Puppet Master (franchise)

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The Puppet Master Franchise
PuppetMaster.jpg
R1 DVD Box set containing the first seven installments.
Directed by Charles Band
David W. Allen
David DeCoteau
Jeff Burr
David Schmoeller
Ted Nicolaou
Produced by Charles Band
Hope Perello
Keith S. Payson
Gordon Gustafson
Kirk Edward Hansen
Vlad Paunescu
Dana Scanlan
Mona C. Vasiloiu
Kurt Iswarienko
Matt Wolpert
Alan Bursteen
Cary Glieberman
Written by Charles Band
Kenneth J. Hall
David Pabian
C. Courtney Joyner
David Schmoeller
Douglas Aarniokoski
Steven E. Carr
Jo Duffy
Todd Henschell
Benjamin Carr
David S. Goyer
Ted Nicolaou
Music by Richard Band
Jeffrey Walton
John Massari
Peter Bernstein
Distributed by Full Moon Features
Release date
1989–present
Running time
770 minutes (combined total)
Country United States
Language English
Budget $4,230,000+ (combined total)

Puppet Master is an American horror film franchise which focuses on a group of anthropomorphic puppets animated by an Egyptian spell, each equipped with its own unique and dangerous device (although not in all installments of the series are the puppets portrayed as threatening) and are represented as heroes, anti-heroes, and antagonists. Produced by Full Moon Features, the series was established in 1989 with the eponymous first installment, which has since been followed by ten sequels, a non-canon crossover with the characters of Demonic Toys, two comic book mini-series, an ongoing comic book series, and numerous other collector's items.

Development[edit]

After the collapse of his film studio, Empire Pictures, Charles Band relocated to the United States and opened Full Moon Productions. Band's goal with Full Moon was to create low budget horror, science fiction and fantasy films which mirrored the quality of films with more generous budgets. After partnering with Paramount Pictures and Pioneer Home Entertainment, Full Moon began production on its first feature film, Puppet Master, which had a premise similar to an earlier Empire film produced by Band, Dolls. Originally intended for theatrical release in summer 1989, before being released on home video the following September, Puppet Master was ultimately pushed to a direct-to-video release on October 12, 1989, as Band felt he was likely to make more money this way than he would in the theatrical market.

Puppet Wars trilogy promotional poster artwork

Puppet Master proved to be a success, and the film's cult status has led to the production of nine sequels, as well as a non-canon crossover with another Full Moon franchise, Demonic Toys.[1] A documentary containing interviews with cast and crew members was also shot and included on VHS and Laserdisc pressings of Puppet Master, as a featurette titled No Strings Attached.

1991 saw the release of two sequels, Puppet Master II and Puppet Master III: Toulon's Revenge; the latter which served as a series prequel. Toulon's Revenge was the first installment to feature Guy Rolfe in the role of puppeteer Andre Toulon (in the films prior, Toulon was portrayed by renowned actor William Hickey and Steve Welles, respectively). Rolfe reprised the role of Toulon for three additional films before his death in 2003, after which he posthumously appeared in Puppet Master: The Legacy through extensive use of archival footage. In 1993 Full Moon began shooting another two sequels simultaneously, Puppet Master 4 and Puppet Master 5: The Final Chapter, the latter which, as the title indicates, was intended to be the final installment of the series.

After the release of The Final Chapter in September 1994, Full Moon opted to retire Puppet Master and announced that a spin-off trilogy titled "Puppet Wars" was to be started in 1995.[2] The spin-off trilogy was cancelled leaving the series to continue its legacy through merchandising and a growing cult following.

Due to demand from video retailers and fans for a new installment of the series, four years after its retirement the Puppet Master franchise was revived by the production of a sixth entry, Curse of the Puppet Master, in 1998. This was the first installment not to have David W. Allen involved with special effects. As by this time Paramount had ended its deal with Full Moon, to conserve costs the film was put together using a combination of rod and string puppets, as well as archival footage. In September of the following year, a Puppet Master spin-off featuring the Totems of the fourth installment was released, titled Totem, and that October, a second prequel (taking place at an even earlier time than Toulon's Revenge) was released, titled Retro Puppet Master. This entry was an anomaly to the series, in that the main theme composed by Richard Band, brother of Full Moon's Charles Band, was completely absent, and it with its PG-13 rating, Retro Puppet Master was the first film in the series not to be rated R by the Motion Picture Association of America. The original idea for the seventh installment of the series was to take place following Toulon's Revenge, with Toulon and his puppets escaping Germany by train, after which they are confronted by Nazis and demons. This idea was abandoned because the Kushner Locke Company thought it would offend the German audience, but it formed the basis for the ninth installment of the series, Puppet Master: Axis of Evil. On June 12, 2009, Band announced that he would post video updates of Axis of Evil on Full Moon's website. Four days later on June 16, the first update was made available, verifying the film's roster of puppets to be included, as well as the principal cast members, Levi Fiehler and Jerry Hoffman. In 2010, Axis Of Evil was released on DVD, Blu-ray, and streaming sites.

