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Film: Puppetmaster

"A box of little toys has just become a gang of little terrors. This is not child's play..."
— Tagline

Puppet Master is a low-budget, direct-to-video horror film produced by Charles Band in 1989 by Empire Pictures, but released through Band's then-new company Full Moon Entertainment (with distribution by Paramount). It is considered a Cult Classic and the company's breakout film, as eight sequels were made.

The series mostly revolves around a group of puppets created by Andre Toulon. Andre found a secret Egyptian spell back in the 1930s which can bring things back to life. He used it on his puppets and sure enough, they were now alive. Nazis discover the spell and trail Andre all the way to America where he successfully hid the puppets and killed himself. When the puppets are finally released, they'll obey a certain person under their command unless their new master takes things too far.

Needless to say, the series is campy, yet charming to most viewers and fan support has eventually led the first and latest films to be released on Blu-Ray in June 2010.

It was followed by a series of sequels and a crossover:
  • Puppet Master II (1991)
  • Puppet Master III: Toulon's Revenge (1991)
  • Puppet Master 4(1993)
  • Puppet Master 5: The Final Chapter (1994)
  • Puppet Master 6: Curse of the Puppet Master (1998)
  • Puppet Master 7: Retro Puppet Master (1999)
  • Puppet Master 8: The Legacy (2003)
  • The Puppet Master vs. Demonic Toys(2004, crossover movie with Demonic Toys)
  • Puppet Master 9: Axis of Evil (2010)
  • Puppet Master X: Axis Rising (2012)

This film series provides examples of:

  • The Ageless: Applies to both the puppets and any human the spell is cast upon.
  • Anatomy Arsenal: A good number of the puppets.
  • Anti-Hero (type IV): Andre Toulon in part III, who uses his puppets to take bloody revenge on the Nazis
  • Asshole Victim: The "Indiana Jones" kid in part II and Cameron in part 4; Joey in Curse Of The Puppet Master
  • Back from the Dead: Neil Gallagher in the first and Andre Toulon in the second.
  • Berserk Button: The puppets seem to turn on their masters if they become too evil.
    • Two times the puppets seem to turn on their master after he/she harms Jester.
  • Blade Below the Shoulder: Blade.
  • Butt Monkey: Jester seems to be this.
  • Canon Discontinuity: Though how it had to be acquired varied, the method to powering the puppets seemed to basically be brain juice up until Retro Puppet Master. From there it seemed to change to tiny amounts of Blood.
  • Clip Show: The majority of Puppet Master: The Legacy
  • Continuity Nod: Puppet Master vs. Demonic Toys makes reference to the Toulon puppets fighting the Nazis in WWII, as was the plot of part 3. Though it's a big part of the series history, this is special as it turns out to be one of the few times continuity is acknowledged in Puppet Master vs. Demonic Toys.
  • The Dragon: Blade is mentioned to be the de facto leader of the puppets, second only to their master/creator.
  • Final Girl
    • Megan in original.
    • Carolyn in second.
    • Lauren and Suzie in fourth, later Suzie become final girl in The Final Chapter
    • Jane in Curse of the Puppet Master
    • Elsa was this in Retro Puppet Master
    • Beth in Axis of Evil and Axis Rising
    • Alexandra in crossover
  • Five-Bad Band
  • Groin Attack: Tunneler drills Joey in the crotch in Curse of the Puppet Master.
  • Happy Harlequin Hat: Jester wears one.
  • Hey, It's That Guy!:
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Dr Magrew in Curse of the Puppet Master after he turns Robert into Tank.
  • Hook Hand: For Blade
  • Immortality Immorality: Neil Gallagher, though he was allegedly just as bad before.
  • Kill It with Fire: Torch
    • The fate of Leech Woman in Part II.
  • Living Toys
  • Marionette Master
  • My Death Is Just the Beginning: Toulon kills himself in part 1, and his seems made to occupy one of the puppets in parts 4 and 5. Convenient or deliberate?
  • Negative Continuity: Oh GOD. Applies to how the puppets got away from Camille Kenney after Part II, how the puppets got from Rick Myers to Peter Hertz between Part 5 and The Legacy, how the puppets got back to Bodega Bay Inn following Curse of the Puppet Master, and most recently how they got back to Bodega Bay Inn between the events of Axis of Evil and the parts of the first film taking place in the present. Theories abound, but fans are pretty sure that the filmmakers just don't care.
    • Interestingly Fanon prior to Legacy made some sense, assuming that Curse came after Part II so the puppets didn't have to make 2 off-screen trips back to the Bodega Bay Inn
    • Nevermind the whereabouts of particular puppets between films, such as Six Shooter being made in the third film, which chronologically takes place before both the first and second movies but never showing up in them and many other such oddities.
  • No Ontological Inertia: In II, Toulon's reanimated body disintegrates back into a moldering corpse as soon as he possesses something else.
  • Nothing Is Scarier: Whatever Tunneler did to Carissa in the first movie. We know it involved her face, and she was still alive for a few moments after he stopped. When we see Carissa's corpse later on, her entire lower jaw is covered with leeches.
  • The Obi-Wan: Toulon's "ghost" residing in the Decapitron puppet to Rick Myers in the 4th and 5th films
  • Puppet Permutation: The plot of the sixth film, Curse of the Puppet Master. In the end, the antagonist succeeds.
  • Pyro Maniac: Torch
  • Series Mascot: Blade is the face of the series. Often times when you see a horror montage, collage, etc., with Puppet Master included, the other puppets + masters aren't gonna show up.
  • Shout-Out: The series contains a green formula that gives the puppets life. In 1985, the same producer was responsible for the Re-Animator film.
    • The Blade puppet was designed after Klaus Kinski.
    • In the second movie, Toulon is constantly wrapped in bandages akin to The Invisible Man.
  • Slashed Throat: What a way to go for Dana Hadley.
  • Sudden Sequel Death Syndrome: Megan Gallagher, offscreen
    • Disappointingly, Rick Myers in Puppet Master: The Legacy, also offscreen
  • Take That: Given how close their release years were, the films tagline seems a dig at the similar Child's Play series.
  • Too Dumb to Live: In the third film, the entire plot is kicked off because Toulon thought it was a good idea that put on a public show that made fun of Adolf Hitler. In Germany. During 1941.
  • Thanatos Gambit: Afzel takes his own life in Retro, seemingly just to unnerve his would-be assassins.
  • This Is a Drill: Tunnelers gimmick.
  • Translation Convention: In Puppet Master III.
  • Versus Title: Puppet Master vs. Demonic Toys
  • What Could Have Been: Decapitron was a movie about a murderous robot that Charles Band was developing in the late '80s. While the project fell apart later on, Band liked the character so much that he got integrated as a puppet in the later Puppetmaster films.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: The oriental puppet in the beginning of the first film. Although he was placed in the trunk with the other puppets, he was never seen again. Not even in the sequels.
    • There's also the maid of the Gallaghers in the first film. After being killed by Pinhead, she is revived by Neil Gallagher and shown briefly guarding one of the exits. After that, she's never seen again. You think a zombie maid would be a cause for alarm.
    • This applies to the human-puppetized Camille Kenney, who rode off into the sunset to kill kids at the end of part 2, the puppets in cages in the back of her truck.
    • And whatever happened to the Retro Puppets?


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