Puppet Master (1989)


Written & Directed by: David Schmoeller

Story by: Charles Band, Kenneth J. Hall & J.S. Cardone


Paul Le Mat .... Alex Whitaker
Robin Frates .... Megan Gallagher
Irene Miracle .... Dana Hadley
Jimmie F. Scaggs .... Neil Gallagher
Matt Roe .... Frank Forrester
Kathryn O'Reilly .... Carissa Stamford
Mews Small .... Theresa

Special Appearances:

William Hickey .... Andree Toulon
Barbara Crampton .... Woman at Carnival

Release Dates: Direct-to-Video: October 12, 1989; Fantasporto Film Festival: February, 1990

*Images courtesy at www.badmovies.org







A group of gifted psychics led by Alex Whittaker (Paul LeMat) investigates a closed down hotel mansion on the California coast as a resident there whom was a brilliant puppeteer named Andree Toulon (William Hickey) took his own life as a group of thugs tried to capture him and his live action puppets.
An evil man Neil Gallagher (Jimmie F. Scaggs) discovered the secrets of Andree's puppets and then apparently took his own life as his body is in a coffin at the mansion awaiting a funeral event.
Alex continues to have deadly dreams that Neil is still alive and has something deadly for him.
Suddenly the puppets do come to life in the mansion and kills his psychics one by one as they all have different deadly weapons created in them as they are programmed to guard the deadly secrets of the puppet master.


A nice wavy close up shots on the puppet's faces for the opening credits as this seemed necessary for what we are about to watch in the story.
Good prologue as well as a nicely focused camera shots on Andree Toulon creating some of his future puppets painting them as well as good shots on him commenting on what he's done. This was a nice scene on what will unravel later on. Plus we have a nice ground camera shot zooming around the area of the hotel outside as well as coming inside and spotting what looked like two hitmen which leaves an impression that it's one of the puppets spotting stuff. This looked mildly humoress to watch especially when a customer reveals this object and screams with the puppet which is Blade getting scares itself and tries to get into the room of Toulon's.
When the hitmen approach to his door of the room we spot a shocking suicidal experience before these goons try to get him drawing you in more and wondering as to what we may expect from these puppets later on.
Interesting moment when we spot present day with the lead character Alex Whitaker realising there's poisonous looking leeches on him as this looked mildly shocking and good for a horror type theme wondering as to what we expect from this. Plus you get a feeling that he's dreaming all of this.
Well lit and focused moment at a carnival when Dana Hadley is doing her job as a psychic telling a teenage couple their future as you get a feeling that this woman is a fake. But yet and effective moment when she's in pain and reveals something from the puppet Blade attacking which looked well done.
Effective moment with the gang surrounding a supposed dead body whom is Neil Gallagher at a funeral parlour as well as intereaction around one another revealing different and unique types of personalities on each and one of them. This seemed to look crafty especially with Dana acting cocky and mysterious on what she does there.
Also we have some odd humoress moments that involves a nosey Theresa talking to Dana and she waves her off with some sort of aroma as well as this woman spying on her still and spotting that she took a dead dog done by a taxidermist out of her suitcase which gave me the odd chuckle.
In another room we have a corny discussion between Carissa Stamford seeming lustfully in a trance lying on a bed letting out her excited and almost lustful emotions towards Frank Forrester as the writing for this scene needed some improvements which seemed a bit too silly to watch. Not terrible by any means.
I enjoyed the scene with everyone at the dinner table when Dana gets snobby and mocks innocent Megan Gallagher in which this situation looked fairly powerful and well done in too. Just makes you want to almost smack this woman and hoping that she will get hers in the end.
Nice silent moment with a camera sht watching Theresa placing wood in a freplace with a poker and slowly looking around as you get a cringing feeling that someone is watching and ready to murder her as this scene almost makes you watch carefully as to what's going to happen next.
Plus we spot a moment with Megan passing out after screaming and everyone coming to see what's wrong with a nice shot on yet the dead Neil sitting there emotionless staring which looked creepy to watch and nicelyshot too on the surroundings of this supposed dead corpse.
Then we get into a funny situation when we yet again spot Carissa finishing up her bath and getting scared suddenly by the perverted Frank and dressing up kinky as well as them about to get it on with some of the puppets like Blade looking through a peephole and the others sneaking in to plan on doing these two in as this showed great humoress timing and a nice horror moment for anyone who fornicates in a flick. Then after we spot a killing with Carissa things get more hilarious when we spot Leech Woman another puppet rising up towards Frank when he's blindfolded and tied to a bed after having kinky sex which is a perfect target on him being helpless as well as this object making out she's being lustful only to spit out her deadly leeches as I was laughing my ass off watching all of this happening. This showed off a great sense of humor with the horror too.
Another creepy moment with the lifeless Neil sitting in a chair which in Dana's room as I got a cringing feeling that this bitch will get hers with the puppet's in which we see alot of powerful moments on her struggles against both Pinhead and Blade attacking her and running towards her while she tries to fight them off and scrambling to get away which looked very energetic.
A real attention grabber is when Megan wakes Alex up and needs to show him something as we spot a webbed up room that leads to another area of the mansion which looked perfectly creepy as we spot Neil very alive with an evil grin and having Megan under his spell which added nice timing in which you wonder if Alex himself is having a nightmare as we go into the same situation but there's something a little different along with a good gruesome moment the second time after we think he wakes up which was totally brainteasing thinking is this really happening??? No it's not!!!
Perfect setting when we spot Neil near the dinner table as well as the corpses of the victims in the chairs with nice shots on all of this showing off a perfect horror fashion along with him throwing one of the puppets to the ground in which this leaves off a cringing feeling that the other puppets will seek revenge against him for being treated roughly. Also we have a moment when he is pounding on Alex as this didn't look too convincing in which this moment was supposed to look intense and it wasn't.
Yet the moments truly make up for it when the puppets go in for the kill as there's many great intense close up camera shots on what they do to him as this offered great horror violence and full of action on all of this as this was a perfect final terrors on what they do here.
Bottom line is that this is probably Full Moon's most successful horror flick they ever made and can see why as it looked very clever with little puppet's killing people residing at a mansion although some of them look so cute they're very deadly. I got a laugh out of the leech woman with her head popping up and then spitting out her deadly leeches on the victims. Some good special effects used in the film which is another good pointer as well as a nice touch with an evil person making these good puppets turn bad in which the plot is very impressive. This film should please all you horror fans whom enjoy low budget films with a good plot and cult appeal too.

