Puppet Cast: Blade, Jester, Pinhead, Six Shooter, Baby Oopsy Daisy, Jack Attack, Grizzly Teddy
Directed by Ted Nicolaou
Expectations: Extremely low, this is a knock-off Puppet Master movie made for the Sci-Fi channel. There’s no way it’s good.
On the general scale:
On the B-Movie scale:
Finally, the moment Full Moon fans have waited for! Two giant Full Moon franchises collide in an epic tale of good vs. evil! Except instead of Full Moon, the Sci-Fi Channel produced it and it’s awful? Yep, sad but true. It does have Corey Feldman if that sweetens the deal any… yeah, didn’t think it would. Puppet Master vs. Demonic Toys is a non-canon tale of the two groups meeting up, aping a bit of both series’ mythology and combining everything into a jumbled mess. Corey Feldman is Robert Toulon, a descendant of the puppet master who is trying to perfect the puppet animation formula. Meanwhile the head of Sharpe Toys wants to capture the toys for some reason that isn’t entirely clear (even after watching the entire film), and she also has made a deal with Bael to handover Toulon’s blood to fulfill some ancient pact.
Shortly after reanimation, the puppets are damaged in a fire and it takes the rest of the film for Toulon to get his shit together and make up another batch of the formula, just in time for the climax. The puppets themselves are mere knock-offs of their actual selves too, all looking like shiny, cheap toy versions of their film counterparts. When they are repaired post-fire damage, Toulon upgrades them with all kinds of new features. Six Shooter gets a Terminator-like facial implant and red eye, along with a bunch of little G.I. Joe guns that shoot red lasers. LASERBLAST! Pinhead gets cybernetic arms that just look like they took the latex off the puppet’s armature skeleton and called it a day. Jester gets a giant silver mace on one hand, but besides the moment of reveal when he crushes a jewelry box, I don’t remember him getting much use out of it. Blade is the least changed, with a bigger blade and hook & armature skeleton arms.
The acting is pretty atrocious from all involved with Corey Feldman grating the viewer’s own aural canals against the chalkboard in every single scene he’s in. I was hoping for a typical Full Moon style celeb cameo where he’d figure into one or two scenes, but Sci-Fi must have had the big money because he was in nearly every scene. The one bright spot is Full Moon alum Ted Nicolaou’s direction and camerawork, which seems competent but relatively uninspired. It’s understandable considering the situation so I give him credit for not completely phoning it in.
The film has a storied past as well, and I can only imagine that the previous version left unproduced would have been much better than this final result. Full Moon planned their own Puppet Master vs. Demonic Toys in the early 90s, with the idea that it would be Puppet Master 4. They even released a pretty kick ass poster for it too. Honestly, I would have been better off staring at the poster for this unproduced version for eighty-eight minutes than actually sitting through the steaming mess that finally did spew forth from the bowels of the Sci-Fi Channel. Kidding aside, I suppose it could have been worse, because for all its awfulness, it’s still infinitely more watchable than my gold-standard for utter shit, Dreamaniac.
Next week, I’ll be taking a break from Puppet Master (only one film left!) and checking out another film from Empire International, 1986’s Eliminators!