Puppet Cast: Blade, Pinhead, Jester, Tunneler, Leech Woman, Ninja
Directed by David DeCoteau
Expectations: I hope it’s better than Demonic Toys 2.
On the general scale:
On the B-Movie scale:
Puppet Master: Axis of Evil is a great example of the line that separates trash and art. The film contains some of the best cinematography in Full Moon’s history and it’s clear that a lot of time and effort went into making this film look as good as they could make it look. After watching the behind the scenes vidcasts though, the film was actually made incredibly quickly, so the finished product is all the more impressive. On the other side of that coin, the film features some of the worst acting the company has to offer (I expect no less from David DeCoteau… No hard feelings though) as well as one of the most boring and factually inaccurate scripts I’ve ever witnessed. Because it skirts this line so well, Puppet Master: Axis of Evil ends up being neither good nor playfully bad, instead staying relatively safe and boring.
I love the Puppet Master films despite how poor a lot of them are. I came into this film excited, as the trailer made it look like they had actually stepped up the production values for once. Oddly though, instead of beefing up the FX budget or the script, they focused most of the money on the visual aesthetic, which isn’t the reason most people watch Full Moon movies so it seems like an odd choice. Imagine if they spent that money on the puppets! Despite this renewed focus on the visuals, virtually every set looks like a poorly dressed sound stage with flimsy-walled rooms constructed for that day’s scenes. It’s never really a problem except when there’s a wide shot with yet another wall covered by a giant American flag or a pair of propaganda war posters. In a strange way, it reminded me a lot of Lars von Trier’s set-less films Dogville & Mandarlay, where backgrounds and props were only minor mental cues to your imagination and the feeling of the sound stage was ever-present. If only Puppet Master: Axis of Evil had the acting and directing of Von Trier’s films.