As of 1999, Retro Puppet Master is the latest original, feature-length Puppet Master film produced by Full Moon. An eighth entry, Puppet Master: The Legacy, was released in 2004, however only a fraction of the film contains original footage; the remainder is archival footage used to summarize the series thus far. The same year, a crossover film featuring the animated playthings of Full Moon's Puppet Master and Demonic Toys series aired on Sci Fi Channel, although it did not take place in the same continuity as either of those franchises.[1]

In 2005, Charles Band alluded to a possible Puppet Master television series, called Puppet Wars (see left for promotional artwork), and expressed interest in seeing a video game adaptation of the franchise developed.[3] In June 2008, Band announced that a ninth installment of the series is planned, tentatively subtitled Axis of Evil.[4] In March 2009, it was reported that Band is also interested in remaking 1989's Puppet Master in 3-D.[5] Similarly, the original film was reissued by Razor Digital in 2007 in DualDisc format, featuring both standard and stereoscopic versions. In 2012 Fullmoon released the tenth installment titled Puppet Master X: Axis Rising which continued the story and events from the previous film. In 2017, Full Moon announced that Puppet Master: Axis Termination would debut exclusively on Full Moon Streaming in three parts starting in September 2017.

Films[edit]

Film Director Writer(s) Producer(s)
Puppet Master (1989) David Schmoeller Kenneth J. Hall & David Schmoeller (as Joseph G. Collodi) Hope Perello & Charles Band
Puppet Master II: His Unholy Creation (1991) Dave Allen David Pabian Charles Band
Puppet Master III: Toulon's Revenge (1991) David DeCoteau C. Courtney Joyner Charles Band
Puppet Master 4: The Demon (1993) Jeff Burr Steven E. Carr, Todd Henschell, Keith S. Payson, Jo Duffy, & Douglas Aarniokoski Charles Band
Puppet Master 5: The Final Chapter (1994) Jeff Burr Steven E. Carr, Todd Henschell, Keith S. Payson, Jo Duffy, & Douglas Aarniokoski Charles Band
Curse of the Puppet Master (1998) David DeCoteau Benjamin Carr Charles Band, Gordon Gustafson & Kirk Edward Hansen
Retro Puppet Master (1999) David DeCoteau Benjamin Carr Charles Band, Vlad Paunescu & Kirk Edward Hansen
Puppet Master: The Legacy (2003) Charles Band C. Courtney Joyner (as Gene Yarbrough) Charles Band
Puppet Master vs Demonic Toys (2004) Ted Nicolaou C. Courtney Joyner Alan Bursteen & Cary Glieberman
Puppet Master: Axis of Evil (2010) David DeCoteau August White Charles Band
Puppet Master X: Axis Rising (2012) Charles Band Shane Bitterling Charles Band
Puppet Master: Axis Termination (2017) Charles Band Roger Barron Charles Band
Puppet Master: The Littlest Reich (2018)[6] Sonny Laguna & Tommy Wiklund S. Craig Zahler Lorenzo di Bonaventura, Mark Vahradian, Dallas Sonnier, Jack Heller & Charles Band

Storyline chronology[edit]

The Puppet Master series contains few continuity errors as more sequel films continued to be released within the series. One major continuity error is the year of André Toulon’s demise; the original film states that Toulon committed suicide in 1939 at the Bodega Bay Inn in Bodega Bay, California, while Puppet Master III: Toulon's Revenge takes place in 1941, and he is still very much alive. The series does attempt to fix the continuity errors within the series with the release of Puppet Master: The Legacy in 2003. However, Puppet Master: Axis of Evil, released in 2010, continues to use the same footage of André Toulon committing suicide at the Bodega Bay Inn in Bodega Bay, California (as illustrated in the original Puppet Master) without altering the year of the setting.

The series also bridges the narrative gap between two or more of the feature films in the series by using a prologue and epilogue from Retro Puppet Master as well as a flashback scene from Puppet Master: His Unholy Creation.

Below is a table of all films in chronological order including the prologue/epilogue from Retro Puppet Master and the flashback scene from Puppet Master: His Unholy Creation. Note: numbers are removed from the film titles in order to prevent confusion. For instance, "Puppet Master 2: His Unholy Creation" will be retitled as "Puppet Master: His Unholy Creation."

