Puppet Master 3 marked a turning point for the franchise. So popular had the tiny terrors become that from this entry onwards, they became the “good guys”. But is it still enjoyable when the monsters are the heroes? Well, read on to find out…
Taken from the Full Moon Youtube channel:
When good puppets go bad…
After hearing that Andre Toulon’s puppets have no strings but rather seem to have a life of their own, Dr. Hess, a Gestapo henchman during World War II, sends the Gestapo to the theater to kidnap them. During the melee, Toulon’s wife ELSA is killed and Toulon is whisked away by the Nazis. However, on the way to headquarters the puppets attack the Gestapo and escape with Toulon.
Now Toulon begins to plan his revenge. He creates a new puppet, Six Shooter, models Blade after a pasty-faced Nazi and uses Elsa’s essence to create Leech Woman, Now Toulon’s army is ready to get even and take revenge.
Timeline wise, this film is a prequel to the first 2 installments. It also retcons Toulon into a more benevolent, benign role. This of course makes what happens in parts 1 & 2 seem like they don’t fit the arc properly. However, we can forgive this, as the retconning makes for a more pliable franchise overall.
As has already been stated, this film marks a shift in overall tone for the franchise. Toulon is presented as a “hero” from this point, using his puppets to punish the evildoers. This stands in contrast to the Toulon of the first 2 films. However, the puppets had fast become horror “stars” in their own right, and the tonal shift help to further grow their fanbase.
As a film, this is generally a well made entry in the franchise. Like the first 2, it is well shot, with some lovely art direction at times. The WW2 period costumes actually add an air of increased budget, despite the film only costing $800,000 to make.
The puppets are once again the standout effects here. The combination of rod puppets and stop motion animation really brings the puppets to life. Each puppets character is fully realised through their movements, and this helps keep the audience engaged.
Yes the “fighting the evil Nazis” plot is a bit hackneyed, but who doesn’t like to see Nazis getting killed in all manner of creative ways? I know I certainly do!
For me, Puppet Master 3 is a great way to advance the franchise without sacrificing what made it popular in the first place.
88Films have once again put together a lovely package here. The disc features the following extras:
- RESTORED TRANSFER FROM HD MASTER IN 1.85:1 WIDESCREEN
- NEW DD5.1 SOUNDTRACK
- ORIGINAL DD2.0 STERO SOUNDTRACK
- SPECIAL INTRO BY CHARLES BAND
- AUDIO COMMENTARY BY DAVID DECOTEAU & C. COURTNEY JOYNER
- ORIGINAL FULL LENGTH VIDEOZONE
- KILLER PUPPET MASTER MONTAGE
- RARE 1997 PUPPETMASTER ACTION FIGURE COMMERCIAL
- HD TRAILER
- FULL MOON TRAILER PARK
- REVERSIBLE SLEEVE INCORPORATING ORIGINAL ARTWORK & GRAHAM HUMPHREYS ARTWORK
- COLLECTORS BOOKLET
Picture quality is superb. The fact that Full Moon chose to keep shooting on 35mm, even when aiming for the direct to video market has paid off in the long run. The film is crisp, colourful, and has a depth to its image that many of it’s contemporaries would die for. Audio isn’t quite as good, but given the source, it is more than good enough.
Puppet Master 3: The Verdict.
Sim ply put, this is probably the best acted and filmed entry in the franchise. The retcon work revitalises the story, and keeps the franchise fresh.
5/5 Fiends. Essential viewing.
Buy Puppet Master 3: Amazon.co.uk
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