The acting is in good shape by most of the cast members. Paul Le Mat (Alex Whitaker) wasn't too shabby in his role as he seemed to show good expressions and reactions to the shocking moments that were used in the flick. However he needed a bit of a push to show some energy within whatever he did but he wasn't at all terrible. Just didn't seem to have the right appeal for the role is all.
Robin Frates (Neil Gallagher) does a great job inm her role however as she portrays a nice innocence to her part of the story. Seemed to have it nailed down showing off a nice calmness to her part as well as being sensitive to what is happening around her. Plus has the nice virgin wholesomeness to her part portraying the survivor in the horror story as we all know these types never really die.
The one who really stands out the most is actress Irene Miracle (Dana Hadley) as a argumentive nasty bitch in the movie as you think to yourself she is gonna get it from those evil puppets for her nastiness. She delivers her speech very clearly. She also had the right beautiful looks and appeal to her role with her sharp attitude. Also shows off great energy when struggling against the madness surrounding her.
Jimmie F. Scaggs (Neil Gallagher) was perfect as an evil villain in which he shows off a great smooth and wicked behavior into all that he does here. Has a nice evil laughter too just coming acorss perfectly cold within his speaking. However when he is violent in a scene it doesn't look intense as it should've been. His blocking needed to be more convincing.
Matt Roe (Frank Forrester) shows off a nice slick and sleazy as well as a convincingly kinky type of behavior in his role as he comes across serious at times which seemed funny and knew on how to do his witty behavior as well. He had an effective supporting role for what it was worth.
Of course we have to have a bimbo in this film and that is played by Kathryn O'Reilly (Carissa Stamford) as she lacked a bit by not making her character believeable or dynamic in her role but again she never pursued a successful career. She was a little too over the top as well as she was incredibly rough when she acts like she is losing control in certain spots.
Mews Small (Theresa) does well with her nosey and mischievieous behavior as well as having a good hyped up behavior. Comes across as perfectly annoying towards others and was convincing to get on your nerves alot. She drew in a great hyped up attitude too.
William Hickey (Andree Toulon) had a small role in this flick as he was seen only during the prologue but was worth mentioning since he shows a great concentration by creating his puppets and does this with great style and enthusiasm. Also does a nice job with his speaking too while talking to his creations while working on them.

A woman in an elevator is nearly raped during a flashback scene and her right breast is revealed.
Bimbo actress
Kathryn O'Reilly briefly reveals her breasts while taking a bubblebath.

Toulon shoots himself in the head and blood sprays out from behind him.
During a dream sequence Alex is bloodily attacked by deadly looking leeches.
Another psychic is bloodily attacked by leeches caused by the puppet named Ms. Leech.
A group of corpses which were the bodies of the psychics are siting in chairs at a table as the results of their slaughterings by the puppets are revealed including their jaws bloodily torn out etc.
The evil Gallagher has his neck and legs drilled by the puppet Tuneller while the lead puppet named Blade cuts off his fingers and does other gruseome things to him.

Richard Band is marvellous, original and very influential with his music for this. The theme song for the opening and closing credits is terrific with a waltzy sound to it and is played through certain scenes of the film and was used in most of the sequels too. Plus we have icy sounds and high pitched metal screeching and other types for the mysterious and near deadly moments that blends in greatly. Plus we hear some chiming sounds which was good and clear. Plus some good hissing and intense music for when the puppets do their final killing as this was good and poiwerful without it sounding too loudly composed.

Dana Hadley: Your husband was a despicable greedy bastard.

Frank Forrester: Just a little bit of sauce and Dana can become quite the cynic.
Dana Hadley: I am not a cynic, Frank! I like to think of myself as a nasty bitch.

Dana Hadley: You are in great danger - do not go near the fireplace.

Neil Gallagher: I'm tired of experimenting with silly puppets.

Neil Gallagher: I'm the master, and you're the puppet!