Puppet Master films in Chronological order
Timeline order Title Setting (Year) Setting (Location)
1
Retro Puppet Master 1902 Paris, France
Flashback scene
Puppet Master: His Unholy Creation 1920 Cairo, Egypt
2
Puppet Master: Toulon's Revenge 1941 Berlin, Germany
Prologue and epilogue scenes
Retro Puppet Master 1944 5 miles from Swiss boarder
3
Puppet Master: Axis of Evil 1939 Bodega Bay, California
4
Puppet Master X: Axis Rising 1939 Bodega Bay, California
5
Puppet Master: Axis Termination (In-Production) 1939 Bodega Bay, California
6
Puppet Master 1989 Bodega Bay, California
7
Curse of the Puppet Master 1990 Lovejoy, California
8
Puppet Master II: His Unholy Creation 1991 Bodega Bay, California
9
Puppet Master IV: The Demon 1994 Bodega Bay, California
10
Puppet Master 5: The Final Chapter 1994 Bodega Bay, California
11
Puppet Master: The Legacy (2003) 2003 Bodega Bay, California
Non-canon film
Puppet Master vs Demonic Toys (2004) 2004 California
Reboot film to the franchise
Puppet Master: The Littlest Reich (In-Production) Timeline is Rebooted Oregon

Below is the plot of the films in chronological order.

Retro Puppet Master[edit]

In 1902, an unconventionally immortal Egyptian named Afzel steals the secret of life from the god Sutekh. Sutekh sends several followers after Afzel, but none are successful in killing him and returning the spell, although in Paris, Afzel is severely wounded and is sheltered by André Toulon. Afzel teaches Toulon Sutekh's spell, telling him when gods like Sutekh rise up one day, the secret of life will be the only thing to protect humanity. Toulon uses the secret to animate one of his puppets, Pinhead. Comfortable that the spell has been passed on, Afzel commits suicide in front of Sutekh's henchmen, making them believe Afzel has taken the magic to his grave. However, when Toulon uses the spell to animate a handful of other puppets, Cyclops, Drill Sergeant, Six Shooter, Blade and Doctor Death, Sutekh's henchmen return to Paris to slay the Puppet Master. While the puppets are successful in besting Sutekh's forces, two of them are resurrected to pursue Toulon. Toulon confronts the demons on a train where they have kidnapped and are keeping his love interest, Elsa, and a battle ensues, with Toulon and his puppets successful in defeating their pursuers and rescuing Elsa.

A flashback scene from Puppet Master: His Unholy Creation (1991) takes place ten years later; Toulon and Elsa – now married - move their puppetry to Cairo and display a new puppet named “Mephisto”. Within the audience is a magician who recruits Toulon by secretly setting his theater ablaze and later appears as savor to the puppeteer and his wife. The magician reveals his own animated puppet (a chained Egyptian goblin puppet named “Homunculus”) and how he uses elixir formula to bring his puppets to life. (This event is first revealed in a flashback from "Puppet Master: His Unholy Creation" and later reinstated with archived footage in "Puppet Master: The Legacy" the integration of both "origins" for Toulon's powers over his puppets suggests that he, for reasons unaddressed, could no longer animate them now, and acquired a new, more sinister, method, after he and Elsa fell under the hypnotic influence of this mysterious sorcerer).

Puppet Master III: Toulon's Revenge[edit]

To reline the timeline, one would argue that this film takes place in 1941 because the Eastern Front conducted operation in summer of 1941, which would push Toulon’s death back to 1945. In a small theater downtown of World War II Berlin , a mid-age André and Elsa Toulon set up a politically satirical puppet show for children, starring a six-armed American Old West puppet named Six Shooter, who attacks an inanimate reconstruction puppet of Adolf Hitler. There, they are soon discovered by a scientist named Dr. Hess who is forced by the Nazis, especially his Gestapo liaison Major Kraus, to create a drug capable of animating corpses to use as living shields on the battlefield after losing too many on the Eastern Front. The following day, Kraus, Hess, and squad of Nazi soldiers kill Elsa when she refuses to hand over the puppets and places André under arrest for treason and insulting of the Führer. Toulon soon escapes with the assistance of Pinhead and Tunnler.

Toulon returns to his theater and finds that the stage has been burnt by the Nazis; luckily he finds Six Shooter and Jester within the rumble and then discovers a partially destroyed hospital that he decides to set up camp in. There he decides to seek revenge and places his wife’s life essence into a doll that resembles her (Leech Woman). With the use of his puppets, Toulon hunts down the soldiers that are responsible for his wife’s death and befriends two refugees: a boy named Peter Hertz and his father. After Six shooter loses an arm while assassinating General Müller, the supervisor of the Nazi reanimation project, Peter volunteers to go to Toulon’s old atelier and look for a replacement arm, but, is soon caught by Dr. Hess, who asks the boy to take him to Toulon which Peter agrees to. As a result, Dr. Hess and Toulon become friends; however, their friendship is soon cut short when Kraus and his soldiers storm the ruins. It is revealed that Peter’s father betrays Toulon by reporting Major Kraus about his hideout in exchange for a pardon for his family. As a result, Dr. Hess and Mr. Hertz are killed; Toulon and Peter escape with the help of the puppets. That night, Major Kraus returns to his office, only to fall prey to an ambush by Toulon and his puppets, now joined by Blade, infused with Hess' essence. Toulon takes terrible revenge on Kraus by hanging him from the ceiling by his limbs and neck, which are impaled by sharp hooks. After having a halberd from Kraus' office decorations planted into the floor, point up, Toulon sets the rope on fire; the rope eventually snaps, and Kraus falls fatally right onto the halberd. The film ends with Toulon, posing as Kraus, and Peter leaving the country for Geneva on the express train.

