Thursday, 2 January 2014
Puppet Master 6 (1998)
Full Moon Entertainment intended Puppet Master 5 to be the end of the franchise. They stuck to that intent for four years, which is a lot better than the Friday the 13th people managed. Eventually, however, the decision was made to restart the series, and the sixth film, subtitled Curse of the Puppet Master, emerged.
The gap in production had both good and bad implications for this film. Good, because the script here seems to have recovered some of the verve that was entirely missing from the 5th movie. Bad, because Full Moon had lost their distribution deal with Paramount in the mean time, which significantly reduced their budget. The surprisingly-good-for-a-budget-movie puppetry effects of the previous films are absent from this one (or appear only via archive footage), with much more simplistic - and cheaper - techniques in use. Sadly, this makes the puppets seem far more ... well, like ordinary puppets, rather than the living ones they are supposed to be.
The story this time follows 'Tank', an orphan with a gift for wood carving. He's hired by the seemingly benign Dr Magrew to carve the 440 pieces needed for a new puppet, one that will live, just as the Blade, Pinhead and Leech Woman live. How the living puppets of Toulon got into Magrew's possession is something of a continuity conundrum, since that means this has to be set before Puppet Master 2, but the puppets were supposed to be hidden in a secret wall space for all that time. Continuity: still not something the series is going to pay any attention to. Anyway, Magrew has a beautiful daughter, and she and Tank starts to hit it off. Which saddens the Doc, since the final piece of the new puppet will be Tank's soul. Oopsie.
This film delivers plenty of schlocky fun during its length, though I did find myself really missing the better effects work of the earlier films. Still, if you are in the mood for something bombastically silly, but with a dark edge, this isn't a bad option.