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MOVIE REVIEW: Puppet Master: The Littlest Reich (2018)

MOVIE REVIEW: Puppet Master: The Littlest Reich (2018)

I had the opportunity to watch Puppet Master: The Littlest Reich and jumped at it. Those puppets hold a special place in my heart, much like the Cenobites do, and thus I will always watch the next installment in the franchise. After 2017’s dismal Puppet Master: Axis Termination, I didn’t hold much hope for the latest entry – especially after I saw the redesign of Blade and heard that Six Shooter would be entirely absent. But then I learned that Fangoria, Thomas Lennon, Barbara Crampton, and Udo Kier were involved, and my interest was once again piqued. Could this be a return to the kind of Puppet Master awesomeness that was the best parts of the previous entries?

Udo Kier as Andre Toulon in Puppet Master: The Littlest Reich (2018) / Fair use doctrine.

Udo Kier as Andre Toulon

If you’re unfamiliar with the timeline of the Puppet Master movies, that will not be a problem. Puppet Master: The Littlest Reich is a complete reboot of the series set in an alternate universe. Fans of the franchise need not fret either as the reboot retains several of our favorite puppets – Blade, Tunneler, Pinhead, and Torch (aka Kaiser) – while introducing some interesting new ones.

Nelson Franklin, Jenny Pellicer, and Thomas Lennon in Puppet Master: The Littlest Reich (2018) / Fair use doctrine.

Markowitz (Nelson Franklin), Ashley (Jenny Pellicer), and Edgar (Thomas Lennon)

The movie begins with a brief glimpse 30 years into the past when an evil Toulon (Udo Kier from Mark of the Devil) was found and killed by local police. From there it moves to the present and primarily follows Edgar (Thomas Lennon of Santa Clarita Diet), a recently divorced and struggling comic book artist who becomes mixed up in Toulon’s return on the 30th anniversary of the Toulon murders. Edgar, having moved into his parents’ house, also works as a comic store clerk and decides to auction off his dead brother’s Blade puppet at a Toulon convention. He invites Ashley (Jenny Pellicer of The Bridge TV series) along, his boss Markowitz (Nelson Franklin of Scott Pilgrim vs. the World) invites himself along, and the trio set out for what they hope will be a fun and somewhat profitable weekend.

Barbara Crampton as retired officer Carol Doreski in Puppet Master: The Littlest Reich (2018) / Fair use doctrine.

Barbara Crampton as retired officer Carol Doreski

Puppet Master: The Littlest Reich uses the convention to reveal Toulon’s past in this universe, primarily via the tour of Toulon Mansion as led by one of the officers from the original case 30 years earlier, retired officer Carol Doreski (Barbara Crampton), who outlines the details of the events surrounding the Toulon Massacre. Here’s what we learn of Toulon’s past on the tour: He was born in France in 1907 and eventually entered the family business of manufacturing, selling, and performing with puppets. At this point, Doreski points out that three of the museum’s puppets are missing – Kaiser aka Torch, Pinhead, and a new puppet called Amphibian. In this universe, Toulon fled to Germany after arrests in Paris, Norway, and Luxemborg and likewise fled to the US after the Third Reich surrendered. Toulon’s Nazi roots are underscored by his choice of victims as well as the paraphernalia and the remains of his library, a library that includes three books from Adolf Eichmann, author of the Reich’s “Final Solution”. After a pass through Toulon’s workshop, the tour concludes with an exterior shot of Toulon’s tomb, complete with spikes on top that do not go with the rest of the architecture.

Toulon's tomb in Puppet Master: The Littlest Reich (2018) / Fair use doctrine.

Andre Toulon’s tomb

And that’s the basic set up for the puppet mayhem.

Nelson Franklin and Charlyne Yi in Puppet Master: The Littlest Reich (2018) / Fair use doctrine.

Markowitz (Nelson Franklin) and Nerissa (Charlyne Yi )

Once the puppets are in town, they’re let loose on everyone. Primarily targeting people the Nazis did, the puppets do what they do best. I’ll not go into details about the kills, but I will say that they are a lot of fun. There are some creative kills with both the old puppets and the new additions, and the effects are a delight. Fear not, gorehounds, you will be satisfied. While I miss the older puppets that have been omitted, I’m pleased with the results of the new ones as well as the differences in how the traditional puppets are portrayed – something I honestly did not think I would like.

Alex Beh and Michael Pare in Puppet Master: The Littlest Reich (2018) / Fair use doctrine.