The prologue and analogue scenes from Retro Puppet Master (1999) follow immediately after this film. After reuniting Peter Hertz with relatives, Toulon continues his travels to the Swiss border, taking shelter from rainfall at an unattended inn, where he tells his puppets the story of Afzel and of his original puppets. The film ends with Toulon promising to his puppets that he will one day tell them the outcome of the original puppets.

Puppet Master: Axis of Evil[edit]

Continuing to hide from the Nazis in the United States, Toulon takes shelter at the Bodega Bay Inn in Bodega Bay, California. The Gestapo, however, have traced his location and two soldiers are sent to the hotel to capture him. Toulon hides his chest containing his puppets inside a wall panel and commits suicide before the spies can infiltrate his room. Bodega Bay employee Danny Coogan discovers Toulon's body, along with his trunk of puppets, and begins taking care of them, eventually their secret. Coogan becomes jealous when his girlfriend, who also knows the puppets are alive, flirts with a man Coogan recognizes as one of the Gestapo who had come hunting for Toulon. Coogan discovers the Gestapo are involved in a plan to bomb the United States, and with the puppets' help, Coogan resolves to stop them, and creates a new puppet "Ninja" to aid the others in battle.

Puppet Master X: Axis Rising[edit]

After foiling a plot to blow up an American arms plant, Danny Coogan and his girlfriend, Beth, quickly find that their troubles have just begun. One of Toulon's mysterious Puppets has been kidnapped by the Nazis, and under the wicked, watchful eye of the occultist Commandant Moebius, the Puppets' life-giving serum is synthesized to create a master race of unstoppable soldiers. Moebius plots to assassinate the highly-decorated General Porter to deliver a crippling blow to the American war effort, but his experiments are not ready. A Nazi Scientist uses the serum to create their own superior race of Nazi Puppets in the form of Blitzkrieg, Wehrmacht, Bombshell and Kamikaze! Danny and Beth, teamed with craggy Sergeant Stone and Toulon's Puppets, are no match for Moebius and his war machine. It is up to Blade, Pinhead, Leech Woman and Jester to revive their own secret weapon to stop the Axis Rising.

Puppet Master: Axis Termination[edit]

In this final chapter of the Axis Saga, we find our heroic band of lethal puppets- Blade, Pinhead, Tunneler, Jester, Six Shooter, and Leech Woman - joining forces with a secret team of Allied Operatives, all masters of psychic powers, as they face off together against a new bunch of evil Nazi adversaries and their collection of vicious Axis Puppets in a showdown that will decide the future of the free world.

Puppet Master[edit]

In 1989, four psychics each receive unsettling visions, which they assess have been sent by a former colleague, Neil Gallagher. The group meets at the Bodega Bay Inn where Gallagher has been staying, where before long they are introduced to Gallagher's wife, Megan. The psychics are skeptical that Gallagher had ever been wed, but this is forgotten when Megan reveals that he has recently committed suicide. Toulon's puppets, now out and about, proceed to murder everyone in the hotel before only the psychic Alex Whitaker, and Megan remain. It is here that Gallagher, alive, confronts the two survivors. Gallagher explains that while he did die, Toulon's formula was used to give himself eternal life. However, when Gallagher mistreats the puppet Jester, the others revolt against him, locking him in an elevator and mercilessly killing him. Whitaker returns home. Megan, now alone, is shown picking up Dana's taxidermic dog, and by the following scene, the dog becomes completely animate, indicating that she too has learned Toulon's method.

Curse of the Puppet Master[edit]

In “Curse of the Puppet Master”, we find the following six puppets caged up in a museum exabit: Blade, Tumbler, Six Shooter, Pinhead, Jester and Leech Woman. It is revealed that an honorary doctor named Magrew purchased Toulon’s trunk at auction by Megan Gallagher and manages the museum exabit in a small American countryside community to fund his research of duplicating André Toulon’s method of animation (without the assistance of Toulon's journal). When Magrew's daughter, Jane, returns from college, the two meet a gas station attendant named Robert "Tank" Winsley. Winsley's skill at carving wood is noticed by Magrew, and the boy is invited to stay with he and Jane if he agrees to carve a puppet for Magrew's experiment. As Winsley and Jane grow closer, Magrew tries to discourage Jane from seeing Winsley, so that in the event where the boy leaves, Jane will not be hurt. However, Jane assures her father that Winsley would not leave her. After carving the pieces for Magrew's puppet, Winsley becomes ill. Magrew calls for a doctor, and Jane is ordered to leave town to pick up a package for his sideshow. After learning that no package was sent, Jane races home, but, makes a stop to inspect debris she had found burnt in a ditch shortly before. In it, she finds a grotesque fleshy puppet who knows her name, which she identifies as her father's former assistant; the role which Winsley has replaced. Winsley wakes restrained to a laboratory table, with Magrew nearby, brandishing a mechanical puppet of his own. Magrew transfers Winsley's soul into the machine, but before he can enjoy his success, Toulon's puppets become enraged by his disgusting experiments, and they attack him. When Jane returns home, she finds her bloodied father and the mechanical puppet, recognizing it as Winsley because his face appears on a visual display unit on the robot's head. Winsley then proceeds to electrocute Magrew to death.

