Puppet Master

Tag line : The Legacy Begins!

Retro Puppet Master (Part 7)If you've been following the series thus far, you may remember that part 3 was a prequel film. Well just when you thought the series couldn't get any more muddled up continuity wise, the film makers decided to make this 7th film into another prequel, set even further back in the past, to fill in some more of the backstory.

The start of the film takes place just after the events of part 3, showing Puppet Master Andre Toulon (Guy Rolfe reprising his role) heading out of Nazi Germany. Hiding out inside a disused hotel near the Swiss border, he proceeds to recount the tale to his puppets as to how he discovered the ancient magic spells that brought his earlier puppets to life.

The film then flashes back to France at the turn if the 20th century, where a young Andre Toulon (Greg Sestero), who runs a magic show in Paris, befriends an Egyptian man named Afzel (Jack Donner). Having taken him in, he discovers that Afzel is actually some ancient sorcerer, and he decides to repay Andre's kindness by showing him how to animate his puppets by magic.

Unfortunately, Afzel stole these magic secrets from the Egytian god Sutekh, and he is not best pleased about this. Having raised some rather sinister characters to go after him, they end up not only killing Afzel, but all the people involved in young Andre's puppet theatre, as well as kidnapping his new girlfriend  Ilsa (Brigitta Dau)

Fortunately, as Andre now possesses Afzel's secrets, he animates his puppets and sends them after them, culminating in a rather amusing end battle, as these crude wooden puppets try to take down these 3 undead mummies/zombies whilst they're on board a steam train.

If you've missed parts 4-6 you might be wondering what has been going on in the other films, with the intro to this 7th film, picking up just after part 3 (although its now apparently 1944, which I think must be a mistake as part 3 was set in 1941). But if you can skip over the discontinuity and dodgy French accents this, like the other films, is still a pretty entertaining movie.

I thought the older, much cruder versions of Blade, Pinhead, Six Shooter and Tunneller (called Drill Sergeant here), looked cool, along with the other original puppets, like Dr Death and Cyclops and there's a hilariously corny scene where Sutekh brings these 3 mummies back to life, which looked more like extras from an Abbot and Costello film than something from a Boris Karloff feature.

Only really negative thing I would say is that this story seems to go against the already established back story mentioned in part 2, in which a much older Toulon was given a secret formula by an Egyptian guy whilst visiting Cairo, unless I missed something (soddit, gonna have to go back and watch the earlier films again now). Anyway, its all good fun.

Overall marks : 6/10.

Terrifying Trivia.

  • Guy Rolfe's final appearance as Andre Toulon (except for flashback footage in later films) as the actor sadly died in 2003.

  • David DeCoteau also directed "Puppet Master 3 : Toulon's Revenge", "Curse of the Puppet Master" and went on to direct the 9th film "Puppet Master : Axis of Evil".

  • Set in France, the film was actually shot in Romania.

  • Filmed back to back with the film "Witchouse", which was another Charles Band production directed by David DeCoteau.

  • The scenes in the deserted hotel were filmed in a movie studio in the middle of winter which wasn't heated. If you look closely, you can actually see Guy Rolfe's breath, which wasn't a special effect, it actually was that cold.

  • Only film in the series not to use Charles Band's music.

  • The original idea for the film was to have the entire story taking place right after part 3, with Toulon fleeing Nazi Germany on a train and battling German soldiers and various demons along the way. But this idea was rejected as they felt the film would not be received well in Germany. However, some of the scenes on the train were re-written for the end scenes in this.

  • First film in the series to have been given a PG13 rating by the US ratings boards. All previous films had been rated "R" (meaning under 18s could see them if accompanied by an adult).

  • Much of the train footage was actually filmed for the previous movie, which was supposed to have been first in a trilogy of Puppet Wars films, but the project fell through at the last moment.

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