Retro Puppet Master (1999)

Directed by: David DeCoteau

Written by:
Benjamin Carr

Story by:
Charles Band


Greg Sestero .... Andre Toulon
Brigitta Dau .... Ilsa
Stephen Blackehart .... First Servant
Robert Radoveanu .... Second Servant
Vitalie Bantas .... Third Servant
Jack Donner .... Afzel

Special Appearance:

Guy Rolfe .... Older Andre Toulon

Release Date: Direct-to-Video: November 19, 1999

*Images courtesy at:









In the pre-world War I in Paris a young lad named Andre Toulon (Greg Sestero) creates a puppet theatre with his co-horts entertaining many around them. He meets up with a beautiful daughter of an Swiss ambassador named Ilsa (Brigitta Dau) in whoma he falls in love with.
He also meets up with an Egyptian sorcerer named Afzel (Jack Donner) who has stolen the "Secret of Life" from an ancient god named Sutkei and shows him that he can bring his wooden puppets to life from souls of dead bodies.
Sutkei is enraged and his servants kill Toulon's co-horts and Afzel himself as well as kidnapping Ilsa in which Toulon must make a stand against them with the help of his puppets in order to rescue her.


There's a good shot on Older Andre Toulon talking to his puppets about how they were originally created with good shots on the puppets with their heads turning and listening.
A nice moment on the servents with shots on them lying down about to be created wrapped like a mummy in bandages and speaking, then rising up which looks very impressive.
A nice shot on the younger Andre Toulon in a room creating his wooden puppets and preparing a show which looked very natural.
For the opening credits there's nice dark shots on the wooden puppets.
There's many good shots surrounding Andre as well as his co-horts preparing the puppet show which looked quite pumped up.
There's great dark shots surrounding the servents in a dungeon type hallway discussing an evil plan with two tough type goons. This is a nice horror moment on how all of it came together.
We spot many nice charming conversations between Andre and Ilsa introducing one another and trying to get to know one another which looked very natural.
There's good shadow shots outside with an attack and a nice shot on Ilsa running and screaming for help after what she spots.
A good strong discussion between Andre and Afzel with good close up shots on their faces talking.
Many good shots on the servents breaking into the area of the backstage theatre and using their deadly powers on the bad guys in which they react well on being killed while these three create havoc for them.
Great close up shots on the puppets choking and stabbing the servents as well as Afzel coming in trying to act brave by using his powers.
There's a moment when Andre is waking up from car in a train and then getting up and slowly walking in the hallway of the car trying to be cautious on what he sees which looked fairly suspenseful.
Many good blocking scene's and camera shots with Andre struggling and fighting the first servent but when he punches him it looks a little lacking. There's more good close up shots on the puppets attacking both the second and third servent during this moment by strangling and stabbing them.
Bottom line is that this flick was very necessary showing what happened in the beginning but it's a bit confusing wondering if it does follow the films beforehand since the characters on these wooden puppets look similar to the one's in the present. For example there's a wooden Blade and he was created in another prequel called Puppet Master III: Toulon's Revenge. Well it's just a case of bad writing in my opinion. Yet, this film isn't too bad since we show interesting locations and the odd special effects too.
There's nice romantic moments on how Toulon and Ilsa first met as well as his adventures trying to save her from the evil grasp of the First Servant which looked nicely done.
Alot of fans were turned off by this flick as it wasn't the same but it makes sense on why this one was created to see how Toulon got his powers to create his puppets when he was just a young lad.
Try this film for yourself and see what you think of it. It's basically a historical story on the Puppet Master flicks and how these demonic bad criminals came to life as well.

The acting is very good and energetic. Lead actor Greg Sestero (Andre Toulon) brings on the perfect charm as the younger Andre Toulon with his good looks and perfect guy next door attitude. He truly made his part very entertaining to watch and was not disappointed on his performance. He also had a good strong voice when he spoke too. A nice surprised reaction on him when a puppet is brought back to life. A great emotional reaction on him after spotting his friends dead and does well by using his other wooden puppets to come to life. A nice anxious expression on him when he wakes up from sleeping in a passenger car.
Canadian actress Brigitta Dau (Ilsa) looked stunning in her performance and really knew how to pull off an accent and making it sound believeable which isn't an easy task at all. She showed alot of terrific energy to her role and stood out terrifically and can be well remembered for her performance.
Stephen Blackehart
(First Servant) really knew how to act evil and demonic as the leader of his cult trying to kill with his powers. He certainly gave his role a real chilling and dark feel to what he had to do. But however, his voice was overdubbed with a sound effect so sometimes it's difficult to tell his talents when he spoke his lines.
Jack Donner
(Afzel) certainly really came across as mysterious as a wizard of some sort and really brought on a great serious attitude which came across very powerfully when he needed to do so. Does well trying to seriously talk to Toulon about his creations for what he can do with his puppets. I give this guy a two thumbs up since he made sure he was the key to the story and how he made the puppets come to life teaching Toulon on his formula. He does a good job suffocating when his powers backfire in a certain segment of the story.
Of course we have a special appearance by Guy Rolfe (Older Andre Toulon) on present day bring his charm on the screen talking to his puppets on how they were created which looked nicely done with what he had to do in it.

The music for this film is very different than what we have expected with alot of strong and powerful orchestra music. Does it fit the film? Why yes it does even if it isn't the same. There's many loud suspenseful playing in it which sounds nicely done for the scene's that it was used on all composed by John Massari.