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John’s Horror Corner: Puppet Master 5 (1994)

April 13, 2013

MY CALL:  Part 5 marks the most noticeable drop in quality of any other franchise installments and is the first of the series that I might suggest you skip.  It’s just more of part 4 with almost none of the fun.  IF YOU LIKE THIS WATCHPuppet Master (1989), Puppet Master II (1991; the most slapstick crazy of the first three), Puppet Master III (1991) and Puppet Master 4 (1993).  Also try Ghoulies (1985) and Ghoulies II (1988).  SEQUEL SIDEBARPuppet Master III (1991; set in 1941 and having the highest production value of the first three franchise installments) is actually a prequel to Puppet Master (1989), which occurs decades later in present day and is seamlessly followed story-wise by Puppet Master II (1991; which was the least serious, most zany installment).  Puppet Master 4 (1993) returns us to present day after Puppet Master II.  Part 5 picks up right where part 4 ended.

In Puppet Master 4, B-horror sequel director Jeff Burr (Pumpkinhead II: Blood Wings, Leatherface: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre III, Stepfather 2) introduced us to a silly new villain and an even sillier premise: some netherworld demon lord named Sutec was sending gremlins after the now-turned-good puppets and anyone who knew their secret of eternal life.  The movie ended with a blatant revelation to the audience that a sequel was planned before this movie even hit the shelves.  So, with part 5, the story continues.
Dumb scene.

Robot and artificial intelligence engineer Rick (Gordon Currie; Friday the 13th Part VIII, The Terror Within II, Puppet Master 4), now wrongly charged with the murders of his friends and co-workers, reviews the events of Puppet Master 4 wherein he learned about Andre Toulon (Guy Rolfe; Puppet Master III, Puppet Master 4 and Retro Puppet Master, Dolls, The Bride), reanimation, the demon lord Sutec and the puppets.
Dumb demon lord.

As Rick makes bail and rejoins his girlfriend Susie (Chandra West; White Noise, Puppet Master 4), Sutec is reanimating his apparently dead demon “son” in a ritual that intermittently eats up the first 30 minutes of the movie, metaphysicist and psychic-channeler Lauren (Teresa Hill; Puppet Master 4) is in critical condition in the hospital and sending telepathic instant messages to Rick’s computer, and the guy who bailed Rick out of jail leads a team of goons to find the puppets so that they can profit from them.  It all moves along pretty slow (unlike all of the other Puppet Master installments).
Dumb demon lord’s son.

The goons looking for the puppets provide the kill fodder in this movie. They encounter puppets who pick them off and hit them in the nuts with meat tenderizers, and find nether-gremlin demons which suck their souls in the name of Sutec.  We also see Sutec’s “child,” which is really just another gremlin but with a necklace and the added ability to teleport (I suppose) through solid objects.  This little fiend seems hardly more menacing than the gremlins from Puppet Master 4.

The puppets featured in this movie include Pinhead, Tuneler and Jester (all five movie veterans), Six-Shooter (from parts 1 and 4), Torch (from part 3, but strangely not part 4) and Decaptiron (from part 4), who gets a brand new head attachment and continues to deliver Toulon’s awkward messages from beyond the grave–I think.  However, I’m confused as to whether Toulon is a spirit, or still reanimated from part 2, or what.  We saw him skulking around the hotel in part 4, but also sending his spiritual messages through Decapitron.  Hmmm?
Torch returns!
Jester and Pinhead
Jester, Blade and Torch
Toulon…or Decapitron…both? Eh, screw it!

The final showdown between the puppets and the sorcery-wielding son of Sutec is nothing special. Although, Six-Shooter gets some great stop-motion gun slinging action.  They aimed for a climax, but any cartoon episode pitting Mum-Ra against the Thundercats would prove much more exciting.  The closing scene is similarly cheesy and lame.

Eh, you could skip it.  I love a lot of lame horror and I barely got through this.  However, I did it without the entertainment support of friends and beer.

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