Posts Tagged ‘fullmoon’

UK film distributor 88 films once again thankfully deliver a guilty pleasure of mine on the latest film medium. While an improvement on the transfer of the first and falling slightly short of third probably due to the source material, coming with another collectible booklet and an array of vintage extra and some new surprises it’s a must for puppet master fans.
The puppets return, this time they hunt down some locals and paranormal researchers to assist their master in his evil plan.
Charles Band’s story and David Pabian’s screenplay is almost a remake of the first film. Effects wizard David Allen in the directing chair exceeds the 1st certainly in terms of effects and atmosphere.
While this installment reduces Andre Toulon / Eriquee Chaneé to a walking nod to the Invisible Man and other Universal classic characters, in contrast to how he is presented in the later adventures, it is by far the creepiest of the bunch. Steve Welles performance is wonderfully over the top and steals every scene.
Veteran Nita Talbot is on fine form and the remaining cast are a mixed blessing, Charlie Spradling and Elizabeth Maclellan give solid performances while here at least Collin Bernsen and Jeff Celentano are as mechanical as Tunneler’s innards.
Despite it’s editing and story flaws Allen gives us a darker faster paced and eerier film than it’s predecessor. The flashbacks are welcome and the paranormal investigation angle, while not totally original, gives the proceeds some weight and intrigue. Notably Blade running and jumping from a bed to slice his victim is probably one of best low budget horror moments to date. There are many stand out moments in part 2, Leech Woman’s demise, Torches encounter with a toy whipping boy and the unworldly human puppets reminiscent of the aliens in Carpenter’s (1988)They Live to name a few.
As with all the films in the Puppet Master series they always leave you with one burning question, in the case of two: Why didn’t Julianne Mazziotti/Nita Talbot’s Camille get her own sequel with your favorite little puppets?
Update 28/1/2013: The folks at Full Moon were kind enough to give me an answer: “Many story points in Puppet Master II were influenced by Paramount, not us. That’s why we rebooted the series with PM III.” There’s your official answer.
Some prequels have budgets big enough to buy a small country yet fail to satisfy even the most causal viewer. The third installment of the PuppetMaster series was made in the wake of the 1980’s video boom, in a time when direct-to-video productions were still being shot on in film.

With the recent release of the 1989 original on blu-ray and even though a cult classic the presentation was only a semi-adequate transfer.

However, stop the press, after owning a 1991 VHS and a dubious German DVD version UK distributor 88 Film’s have outdone themselves with this latest blu-ray release. Coming with a collectible booklet I’m happy to say PuppetMaster III exceeds expectations in terms of picture quality (given the budget of the film and the 22 year passage of time), and blu-ray extras.
PuppetMaster 3’s glaring narrative, production faults aside (for which there are countless pages on the net) and budget restrictions, this prequel gives an intriguing insight how those little killer puppets came to be. Set in Berlin 1941, evil Nazi’s want Toulon’s secret formula which animates his puppets to re-animate the Führer’s soldiers and make an unstoppable army for the Aryan race.
The puppets get a run for their money in the acting department this time around. Gestapo officer, Major Krauss played excellently by Richard Lynch steals the show along with James Bond recurring actor Walter Gotell as General Mueller. Both Guy Rolfe as Andre Toulon (previously played by William Hickey) and Sarah Douglas (Superman 1 and 2) as Elsa Toulon bring some emotion to the film.
Naturally there’s Richard Band’s music and thanks to director David DeCoteau and the effects team it’s a blast to see the creation of both Blade and Leech Woman. In addition, Jester gets a fair amount of screen-time.
In a film with reanimated dead soldiers and Nazi’s versus psychotic puppets, you should already know what you’re in for.
Without selling the surprisingly good cast ensemble short it’s a low budget affair but what a recommended  guilty pleasure of entertainment it is. Thank the PuppetMaster for 88 Films!
Where as the first film had the burning question of – What happened to Theresa? The burning question with three is – if Toulon shot himself in 1939 what is he doing alive and well in 1941? Answers on a postcard…
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.

Not my best post I admit, but I love some of FullMoon’s films so I thought I’d indulge in some of there lesser known nuggets…
Oblivion  (1994)
Set in the year 3031 on a frontier planet light years away from Earth, a bizarre gang of desperadoes set on turning the tumbleweed town of Oblivion into their own private haven.
Made nearly 20 years before the pretentious Cowboys and Aliens Oblivion is an obscure FullMoon nugget.

Although the costumes and sets appear cheap they’re fitting enough in this outlandish western futuristic alien tale. Despite the offbeat humour and pacing director Sam Irvin gives us forcefields, cyborgs, fistfights, spaceships, guns, gadgets and giant Harryhausen- like scorpions. Oblivion is an 90s film with and 1980’s b-feel and 70s stock soundtrack heart.

The ‘Biff Tannen’ villain Redeye played by Andrew Divoff makeup is effective. There’s an odd mix pop-culture cast including Batman’s Julie Newmar, Star Treks George Takei, singing legend Isaac Hayes, Master of the Universe and They Live’s Meg Foster to name a few. There’s also a leather-clad whip sporting Musetta Vander who looks particularly fetching.

If you like B-films and enjoy the unlikely list of genre crossovers Oblivion is the closest you’ll get to a live action BraveStarr.
Oblivion 2 – Backlash (1996 release)
The wild desert planet of Oblivion, bounty hunter Sweeny is search for a saboteur and all hell breaks out in town when the mark strikes a deal to control the mining of Derconium.
Backlash, is padded with a lengthy title sequence and a seven-minute round up of the FullMoon original Oblivion but still crams in plenty of what looks like made for TV action, as the Lash (Musetta Vander) joins with Jaggar (again Andrew Divoff) evil twin of reptilian Redeye.
There’s a barrage of flimsy in-jokes (Star Trek’s George Takei flashing the Vulcan greeting) Meg Foster, Julie Newmar, Isaac Hayes and the rest of the original cast return (as the films were conveniently shot back to back). There’s a new addition Maxwell Caulfield as Sweeney but like its predecessor Vander steals the show.
Director Sam Irvin delivers more campy Western, Science Fiction fun but you have to be a lover of B-films to enjoy.