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October 28, 2010

Movie Review: The Midnight Horror Collection - Puppet Master

For the past 35 years, producer, director and writer, Charles Band, has etched his way gradually into B-movie history. The Puppet Master series, - by itself - has given Band a consistent franchise, spawning similar films aimed at Band's audience (Dollman, Demonic Toys ,Gingerdead Man, Shrunken Heads). It still all leads back to the 1989 classic, Puppet Master. After recently releasing a Blu-Ray for the original film, in addition to a new Puppet Master film titled, Puppet Master: Axis Of Evil - Full Moon, in conjunction with Echo Bridge Entertainment are releasing some of the older - more popular - catalog titles. The first of which being, The Midnight Horror Collection: Puppet Master – soon to be issued in a convenient budget pack.


If you’re not already initiated with the Puppet Master story, it involves the plight of Andre Toulon (William Hickey) and his very loyal but deadly puppets. In the first film, Andre decides to put a bullet in his brain while confined in his hotel room by the sea - after discovering he's being stalked by some gentleman in trench coats. This doesn't go very well with his puppets. It makes them pretty angry actually. Now anyone entering the hotel - including a band of quirky psychics - has Andre Toulon's blood on their hands, in the eyes of the puppets.
The second film has the puppets actually going to the trouble of digging up Toulon's corpse( now played by a decaying, Steve Welles) and re-animating him with a mysterious life-giving fluid. This just adds to the mayhem. Now you have Toulon back, creating more puppets to carry on his sinister deeds. The newest puppet to join the crew. is Torch. You can probably guess what his talents are. Oh, and we also can’t overlook the cameo of one George “Buck” Flower, who only brings more validation to these genre films. The third film is a prequel that shows Andre in his humble beginnings, creating killer puppets in Germany during World War Two. Cinema Head Cheese favorite, Richard Lynch, plays the evil puppeteer hunting Nazi, Major Krauss. He's determined to kill Toulon , take his rejuvenation serum, and wipe out all the puppets in Europe.

Echo Bridge's release of The Puppet Master Trilogy, is essentially a "bargain DVD"- that your more than likely going to see popping up in Wal-marts and other big chains. Does this particular bargain DVD have good quality picture and sound? The disc is a flipper - containing Puppet Master I and II on side one and Puppet Master III on Side two. I was pretty surprised with the picture quality on Puppet Master,it's very clean and colorful,though,there is a noticeable jitter in the opening sequence. With that said, it's much better than I had anticipated. Puppet Master II, doesn't fair quite as well. It appears to be from an older tape master. The sound is a bit fuzzy (though still audible)and the picture quality is quite poor. Puppetmaster III has a pretty solid presentation, similar to that of part one, though it's minus the jitter. It easily has the best overall audio and sound of the three films on this pack. All three films on The Midnight Horror: Puppet Master collection are full-frame.

These are not the perfect representations of the films, but for the price it may be a solid buy for those new to the franchise.

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