Full Moon Features has been a bit slow to the punch in releasing their classic catalog titles on Blu-ray with only Puppet Master I and Subspecies getting releases. Testing the waters is possibly the reason like some genre companies. Well, the time has come and we will finally be seeing Full Moon classics hitting High-Definition on a regular basis. Here’s a look at Puppet Master II and Puppet Master III: Toulon's Revenge on Blu-ray.
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.
Puppet Master II 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 and another group of folks ready to bite it at the hands of Andre’s mini army. 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, Puppet Master III: Toulon’s Revenge is an impressive prequel that shows Andre (Guy Rolfe) in his humble beginnings, creating killer puppets in Germany during World War Two. Cinema Head Cheese favorite, the late 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. Kraus really pisses off Toulon after gunning his wife down in cold blood. This gives Toulon a major reason to prepare his puppets for “revenge” on Krauss and his henchman.
Puppet Master III has beautiful sets, fun performances and new dolls to add to the mix making it, in my opinion, the best Puppet Master next to the original.
The extras for both releases are great and really take these releases above just the bare-bones or minimal disappointments. We get an original Video zone extended for each feature. These look much better compared to all previous Videozones. Charles Band has an introduction for the features as well that will make many Full Moon fans excited. They’ll be putting out Blu-rays of their classics – Trancers, Castle Freak (Uncut, please!!) the rest of the Puppet Master films and much more.
The commentary on Puppet Master II has Charles Band going just fine solo. There are plenty of stories about the evolution of the series and how the Paramount years really helped bring the company to the forefront. Puppet Master III has director David DeCoteau and writer Courtney Joyner bringing forth a very entertaining track. These guys just roll from story to story about the MPAA, working with Band and the difficulty they had with Richard Lynch on set. Not too much cotton candy stuff here, it seems to be honest and is above all a fun listen. Theatrical trailers and promos round out both Blu-ray supplements.
Puppet Master II and III are quite impressive visually. Steps have obviously been taken to improve the releases and it’s sure noticeable. Puppet Master III fares the best with its sharp color-correction. Each look and sound better than Full Moon’s previously released, Puppet Master and Subspecies.
Can’t say enough here, these are a Puppet Master Fiends wet dream come true. Looking forward to the rest of the classics Full Moon has on deck for the future. Highly Recommended.