Puppet Master: The Littlest Reich review: The eighties are back and in full swing in the latest blood-soaked tale of macabre puppetry.
Puppet Master: The Littlest Reich review by Kat Hughes.
Thirty years ago VHS was the home entertainment commodity of choice. For the first time ever people could watch movies in their houses that weren’t part of the programmed TV schedule. It was a liberating time, not only for viewers, but also filmmakers. It suddenly opened up a load of new doors for getting films seen. Now films didn’t have to make it to cinema screens to be watched, and they also didn’t have to conform to television regulations in order to get airplay. This led to what is known as the video nasty era when horror films were all over your local video stores. One film that capitalised on this was Puppet Master. The film was a massive cult success and spawned a vast array of sequels, prequels etc., and much like last year’s Cult of Chucky, Puppet Master The Littlest Reich proves you can’t keep a good killer doll – sorry puppet – down.
Opening in 1989, the same year as the original, in Texas, we join Andre Toulon (played by the brilliant Udo Kier) on the night of his demise. The story then jumps forward to the present day when we meet comic book store worker and artist, Edgar (Thomas Lennon). Recently divorced, he returns to the family home where he finds a highly valued Blade (no not that one) Toulon puppet. Deciding that selling it should earn him cash so that he can get out from under his parent’s feet again, he attends a convention celebrating the thirtieth anniversary of the Toulon murders. Accompanied by his boss and new girlfriend he soon discovers that the puppet, and those of other collectors, hide a deadly secret; a fight for survival ensues.
The Puppet Master franchise has never been the most serious of the horror institutions, it has never been afraid to have a little fun with itself, and the latest film is no exception. The plot is quickly dispensed with after arriving at the convention, but this isn’t the type of film that relies on story, it relies on deaths. Puppet Master: The Littlest Reich has them in abundance. Once we get to our hotel setting, the film is kill scene, after kill scene, after kill scene. We are briefly introduced to a series of characters who are nothing more than puppet fodder, and the deaths get more and more inventive. Get ready to see tendons slashed, guts exposed, heads flying, and a grotesque birth that would make Alien blush.
Thomas Lennon is best known for his work in comedy films, he typically plays the comedy sidekick or put-upon loser, and whilst the role of Edgar fits some of his usual traits, it’s a little strange to see him as the lead. It’s by no means a bad thing, it just takes a little getting used to. Horror icon Barbara Crampton also stars as Carol Doreski, a no-nonsense retired police detective who gets some great scenes. Trivia fans will note that this is Crampton’s second Puppet Master film, she was in the original as ‘Woman at Carnival’.
Puppet Master: The Littlest Reich is a blast to watch and, given the ending, we look forwards to future sequels. A true old School B-movie horror complete with all varieties of boobs and gore. For those thinking that they don’t make them like that anymore, Puppet Master: The Littlest Reich is here to prove that sometimes they still do.
Puppet Master: The Littlest Reich review by Kat Hughes, July 2018.
Puppet Master: The Littlest Reich screened as part of the Fantasia International Film Festival 2018 line-up. It will also screen in August as part of Arrow Video Frightfest 2018 in London.