Puppetmaster (1989)

  • R
  • Genre: Fantasy
  • Release year: 1989 (1990-01-11)
  • Running time: 90 min
  • Original Title: Puppetmaster
  • Voted: 8595
Puppetmaster is a movie starring Paul Le Mat, William Hickey, and Irene Miracle. Psychics find themselves plotted against by a former colleague, who committed suicide after discovering animated, murderous puppets.
1Paul Le MatAlex Whitaker
2William HickeyAndre Toulon
3Irene MiracleDana Hadley
4Jimmie F. SkaggsNeil Gallagher
  • 7/6/2006 12:00:00 AM by ccthemovieman-1 7/10

    I thought this would be very low-grade horror and dumb with poorspecial- effects, but I was surprised: it was good.....veryentertaining. It inspired me to see the sequels, too, and they - mostnotably the third one - were good, too.

    It's a little slow to start with, but once the puppets begin theirattack story gets interesting, concluding with a gruesome ending.William Hickey gets decent billing in here but he's only in the filmfor a short time in the beginning. After that, it's just Paul LeMat anda bunch of unknown actors.

    In all, not super but more-than-decent entertainment for anhour-and-a-half.

  • 10/5/2004 12:00:00 AM by rickymartin0065 5/10

    Being a fan of b-flicks and cultmovies, I was aware of this movie'sreputation. So, why not give it a chance? Was I appointed? No, notreally ... but was I excited?! Neither! This movie has an originalstoryline, is shot on a nice location and the special effects are OK(they look sometimes a bit silly, but in movies like this, there's onegolden rule: how sillier, how much more fun!) But, in general, this isa rather slow and boring movie. It has some great (and sick) scenes ...but that doesn't cover up for the rest of the movie. This movieconstantly repeats itself. I really had the feeling that the directorhad problems to fill his 90 minutes. So ... is it a waste of time?! No,you'll have fun with it. Just don't expect too much of this'cultclassic'

    PS: Just like Child's Play, this movie is about dolls and puppets ...but that doesn't mean it's suitable for young children. A wise adviceto all you babysitters out there!

  • 7/10/2006 12:00:00 AM by José Luis Rivera Mendoza (jluis1984) 8/10

    Charles Band and his company, Full Moon Pictures, are often labeled asmakers of the worst b-movies in the history of the horror genre,however, few seem to remember they kept the genre alive and kickingwith their inventive and original brand of low-budget horror during thelate 80s and early 90s. "Puppet Master" was the first and arguably thebest example of Full Moon's 90s style, a style that included a heavyuse of puppetry and stop-motion animation that showed the progressionof an idea that he started in his 1987' production "Dolls" (directed byStuart Gordon).

    During World War II, a secret group of Nazis were sent to Bodega Bay,California, to capture puppet maker Andre Toulon (William Hickey), amysterious old man who had the secret of giving life to inanimateobjects. He commits suicide before being caught and so his secret goeswith him to the grave. Until nearly 50 years later, a group of psychicslead by Alex Whitaker (Paul Le Mat) are contacted by Neil Gallagher(Jimmie F. Skaggs), a former colleague who apparently made a bigdiscovery in Bodega Bay before committing suicide under mysteriouscircumstances.

    Directed by the tragically underrated David Schmoeller, "Puppet Master"is a very different films that its sequels. Schmoeller plays with thesuspense and atmosphere of classic goth films, and successfully mixesthose elements with the more graphic shock and gore that was the rulefor horror films of its time. With a great eye for the visualsSchmoeller makes great use of his Gothic locations and the terrificcamera-work enhances the carefully crafted suspense. The specialeffects wizards create very good looking effects for the budget andtogether create what could be called a "gothic slasher".

    Schmoeller gives life to Band's story and this mix of fantasy andhorror ends up as one of the best screenplays developed at Full Moon.Each puppet has a personality of its own and that is what gives themovie life; the human characters are also very well-defined and for themost part well-acted. Despite the silly premise of a killer toy(already explored in "Child's Play" and "Dolls"), Scmoeller and Bandmake the work and craft set-pieces of haunting atmospheres. RichardBand's eerie score perfectly showcase the mix of horror and fantasy ofthe film and it's probably his most famous work. It quickly became thetrademark of the series.

    As written above, the acting is for the most part good for a movie likethis, and while no one really stands out, they all make an efficientjob. Paul Le Mat is quite good as the lead character, although the restof the team soon prove to be more interesting characters. Despite hislimited screen time, William Hickey makes a small but charming job asToulon, and look out for a Barbara Crampton small cameo. As aside-note, it was refreshing to watch a movie where the main charactersare middle-aged adults instead of young teenagers.

    The movie's main problem (and one that marked the series since itsconception) is that the puppets quickly became the focus of everything.This lessen the importance not only of the final villain, but also ofthe heroes of the movie. While this problem didn't affect that muchthis movie, it became more notorious as the series started to grow andeventually, the puppets would become the main characters of the movies.

    "Puppet Master" may not be everyone's cup of tea, as its premise andthe mix of fantasy with horror may turn off some movie goers. However,it is a quality film that proves the talents of both Band andSchmoeller, in a film that has become a cult-classic. 8/10

  • 4/18/2001 12:00:00 AM by bcameron1

    This is one great horror movie. The special effects are great. The actingisgood. If you have never seen this movie you should run straight to thenearest video store and pick it up. Or just go ahead and buy it!!! The dvdis great. It is about 4 psychics investigating rumors that the secret oflife has been discovered by master puppeteer Andre Toulon. But thepsychicsquickly discover Toulons secret of death in the form of 5 killer puppets.You have to see this movie to believe it. I give it 3 1/2 stars out of4.

  • 3/27/2004 12:00:00 AM by ScarTrek 7/10

    Bad acting, awful hair, horrible plot, cheesy action, hokeycharacters.

    Still reading?Good.My brother picked this movie up for me on DVD, because he knows of my loveof horror movies. My first thoughts as I inserted the disc was that it'd bea cheesy, laughable pile of 80's horror rubbish. So I was in for a pleasantsurprise.If you can get past the initial presentation of the movie (it feels everybit as low-budget as it is), you'll find it to be creepy, intriguing, andabove all, great fun.The puppets themselves could have been a whole lot worse. The effects arehardly Lord Of The Rings, but through a strange combination of live-actionand extremely well-animated stop-motion, the puppets don't make you cringeevery time they show up on screen. They're probably better actors than someof the live actors even, it's difficult to tell who's morewooden.But it's hardly a character-driven story. It's an unusual story nontheless,and it definitely interested me enough to watch it right through - and thenpick up the first sequel!

    If you ever saw the movie Child's Play, with which comparisons areinevitable, you'll know already whether you can suspend your disbeliefenough to enjoy a movie about killer puppets. If you can, and don't mindhorrific 80's haircuts, I'd strongly suggest giving this one a rental, youcould do a lot worse.

1Richard Bandcomposer
2David Schmoellerdirector
3Hope Perelloproducer
4Charles Bandwriter
5Kenneth J. Hallwriter
6J.S. Cardonewriter