Sunday, May 23, 2010

Puppet Master II - 1.5/5

With Puppet Master being a huge video success it was only going to be a short matter of time until our little string-less marionettes carved they're way back on to the screen. Sadly director David Schmoeller was not invited back so the directing was left up to stop motion extraordinaire David Allen. Can he also tackle the job as director? Well from my rating he obviously couldn't.

Our film opens with our puppets resurrecting their old master Andre Toulon, who was shown blowing his brains out at the beginning of the first film. This extremely cheesy resurrection sequence has our puppets dump a container into his grave that is full of that green "puppet re-agent" (a nod to Re-animator maybe?) which also has the unique power of resurrecting decades dead corpses! I swear to God that this shit has to be the same shit Herbert West invented in Re-Animator. In comes in a new group of psychics to study the weird happenings at Bodega Bay Inn and of course they run into our wooden little friends being ordered by their old master, all bandaged up looking like the invisible man.

This sequel adds really nothing to the franchise other than a nifty flashback sequence showing how Toulon obtained the secrets of reanimating objects from some Egyptians. Other than that it's just another film whose purpose is to show how many people our puppets can kill. The filmmakers did add another cool looking puppet, this one named Torch. Torch looks like a mean motherfucker with his army helmet, glowing red eyes, bullet teeth, and flamethrower arm. The kid in me thought this new puppet was bad ass. Other than that director David Allan seems to be in charge of a train that is going off the tracks as he can't direct actors to save his soul and also gives the film a very flat look. His stop motion puppet effects are again amazing and proves he should stick to effects and stay out of the directing chair. The thing that really bugs me about this sequel is Andre Toulon, whose character here seems like a real nasty, devious bastard. Toulon in the original seemed like a harmless old man and in sequels to come he also seems like a caring old man. Why make him a villain here?

It seems like I'm not the only one who finds this sequel to be the weaker of classic era of puppet master (1989-1995) as many sequels that follow ignore many of the events, including the ridiculous ending of this film. Die hard fans of the franchise will enjoy seeing our puppets on the kill again but unlike the puppets, this sequel is rather lifeless.

Bonus Rant: I'm sorry but I have to bitch about the DVD transfer which is just awful. The transfer is even worse than VHS versions I have seen! I kid you not as I have compared it to VHS a friend of mine has and the VHS has brighter, more vibrant colors. The DVD also annoys me as the last ten minutes of the film gets an extremely annoying wavy effect. It's a shame that Full Moon doesn't take more care into putting decent transfers of their films on DVD.

Written By Eric Reifschneider

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