. Infused Frankenstein style with Electricity, Decapitron just happens to be Toulon’s failsafe just in case something from Hell shows up to threaten his Puppet Minions. I mean, Toulon’s spirit actually says ‘The Time for Decapitron has arrived’ and I am not kidding. Oh, yeah, Toulon’s spirit is in this too and it just kind of stands around ‘talking’ to the Puppets like a strange undead German Obi-Wan Kenobi. Toulon also uses Decapitron to communicate with Rick but that’s a whole other thing…
Cast wise, it’s clear everyone in the film had fun with their roles and went all in. Not one of them went too far making this a melodrama, which is pretty impressive considering how easy it would have been. Gordon Currie, who plays Rick Meyers, is actually pretty good in his role as are his supporting cast members. Gordon would appear again in Jason Takes Manhattan and Chandra West, who plays his love interest Susie would return with Gordon in Puppet Master 5, but we are getting ahead of ourselves there. Also, you know I cant get through one of these without a Star Trek connection, Michael Shamus Wiles, who plays a security guard at the start of the film, also appeared on an episode of Star Trek Voyager. I never realized just how interconnected Puppet Master and Star Trek were until now.
Overall, while this is a rather low point for the Puppet Master franchise it’s not rock bottom. As a B-horror, it’s fun and silly slipping more into the Horror/Comedy side of things that was very popular when this was made. If you are into silly horror that takes a cool concept and just has fun with it, then Puppet Master 4 is for you, if you like your horror a little more…grounded, well, you might skip this one all together. That being said, I really had a good time with it, despite it’s silly nature.
OK, where do I get this movie?
If you want to jump into something fun, you can pick this one up on Bluray here directly from the source. You can also watch it via Amazon Prime on the Full Moon Channel so there are options. Be sure to join us next week for Puppet Master 5 The Final Chapter. Until then,
Late To The Game 9/2/2021
If you would like to read more reviews please check out the rest of the Key Movies Of My Life that comes out every Thursday.
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