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.
Today we discuss a film that is technically not part of the main Puppet Master franchise as it takes the original story and twists it into something new. The film, Puppet Master The Littlest Reich.
Today’s Key Movie:
After committing a horrible crime using his puppets, ex-Nazi war criminal Andre Toulon is killed by police. Nearly 40 years later Edgar Easton finds himself pulled into Toulon’s legacy when he locates the Blade Doll which leads him to the hotel where the former Nazi was killed. Now the Dolls have returned and everyone around is fair game for their racist filled murder spree. Starring Thomas Lennon, Jennifer Pellicer, nelson Franklin, Charlyne Ti and Michael Pare, this is the Fangoria Remake of the classic film.
Why this movie?
I have really been looking forward to getting to this one. Having been a fan of the Puppet Master franchise since I was very young, I was stoked to learn that Fangoria had made an attempt to reboot the Puppet Master franchise and it was starring one of my favorite actors, Thomas Lennon. You see, I first encountered Lennon from the MTV series The State where he quickly became one of my favorite comedians. However, in recent years he has not only kept up with comedy, he and several members of that classic show have, in addition to continuing acting, have started writing some fantastic films such as Night at the Museum, Balls of Fury and even Herby Fully Loaded. So to have him involved with one of my all time favorite horror franchises, I knew this would have to be something special.
So, join me now as I watch this film for the first time and let you know….
…is it really a ‘good’ movie?
Littlest Reich is a completely new take on the Puppet Master story, twisting Toulon and his living Puppets into truly evil creatures made solely to inflict pain and suffering on the innocents. This film really represents how I remembered the original Puppet Master films with Toulon’s puppets being much more malicious than they actually were and, In fact, I was a little shocked at how innocent the original Puppets where compared to my memories of them being miniature nightmares.
Okay, so enough about the original, you can read my review of that one here, as for Littlest Reich, this is an absolute gorefest through and through. In fact, converse to my surprise as to how innocent the puppets were in the original, I have to say I was even more amazed at how completely violent the puppets are in this instalment. The puppets in Puppet Master Littlest Reich are completely unrepentant evil beings literally hellbent on killing anyone and anything in their paths and in the most grewsome ways possible to boot.
Now, saying this is an absolutely gruesome and violent film is not really doing it justice. When I say grewsome, I mean this film goes places that even the Saw franchise skirted around. If you can think of a horrible violent death, well, Littlest Reich covers it and then some. In fact, not even children are safe, or for that matter, unborn children either. I’ll spare you the worst of it in the images in this review but take these and multiply them by about 10,000. yeah, it’s insane. I wont spoil any specifics for you but this movie holds zero punches and it’s best to never feel like anyone is safe.
Ok, so it’s uber violent and gruesome, but is it any good? Actually, yes. In fact, the story in this is possible one of the best so far in the franchise. Now, don’t get me wrong, I really enjoyed the originals through and through but this one just takes the concept to the most logical place possible, even riffing off of the concept of an Evil Toulon as shown in the original Puppet Master 2. It only makes sense, in the ‘real world’ that someone like Toulon would have ended up working with the Nazi’s ultimately using his creations to kill anyone who did not fit his mold indiscriminately.
One really cool aspect is the puppet redesigns. When I first saw the trailer for this film I wasn’t really sure that I would like these alternate takes on some of my favorite creatures, however, this film actually does a tremendous job explaining why there are so many different variety of Toulon’s puppets. In fact, according to the film, Toulon himself continues to make Puppets selling them through mail order until his death, implying that he had every intention to kill on an even more mass scale. There is even an interesting hint that some of these puppets could be guilty of unsolved crimes around the world.
The cast in this one is nothing short of stellar. I am pleased to confirm that Thomas Lennon is not only a tremendous comic actor and wonderful writer but he can absolutely hold his own as the lead in a horror film. Lennon comes across as a genuine person, someone who you can instantly relate to and even see yourself in his place. This connection makes his character, and the story happening around him all the more believable and relatable. In addition to Lennon, the main cast with Jenny Pellicer as his girlfriend Ashley, Nelson Franklin as his best friend and boss Markowitz and also Charlyn Yi as Markoitz’s potential love interest Nerissa, really round out a great ensemble that go through some rather serious and quite dangerous events.
Despite Lennon taking the lead, there is no one sole hero in this movie, in fact, every time you think you know who is going to survive and come out on top, Littlest Reich pulls that rug from underneath you. Even down to the final moments of the film, this movie delivers one gut punch after another making you wonder just how much more this cast can take.
Overall, It’s rare for a remake/reboot of any classic and cherished horror to hold a candle to the original version but, after watching this franchise in order I have to say, Littlest Reich doesn’t just hold a candle to the original, it holds a blowtorch up to it and stands back laughing. No, It’s not better, but damn is it every bit as good in just about every way. Puppet Master Littlest Reich is truly a love letter to the franchise that so many of us found on the shelves of our local video store all those years ago. I really do hope that this is not the last we see from this new Puppet Master universe.
Oh…and there is an after credits scene so…be sure to stick around at the end.
OK, where do I get this movie?
Honestly, you just need to grab a copy of this and give it a go. If you like bloody visceral horror, don’t hesitate, just buy it. I got a copy myself here. To me, it’s absolutely worth it. Just have something to watch after in case you are prone to nightmares.
As usual, here’s the trailer.
Late To The Game 10/28/2021
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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