Hotel manager Howie (Alex Beh) and Det. Brown (Michael Paré)

The performances were top notch, and Udo Kier’s Toulon oozed skeeze and evil. Lennon, Pellicer, and Franklin are all excellent in their roles. Lennon’s performance is understated, but that works well for this story. Pellicer as the tough but sexy girl next door is both believable and likable, making the blossoming romance subplot less annoying than they usually are. Franklin holds his own with both and, to both Franklin’s and the movie’s credit, he’s not a caricature. Barbara Crampton (We Are Still Here ) is, as always, awesome and crushes every scene. Michael Paré (Village of the Damned (1995)) plays Detective Brown, the unlucky officer investigating the disappearance of multiple puppets brought to town for auction, and nails the role. In a delightful twist to the usual fare, when faced with puppets acting on their own, Paré’s detective goes with it. Rounding out the main cast are Alex Beh (Sugar) as hotel manager Howie, Charlyne Yi (House – TV series) as comic fan and waitress Nerissa, and Skeeta Jenkins (Summer of ’67) as bartender Cuddly Bear. All work well with this script and as an ensemble.

Skeeta Jenkins as Cuddly Bear in Puppet Master: The Littlest Reich (2018) / Fair use doctrine.

Skeeta Jenkins as Cuddly Bear

Puppet Master: The Littlest Reich was filmed at the same time as Puppet Master: Axis Termination, but the two could not be further apart in tone and execution. While Puppet Master: Axis Termination follows Toulon’s story as an opponent of the Nazis, Puppet Master: The Littlest Reich places Toulon in the Third Reich for this alternate universe. Written by S. Craig Zahler and directed by Sonny Laguna and Tommy Wiklund from characters created by Charles Band and Kenneth J. Hall, Puppet Master: The Littlest Reich is a worthy entry in the franchise. Indeed, given the last few movies in the original universe, this was a wise move and offers an entirely new storyline to explore. I’m looking forward to seeing what’s next.

Blade, Happy Amphibian, and Tunneler in Puppet Master: The Littlest Reich (2018) / Fair use doctrine.

Blade, Happy Amphibian, and Tunneler

8/10 claw scratches for this alternate universe Puppet Master reboot

BONUS: Puppet Gallery




Posted by Alan Smithee in MOVIE REVIEWS, REVIEWS, SCI-FI HORROR, SLASHERS AND BAD HUMANS, 0 comments
MOVIE REVIEW: Puppet Master: The Littlest Reich (2018)

MOVIE REVIEW: Puppet Master: The Littlest Reich (2018)

Puppet Master: The Littlest Reich (2018)Growing up, I always loved watching the Puppet Master movies. As I got older, I began to realize the movies didn’t make a whole lot of sense — then again, the movies are about killer puppets coming to life and Nazis wanting a secret formula to re-animate the dead.

Puppet Master: The Littlest ReichPuppet Master: The Littlest Reich

Puppet Master: The Littlest Reich is the latest film in the franchise and is a new branch to the storyline. The film is about a group of people meeting at a convention for the Andre Toulon Murders that took place in the late 80s. Naturally, the murders begin all over again. I was skeptical at first since I’m a huge Puppet Master fan and the pictures didn’t really convince me. I was especially disappointed in the new looks, but I sat down and watched the movie with an open mind.

Puppet Master: The Littlest ReichFirst, Puppet Master: The Littlest Reich is a great little flick and an excellent addition to the franchise with its new look and perfect balance of over-the-top gore. Yes, some of the original puppets are back some with new designs, and new puppets have been added to the group — including what appears to be a few toys. The story showcases a darker tone for not only the puppets that are clearly being controlled by Toulon but also for Toulon himself. Forget the loving, Nazi-fighting Toulon; this Toulon is much creepier. Udo Kier, who plays Toulon, has a very interesting take on the character, and Kier has definitely made his mark in the franchise.

Puppet Master: The Littlest Reich does have some humor but not enough to weaken the horror aspect or riddle the film with shock jokes. At first, it may seem like Puppet Master: The Littlest Reich didn’t cover all the ground, but from the looks of things, we may see a trilogy from this new branch of the Puppet Master storyline.

