Posts Tagged ‘charles band’

There’s something creepy about inanimate objects coming to life, Puppetmaster is no exception. It’s no secret Fullmoon’s 1989 Puppetmaster is one of my guilty pleasures, forget Magic, Child’s Play and Dolls this is the one that sucks me back in, arguably for all the wrong reasons. Let’s put nostalgia aside, some of the performances are hammy, some of the effects are ropy (even for the time) and that’s just touching the surface.
Puppetmaster through all it’s faults has a great premise with charm to match courtesy of director David Schmoeller. Some of the puppet effects to David Allen and Mark Rappaport’s credit are very well executed and Richards Bands accompanying music score is genuinely creepy.
I’ve owned it on most home video mediums (sad I know) and was pretty excited to get on blu-ray. Apparently UK distributor 88 films press has the edge over it’s US release and DVD, nevertheless its not as clean nor sharp as one would have hoped or expected for a Blu-ray transfer but it is worth getting just to see those good puppets turn bad in producer/writer Charles Band’s preferred aspect ratio.
For those who are not familiar with the plot by Kenneth J. Hall and Band the film begins in 1939 with Nazis arriving at the Bodega Bay hotel in search of Andre Toulon (William Hickey) who holds the secret of bring the dead to life. Cut-to the ‘present day’, a group of psychics assemble to pay their last respects to their shady acquaintance Neil Gallagher and his widower, however things go bad when the Toulon’s puppets begin to kill the guests but who is behind the puppets killing spree?

Thankfully Paul Le Mat and Robin Frates straight performances give the film some weight but the killer puppets themselves are the stars of the show each with their own personalities, with names like Blade, Pinhead, Ms Leech Woman and Tunneler you know your in for a good time. Thanks to Sergio Salvati’s cinematography Puppetmaster is has a quirky dreamlike quality that many big budget horror films lack. But the question is, and one more pressing than – what is the meaning of life? The biggest question is what happened to Theresa? Answers on a postcard…

 

Update 31/1/2013: The folks at Full Moon were kind enough to give me an answer: “No scene was cut.” “It’s just left ambiguous.” There’s your official answer.

Crash and Burn (1990)
The year is 2030-something, a remote TV station has been infiltrated by a Synthoid, a Terminator-like robot who is programmed to kill those who oppose the tyrannical Unicom organization.
With B-film execution Crash and Burn steals some concept elements from Class of 1999, The Terminator, Robocop, Blade Runner and The Thing to name a few. Although it’s slow-paced there’s room for a gratuitous shower electrocution scene, shogun action and stop motion animation, anyone familiar with the studio offerings will appreciate the pace and tone. Oddly dubiously marketed as Robot Jox 2 or from the makers of Arena (don’t expect the fights of Arena or Jox) as it contains less than a minute of giant Robot action.
Director Charles Band (this generations Roger Corman) gives a little sci-fi flick that benefits from being filmed on location giving it an almost cinematic feel. The shadowy setting gives it some atmosphere with a dusty desert setting bookending the film and the Synthoid is menacing at times – realised by some surprisingly good practical special make-up effects. Despite borrowing music cues from Richard Band’s other Full Moon film scores the music is effective enough.
Lead Paul Ganus as Keen wields a shotgun well enough but he looks like he’s just walked off a Danielle Steele TV adaptation. Co-star Megan Ward as Arren gives a solid performance considering the sparse script. Supporting cast include Jack McGee and veteran actor Ralph Waite, Eva La Rue gives s physical performance (and like Ward went on to do bigger things). There’s also some genuinely humours lines from Bill Moseley as Quinn who ensures the title of the film is uttered in J.S. Cardone’s dialogue.
Even though Crash and Burn doesn’t pretend to be more than it is the casual viewer may be disappointed. All things considered, even with the future looking suspiciously like the 1980s, right down to the computer hardware, braces and hairdos it’s one of Full Moon’s better outings.

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