Puppet Master II: His Unholy Creation[edit]

His Unholy Creation” takes place two years after the events of the original Puppet Master and it is revealed that within that time: Alex was sent to an insane asylum and the puppets killed Megan for revenge. The film begins with the puppets visiting the Shady Oaks cemetery where they recover Toulon's corpse and reanimate it using the last of the Egyptian's elixir. With Toulon alive, the puppets hope that he can brew a new elixir to continue keeping them sustained. Toulon humbly pursues the formula, but to do so, his puppets are required to continue killing, as blood and brain tissue are the key ingredient in the concoction. After slaying the Bodega Bay Inn's owner, Megan Gallagher, Toulon unofficially takes ownership of the hotel, to the confusion of a group of parapsychologists who come to investigate the rantings of Alex Whitaker, who has gone insane since his visit to the Hotel, and the murder of the former owner. It is during this time that Toulon designs his latest puppet, Torch. After seeing one of the investigators, Carolyn Bramwell, Toulon is reminded of his wife Elsa, who has a striking resemblance to Bramwell, and uncharacteristically he abandons the plan to help his puppets to find a way of being united with who he believes is his reincarnated wife. Toulon, who has had two life-sized mannequins created to house the souls of both he and Bramwell, uses a combination of the elixir and a magic spell to place his soul into one mannequin. However, before Bramwell's soul can be transferred into the other mannequin, her love interest, Michael Kenney, rescues her. The puppets, both angry and ashamed that their long loving master has abandoned them due to his selfish intentions, corrupted by the formula he had taken that made him nothing more but a shadow of his former self, opt to have him killed once again. They use the remaining elixir and mannequin to resurrect one of their victims, Michael's mother, Camille. However, Camille takes on a sadistic personality and has the puppets locked away, except for Torch, who shares her disgust for children. This is key in that Camille uses the puppets to terrorize institutionalized children, though this is only suggested and never shown on screen.

Puppet Master 4: The Demon[edit]

After the events of Puppet Master: His Unholy Creation, the puppets are somehow returned to the Bodega Bay Inn and the outcome of Carmille is unknown. In 1993, a student scientist, Rick Myers, who works as caretaker at the hotel during the summer discovers the puppets. It is now that the god Sutekh makes a second attempt to suppress the secret of animation. Sutekh has three tribal demon puppets, spiritually linked to demonic minions of his own, called Totems sent to Earth to hunt down key personnel in the Omega Project, an organization also attempting to create life in inanimate objects. Myers' girlfriend, Susie, pays a visit to the Bodega Bay Inn, along with her friends Cameron and Lauren. Unknown to Susie, both Myers and Cameron have been previously acquainted, and they are both members of the Omega Project. Lauren, a clairvoyant, leads the group to the trunk containing Toulon's puppets, and diaries from André Toulon, Myers learns to inject the puppets with elixir to reanimate them. The puppets befriend the group, and protect them when the Totems arrive to kill Myers and his friends. Toulon's spirit, at ease since his puppets slew him over his treachery, returns to guide the puppets, advising them to activate his unfinished puppet, Decapitron. André Toulon's spirit is inside Decapitron. The puppets set up an electric current combined with the elixer which is used to animate Decapitron, who uses its interchangeable heads to communicate with the group and electrocute the Totems.

Puppet Master 5: The Final Chapter[edit]

Following the events of “Puppet Master: The Demon”, shortly after the attack, Myers is arrested under suspicion for having caused the murders committed by the Totems. His boss, Jennings, has Myers bailed because he believes he is innocent, and Myers tells Jennings about his experience with Toulon's puppets, all-the-while expecting Jennings not to believe him. However, Jennings is interested in Myers' story, and he organizes a group of thugs to break into the Bodega Bay Inn and steal the puppets. Myers has a disturbing premonition and decides to return to the hotel with Blade to check on the puppets which were left behind when he was taken into custody. Meanwhile, Sutekh activates another Totem, which he proceeds to transfer his soul into. Amid their search for the puppets, Sutekh ambushes Jennings’ thugs at the Bodega Bay Inn, before confronting Myers, who has recently arrived at the hotel, and Toulon's puppets. A battle between Sutekh and the puppets ensues, resulting in Sutekh attempting to retreat. However, the spirit of André Toulon, piloting Decapitron, is able to destroy him, inadvertently damaging all of the puppets in the process. After the defeat of Sutekh, Myers is cleared of the murder charges, has rebuilt the puppets and is now the guardian of the puppets.

