Saturday, May 29, 2010
Puppet Master 4 - 2/5
Like the end credits to Puppet Master III promised, this time the puppets are good guys. Whoa, don't give up yet, it's not all bad trust me! The film opens with a group of 3 people going to visit a friend at the Bodega Bay Inn where they're insanely smart friend is working on some high tech robotics project for a major company. In the mean time colleagues of his are getting sent packages that contain little demon minions, which look like melted gremlins with metal masks, who slice then up. In the mean time our smart young hero discovers our puppet trunk hidden and tinkering around with Andre Toulon's notes, he figures out how to re-animate our trademark puppets. Continuity errors aside compared to the previous entries, a package containing a minion then arrives on their doorstep and it's a battle to the death between the demons and the puppets.
Right off the bat this film LOOKS a hell-of-a-lot better than the previous sequels. You can tell Full Moon put a lot of effort into it. Hiring director Jeff Burr was a great idea despite his sketchy track record in the past for directing mediocre to hum-drum sequels (Pumpkinhead II, Texas Chainsaw Massacre III, Stepfather 2). Despite his track record you can tell this guy has had experience directing for the big boys and he brought that experience to down to Full Moon and the film looks beautiful as a result. The editing, cinematography, lighting and overall production values are all far better than the usual Full Moon fodder. Fans will also love that Full Moon yet again adds another new puppet, this time in the form of Decapitron. Decapitron? Really? Could we have come up with a cheesier name? Decapitron has interchangeable heads, one of which has a power electro ball and another metal looking one that, get this, morphs into a tiny little head of Andre Toulon (again played by Guy Rolfe) to give our little brainy hero advice. What? I can accept a lot but that us ULTRA cheesy! Stop motion extraordinaire David Allan also has his work cut out for him here and he goes all out giving us great stop motion effects which include some pretty intricate battles.
The aspect of this film that keeps me from liking it just as much as Puppet Master III, despite being a better made film on a technical level, are the sequences which feature the ruler of the demon minions. This guy is the demon lord Sutekh from another dimension and he uses his "priests" to animate the killer melted gremlin creatures (called Totems) in order to get revenge on people using his reanimating power that Toulon stole from him. These sequences are poorly shot complete with shitty effects, going against the nice, polished look of the rest of the film. The Demon Lord Suteckh reminds me more of a villain from Power Rangers than a horror franchise. These sequences from the netherworld dimension just made me cringe every time the appeared and almost ruined the film for me. I also have to mention the continuity errors compared to the previous films. Puppet Master III was a prequel so this is direct follow-up to Puppet Master II and trust me there are so many continuity errors it will make you burst a blood vessel. Why was Andre Toulon a villain in that film yet now he is a caring old man (like in Puppet Master III). What about the ending to Puppet Master II? And where the hell is Torch! That puppet was bad ass and I really wanted to see him again. Grr....
Overall this is an entertaining B-movie sequel in a B-movie franchise. The film looks better than all of the other sequels due to Full Moon actually getting a director with talent. The cliché characters and awful netherworld dimension elements are almost counterbalanced by creative effects and a sense of fun supplied by the filmmakers. Other than the fact our puppets are "good", fans of the franchise will have a great time.
Written By Eric Reifschneider