Overall, I say buy this movie if you’re a Puppet Master fan, and if you’re not, it’s a great movie to watch with friends and a good way to learn about what started this new direction.Puppet Master: The Littlest Reich (2018)

Posted by Jai Alexis in GORE OR EXTREME HORROR, NEW RELEASES, REMAKES AND REBOOTS, THRILLER, 0 comments
Trailer 2 for Victor Crowley Looks Bloody Amazing

Trailer 2 for Victor Crowley Looks Bloody Amazing

As a proud member of the Hatchet Army, I was beyond excited today to see the second official trailer for Victor Crowley come out. In a day of teen horror and enough paranormal movies to drown you, it is good to see a healthy dose of good ole campy slasher fun. You can never go wrong with that!!!

If you need a reminder, this is the fourth installment in the insane Hatchet series from director Adam Green. It picks up a decade later, lone survivor Andrew Yong’s (Parry Shen) claims that local legend Victor Crowley was responsible for the horrific massacre have been met with great controversy, but when a twist of fate puts him back at the scene of the tragedy, Crowley is mistakenly resurrected and Yong must face the bloodthirsty ghost from his past.

Victor Crowley

Just from the trailer alone, it looks to be the best sequel in my opinion. Reprising his role from the past movies is the indestructible Kane Hodder and new Hatchet Army recruits Felissa Rose (Sleepaway Camp) and Tiffany Shepis (Night of the Demons (2009)). I had a chance to talk to Felissa a bit about her experience with Adam and the Victor Crowley gang. In Felissa’s own words:

Victor Cowley is the best! It was magical, and Adam Green is my favorite and so grateful that he cast me. It’s a dream.

This film looks to give us all the best deaths and insane laughs you would expect from the series. It looks to be a great ride, and I cannot wait to do a full review when I get to watch it.

This blood-soaked party comes out on Blu-ray and VOD on February 6, 2018. Be sure to reserve yours now. Also, visit the official sites for more information.

Victor Crowley Blu-ray

Happy nightmares,
ZombieGurl

Posted by ZombieGurl in HORROR NEWS, NEW RELEASES, 0 comments
Halloween on the Small Screen?

Halloween on the Small Screen?

Michael's World - Slaughter On! Excellent!

By Woofer McWooferson

Michael Myers staring downstairs.

Michael Myers staring downstairs.

Michael Myers, one of the most recognized and beloved horror icons, may be moving to the small screen if rumors are true. Since Dimension Films lost control of the Halloween franchise, there has been much speculation as to what will be next for the iconic character. Halloween Returns, which was to be the next step in the Halloween franchise, has been shelved indefinitely and it its place come rumors of a limited series on television. (A limited series is one with a planned number of episodes rather than being open to continuing until nobody watches any longer.)

Michael Myers in the Closet

A closet won't stop Michael Myers.

According to Fangoria, who quote a European filmmaker who wishes to remain anonymous, the European Film Market may have been passed over to allow a limited series to be produced. Rumors are that it would be a three to five season series and would enable much more to be added to the Halloween story. The Fangoria article goes on to state:

“...as budget horror becomes a more and more of a rarity in Hollywood, Halloween's studio search might not have gone as smoothly as planned as Malek Akkad & Trancas still aim to keep up the franchise's costly, old-school production value; in other words, a micro-budget, day-and-date Halloween film might be off-the-table, which could give way to a Halloween series that could carry that cinematic production value."

Everything is still unconfirmed, but speculation abounds. Will it be a backstory? Will it be in between stories? There is a lot of room in the Halloween universe for Michael to maneuver, and we hope he takes full advantage of this.

Michael Myers looks down on everyone.

Michael Myers looks down on everyone.

Still, rumors of a Halloween television series is great news for fans of the 1978 classic (and its sequels, reboots, and retoolings). Despite not saying a word in the original Halloween, Michael Myers is one of the most well known horror and respected icons, and Halloween remains one of the most watched franchises in horror movie history.

House of Tortured Souls is ready for more Michael Myers on any screen. Are you? Let us know what you think. Is the small screen big enough for Michael Myers?

Posted by Alan Smithee in HORROR NEWS, 0 comments

Another… Nightmare Reboot

nightmare-on-elm-street1

The first A Nightmare on Elm Street was released in 1984, and in 2010 Samuel Bayer made the first reboot of the movie. Here it is 5 years later and yet another A Nightmare on Elm Street reboot is in on its way.

The script is, as we speak, in the hands of David Leslie Johnson, known for his 2009 movie Orphan. As it stands there is no info regarding the details of the movie (i.e. cast, plot, or release date). We are all eager to hear more in the matter, and we at House of Tortured Souls will keep you updated on the details as they become available.

Posted by John Roisland in HORROR NEWS, 0 comments