Puppet Master: The Legacy[edit]

This film tries to fix the continuity errors within the series by using only 30 minutes of new footage about two individuals discussing the history of André Toulon and his puppets, while the rest of the footage is all archived from earlier films in the series (excluding Axis Saga films).

After the events of "The Final Chapter", an elderly man named Eric Weiss finds the remaining puppets (Blade, Pinhead, Jester, Tunneler, Six Shooter) and cares for them in the basement of the Bodega Bay Inn. Weiss is then discovered by a rogue agent, Maclain, who wants the secret element to Toulon’s formula. Weiss explains that he knew Toulon before his death, but, the original Puppet Master never fully shared his secrets with him and suggested to the rogue agent that she visits Rick Myers who possess Toulon’s diary. Maclain responds by saying that she had already visited Myers at his house and killed him when he didn’t cooperate to give up the diary and the book is useless since it burst into flames as she read it. Weiss explains that all he has left from Toulon is his puppets, his formula, and audio recordings conducted by Toulon himself telling his many adventures from his time as a young man (Retro Puppet Master) to the death of his beloved wife during WWII (Puppet Master: Toulon's Revenge). Weiss then reveals to Myers that his real name is Peter Hertz, the boy who was saved by Toulon in Puppet Master: Toulon's Revenge. After Weiss states that he believes that Toulon only killed those who deserved to die, Maclain brings up the subject of the murders that happened with the parapsychologists from original film and Puppet Master: His Unholy Creation. After the heated argument over whether Toulon was good or bad, Weiss plays another tape recording that is narrated by Rick Myers, which tells about Sutek's attempt to steal the elixir formula to kill the Puppet Master (Puppet Master: The Demon and Puppet Master: The Final Chapter).

Seeing that there’s one last recording, Maclain demands Weiss to play it. The recording talks about how there’s always someone discovering Toulon’s secret, even after his supposed death, always someone who doesn’t fully understand what a gift, or a Curse…. the formula becomes for the puppets (Curse of the Puppet Master). After the recording, Pinhead throws a mallet at Maclain’s head and Weiss shoots her in the heart with her own gun. Maclain, minutes away from death, explains that she was hired by the puppets because all of the puppet masters that followed in Toulon’s footsteps created immortals whose souls were trapped in wooden bodies, living every day in agony, wanting revenge on their Puppet Master. After Maclain’s death, Weiss hears something behind him, turns around, and sees an unknown figure off-screen. He takes aim and fires. Then the screen goes to black and a note appears: “The producers would like to thank all the cast and crew that helped make the Puppet Master series a tremendous success over the years, ending the series with the puppets themselves to fight off the Puppet Masters' unholy creations”.

Puppet Master vs. Demonic Toys[edit]

According to Charles Band, this film is a non-canon film because it was not produced by him or his production company Full Moon Features. It was instead a made for TV film that debuted 18 December 2004 on NBC Universal's SyFy.

The film also introduces a new fable to the Puppet Master folklore that contradicts the previous origin stories of the animated puppets that were already established in the previous films. The new folktale states that centuries ago, a doctor by the name of Jean Paul Toulon sold his soul to a demon, Bael, in exchange for the secrets of alchemy, but when Bael came to collect the soul, Jean Paul wandered deep into a black forest and entangled his soul with an ancient oak tree, which is the very same tree that André Toulon used to carve his first puppet. Now, it could be argued that the puppets became animated with the help of several different methods combined: the spells from Afzel (Retro Puppet Master), the elixir formula from mysterious sorcerer in Cairo (Puppet Master: His Unholy Creation), and the wood from the possessed ancient oak tree (Puppet Master vs Demonic Toys); however, the fact remains that Charles Band, the original creator of the franchise, deems this film and its new folklore as non-canon.

The film takes place in 2004; Robert Toulon, great-nephew of original Puppet Master André Toulon, brings the puppets back to life with the help of his daughter Alex. They are soon pursued by a mysterious toymaking syndicate that seeks the Toulon's reanimation formula to turn their line of dolls into vicious killers on Christmas Eve.

Puppet Master: The Littlest Reich (In-Production)[edit]

The Littlest Reich” was in production at the same time as Puppet Master: Axis Termination. The producers have said that this movie takes place in a parallel universe which explains why André Toulon is an evil Nazi this time rather than the original movies where he was against the Third Reich.

