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John’s Horror Corner: Puppet Master: The Legacy (2003), this incredibly annoying eighth franchise installment serves as a nothing more than a review of the past movies with loads of stock footage

August 30, 2013

This movie poster should have depicted a photograph of the DVD boxed set with Puppet Master 1-7 fanned out like a poker hand because all we get here is a bunch of stock footage clips from these movies!

MY CALL:  This only succeeded at annoying me.  This eighth franchise installment serves as a review of the past movies with loads of stock footage.  Let this be a warning to franchise fans.  There is little original footage even though it’s only 70 minutes.  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 SIDEBARRetro Puppet Master (1999) introduced us to young Toulon in 1902. Puppet Master III (1991; set in 1941 and having the highest production value of the first three franchise installments) comes next and 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 IIPuppet Master 5 (1994) picks up right where part 4 ended and marks the most noticeable drop in quality of any other franchise installments.  Then, presumably taking place after part 5, Curse of the Puppet Master randomly happens and is difficult to link to the others.

Director Charles Band (forefather of Full Moon entertainment) takes the helm for the first time–for this eighth installment in the series that he breathed life into.  I assumed Band was trying to rescue the franchise from its ever-dropping quality after Puppet Master III: Toulon’s Revenge.  I was wrong.  This movie is nothing more than an assembled stock footage Franken-clip-show masquerading as a movie to earn Full Moon a few bucks.

In this story–if I dare to call it a story–some sort of agent-like criminal Maclain (Kate Orsini) will stop at nothing to get her hands on Toulon’s secret.  The scenes alternate between Maclain pursuit and flashbacks which are literally unmodified, full-length stock footage scenes from Retro Puppet Master and Puppet Master III: Toulon’s Revenge.

Here Maclain interrogates Peter, the little German boy who met Toulon in Puppet Master III.  Peter is all grown up and has somehow come into possession of Toulon’s puppets.

Most Amazon reviewers have suggested this include scenes from part 1-7.  Well, it’s mostly 3 and 7.  But it would have been much more interesting if it tied all of them together.

In these scenes we see Toulon (Guy Rolfe; Puppet Master III: Toulon’s Revenge, Puppet Master 4, Puppet Master 5: The Final Chapter, Retro Puppet Master) and his puppets Six-shooter (Parts 1, 4, 5, 6 and 7), Blade (Parts 1, 2, 4, 5, 6 and 7), Pinhead (8 movie veteran), Tunneler (8 movie veteran), Jester (8 movie veteran), Leech Woman (Parts 1, 2, 3, 6 and 7), Torch (Parts 3 and 5), Cyclops (Part 7) and Dr. Death (Part 7).

This overuse of stock footage borders on offensive.  Most of the movie’s running time is composed of scenes from other movies!  Now, sometimes a few “part 1” stock footage scenes can work wonders for viewers of a “part 2” in need of catching up.  Whereas this movie just seems to offer some documentarian chronology to the events of the franchise’s movies, which were not at all released in chronological order. The “new” scenes involving the Maclain character amount to mere minutes.

Can I say one good thing about this?  Well…actually yes.  We get a nice highlights reel of stop-motion effects and the better kill scenes.  Let’s try to forget this movie ever happened and remember some of the good times…

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