When an independent film studio stumbles upon a cult classic, chances are that they’ll milk it for all it’s worth with a barrage of sequels. Full Moon Entertainment (now Full Moon Features) had its opus with Puppet Master, so we dive into the original, the sequels, and the cross-overs to see if the milking was deserved.
Movie: Puppet Master 5 (1994)
Plot: With his minions dead, the Egyptian demon lord Sutek infuses his life force into his own totem doll to take down Rick and friends… and the puppets. Meanwhile, Dr. Jennings, Rick’s boss, attempts to capture the puppets in order to make a deal with The Pentagon.
Killer: The Egyptian demon lord Sutek… and the puppets.
Critique: If you thought the Puppet Master series would be getting stale by the fifth film, you would be wrong. It may not have been the greatest moment of the film when it decided to have the puppets become the good guys for real in Puppet Master 4 and fight the forces of Egyptian evil in the form of totem dolls, but at least it was original. With Puppet Master 5, we have a continuation of that plotline, and still nothing goes stale. Sure, Sutek and a totem doll are back, along with a climactic Decapitron reveal and Andre Toulon’s green-screened head, but it isn’t Puppet Master 4 Redux. Rick gets arrested and becomes public enemy #1, his boss is making deals with The Pentagon, there’s some weird dream sequence where Susie gets hot for Tunneler drilling into her head, and TORCH IS BACK! So yeah, there’s a lot of stuff added to the story to keep it going. It may not be great, but it’s new.
Unfortunately, we have the same issue as the last film: lack of kill originality. I understand that the Puppet Master series isn’t meant to be extremely gory, but come on, these killer puppets need to mix things up a bit. The only human not killed by the prerequisite slashing of a totem doll is Dr. Jennings jumping down an elevator shaft to get away from Torch’s flame, and you don’t even see anything, just hear a thud on the roof of the elevator while Susie helps Rick up after getting his ass kicked.
Scene of Awesomeness: Scott gets punched in the mouth by Pinhead, then later gets a meat tenderizer to the groin from Jester while PInhead gloats. It’s just a hilariously vile line of segments that is the heart of the Puppet Master franchise.
Scene of Ridiculousness: Sutek sounds way too sexual with his totem doll in the multiple scenes that make up the life force transfer. We talking cringe-worthy innuendo.
Body Count: 4 humans killed and 1 totem killed (along with 3 humans killed and 3 totem killed from flashbacks to Puppet Master 4)
3 humans clawed to death by a totem doll before having their life force sucked out, with one splashing a ton of blood on a flashlight to give the room a real redlight vibe (Awesomely Overkill Award)
1 torching with a fall down an elevator shaft
1 Sutek totem burnt to a crisp along with his inter-dimensional portal and part of the Bodega Bay Inn.
No breasts, except Sutek’s nipples again, and Rick’s nipples. Hey, we’re all about equal opportunity toplessness here.
Actors/Actresses of Note: Guy Rolfe and Gordon Currie are back., along with Pierce Brosnan look-alike Ian Ogilvy.
Quote: “Somebody been feedin’ you steroids there, boy?” – Scott to Pinhead