Characters[edit]

Character Film
Puppet Master His Unholy Creation Toulon's Revenge The Demon The Final Chapter Curse of the Retro The Legacy vs. Demonic Toys Axis of Evil Axis Rising Axis Termination Puppet Master: The Littlest Reich
André Toulon William Hickey Steve Welles Guy Rolfe Greg Sestero (younger Toulon) and Guy Rolfe Archival footage Archival footage and unidentified double Udo Kier
Elsa Toulon Elizabeth Maclellan Sarah Douglas Brigitta Dau Archival footage Mentioned only
Peter Hertz Aron Eisenberg Jacob Witkin
Rick Meyers Gordon Currie Archival footage
Susie Chandra West Archival footage
Lauren Teresa Hill Archival footage
Dr. Magrew George Peck Archival footage
Robert Winsley Josh Green Archival footage
Robert Toulon Corey Feldman
Danny Coogan Levi Fiehler Kip Canyon N/A
Beth Jenna Gallagher Jean Louise O'Sullivan N/A
Ozu Ada Chao Fang Terumi Shimazu
Edgar Thomas Lennon
Carol Doreski Barbara Crampton
Ashley Jenny Pellicer
Markowitz Nelson Franklin

Puppets[edit]

Puppet Puppet Master His Unholy Creations Toulon's Revenge The Demon The Final Chapter Curse of the Retro The Legacy vs. Demonic Toys Axis of Evil Axis Rising Axis Termination The Littlest Reich
Blade Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY
Pinhead Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY
Jester Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY Red XN
Tunneler Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY Red XN Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY
Six Shooter Red XN Red XN Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY Red XN Green tickY Green tickY Red XN
Leech Woman Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY Red XN Red XN Green tickY Green tickY Archival footage Red XN Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY Red XN
Torch Red XN Green tickY Red XN Red XN Green tickY Red XN Red XN Archival footage Red XN Red XN Red XN Red XN Green tickY
Decapitron Red XN Red XN Red XN Green tickY Green tickY Red XN Red XN Archival footage Red XN Red XN Red XN Red XN Red XN
Djinn Red XN Green tickY Green tickY Red XN Red XN Red XN Red XN Archival footage Red XN Red XN Red XN Red XN Red XN
Gengie Green tickY Red XN Red XN Red XN Red XN Red XN Red XN Red XN Red XN Green tickY Red XN Red XN Red XN
Shreddar Khan Green tickY Red XN Red XN Red XN Red XN Red XN Red XN Red XN Red XN Green tickY Red XN Red XN Red XN
Mephisto Red XN Green tickY Green tickY Red XN Red XN Red XN Red XN Red XN Red XN Red XN Red XN Red XN Red XN
Dr. Death Red XN Red XN Red XN Red XN Red XN Red XN Green tickY Archival footage Red XN Red XN Red XN Red XN Red XN
Drill Sergeant Red XN Red XN Red XN Red XN Red XN Red XN Green tickY Archival footage Red XN Red XN His head only Red XN Red XN
Cyclops Red XN Red XN Red XN Red XN Red XN Red XN Green tickY Archival footage Red XN Red XN Red XN Red XN Red XN
Retro-Blade Red XN Red XN Red XN Red XN Red XN Red XN Green tickY Archival footage Red XN Red XN Red XN Red XN Red XN
Retro-Pinhead Red XN Red XN Red XN Red XN Red XN Red XN Green tickY Archival footage Red XN Red XN Red XN Red XN Red XN
Retro-Six-Shooter Red XN Red XN Red XN Red XN Red XN Red XN Green tickY Archival footage Red XN Red XN Red XN Red XN Red XN
Tank Red XN Red XN Red XN Red XN Red XN Green tickY Red XN Arichival footage Red XN Red XN Red XN Red XN Red XN
Matt/Mutant Red XN Red XN Red XN Red XN Red XN Green tickY Red XN Red XN Red XN Red XN Red XN Red XN Red XN
Ninja Red XN Red XN Red XN Red XN Red XN Red XN Red XN Red XN Red XN Green tickY Mentioned only Red XN Red XN
Blitzkrieg Red XN Red XN Red XN Red XN Red XN Red XN Red XN Red XN Red XN Red XN Green tickY Green tickY Red XN
Bombshell Red XN Red XN Red XN Red XN Red XN Red XN Red XN Red XN Red XN Red XN Green tickY Green tickY Red XN
Kamikaze Red XN Red XN Red XN Red XN Red XN Red XN Red XN Red XN Red XN Red XN Green tickY Red XN Red XN
Weremacht Red XN Red XN Red XN Red XN Red XN Red XN Red XN Red XN Red XN Red XN Green tickY Green tickY Red XN
Happy Amphibian Red XN Red XN Red XN Red XN Red XN Red XN Red XN Red XN Red XN Red XN Red XN Red XN Green tickY

Reception[edit]

The most well-received Puppet Master installments are generally those released before the series' four-year hiatus. As the series was revived at a time when Full Moon Features was no longer partnered with Paramount Pictures, the studio's finances grew increasingly tight, and as a result the quality of each subsequent Puppet Master title (as well as numerous other Full Moon productions) suffered. On Rotten Tomatoes, the only three installments which have been rated by critics are Puppet Master, which has a 33% rating after 6 reviews;[7] Puppet Master II, which has a 33% rating after 6 reviews;[8] and Puppet Master 4, which has a 0% rating after 5 reviews.[9] The films have evidently scored much better with users, currently rating 51%,[10] 47%[11] and 66%,[12] respectively.

Home video[edit]

VHS[edit]

Most Puppet Master films were originally released direct to video on VHS.

DVD[edit]

The Puppet Master films have been released on DVD in very small quantities. A box set containing the first seven installments of the series was released by Full Moon (along with a bonus disc of trailers for other Full Moon films), but was recalled shortly after. However, in 2007, Full Moon Features reacquired the rights to the first five films, and the box set has since been reissued and is available directly from Full Moon, as well as through several online retailers. The first three films were included as part of an 18-disc Full Moon Features collection, and have since been individually released as a Spanish-subtitled import collection. In 2007, Razor Digital released an uncut DualDisc version of the first film, featuring both the standard and stereoscopic versions of the film, but with very poor picture quality. In 2012, Echo Bridge home entertainment released all 9 films in one DVD collection, while the first three films were licensed for a UK release by 88 Films.

Starting in 2010, the first Puppet Master was re-released on DVD with a new remastered widescreen transfer, while the second and third films were released with new transfers on September 18, 2012 (both individually or in a box set with the first film). The remastered editions of the fourth and fifth films were released on March 24, 2016, but only through a box set which is identical to Full Moon's original set with the bonus disc of trailers, except they also contain the remastered editions of the first 3 films (Curse of the Puppet Master and Retro Puppet Master still remain unrestored).[13]

Blu-ray[edit]

The original Puppet Master film was released on Blu-ray in a remastered widescreen transfer on July 27, 2010.[14] On September 18, 2012, the first three films will be released on Blu-ray in a set, the second and third films also remastered in widescreen.[15] The first 3 films have also been released on Blu-ray in the UK by 88 films.

The fourth installment was released on Blu-ray October 12, 2015 while the fifth installment was released on February 1, 2016.

Digital[edit]

In December 2008, Charles Band authorized the first Puppet Master film for digital download through the iTunes Store; his first foray into the digital market.

Merchandising[edit]

  • The Puppet Master Adventure - A four-issue comic book limited series written and drawn by Australian comicbook creators Dave de Vries and Glenn Lumsden and printed by Eternity Comics. It was followed by a two-issue sequel titled Children of the Puppet Master also by de Vries and Lumsden.
  • The Puppet Master Action Figures - A series of action figures produced by Full Moon Toys, and scale replicas of the series' puppets, produced by Full Moon Playthings in 1998. The action figures have since been discontinued and are now collectors items.
  • The Puppet Master Model Kits- A series of model kits, of various puppets from the movie were released in 1991. Not all of the puppets were released in these scale model kits. Although they were discontinued, they have recently been re-released by Full Moon Direct.
  • The Puppet Master Trading Cards - a set of collectible cards of the Pupper Master characters. Also were limited edition stickers of each of the puppets face.
  • The Puppet Master Costumes - A set of Clothing and Halloween costumes of the series' puppets.
  • Puppet Master (Action Lab Comics) - An ongoing comic book series written by Shawn Gabborin and published by Action Lab Comics begun in 2015. The series was an instant hit among fans and is known for its attention to detail regarding the Puppet Master lore.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "September 28: First look at PUPPETMASTER VS. DEMONIC TOYS!". September 28, 2004. Archived from the original on 2004-10-13. Retrieved 2016-07-01. 
  2. ^ Puppet Master 5 "Videozone" documentary
  3. ^ "HILL'S CHARLES BAND INTERVIEW - Part 2". Puppet Master. Retrieved 2009-03-24. 
  4. ^ "PUPPET MASTER: AXIS OF EVIL, DEMONIC TOYS 2, GINGERDEAD MAN 3? FULL MOON Sequel-Mania!". Icons of Fright. Retrieved 2009-03-24. 
  5. ^ "Charles Band to Remake 'Puppetmaster' in 3-D". Bloody Disgusting. Retrieved 2009-03-23. 
  6. ^ "Texas Frightmare Weekend Exclusive: “BONE TOMAHAWK”, “1408” Producers Team For “PUPPET MASTER” Reboot!". Retrieved 4 January 2017. 
  7. ^ "Puppet Master". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2009-03-23. 
  8. ^ "Puppet Master 2: His Unholy Creations". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2009-03-23. 
  9. ^ "Puppet Master 4: The Demon". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2009-03-23. 
  10. ^ "Puppet Master". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2009-03-24. 
  11. ^ "Puppet Master 2: His Unholy Creations". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2009-03-24. 
  12. ^ "Puppet Master 4: The Demon". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2009-03-24. 
  13. ^ "Puppet Master Remastered 8 DVD Box Set". Retrieved 4 January 2017. 
  14. ^ "Puppet Master Blu-ray". Retrieved 4 January 2017. 
  15. ^ "Welcome to FullMoonDirect - Horror, Sci-Fi and Fantasy Films". Retrieved 4 January 2017.