Curse of the Puppet Master (1998)

Let me start this off by saying that I own 9 of the currently 13 Puppet Master movies. I have also never watched any of them. So of course I totally decided to hop in in the midst of the sewage that is any long-running horror franchise post-“final chapter” film. Can you think of a better way to do it?

In Puppet Master 6, the puppets find themselves in the hands of Dr. Magrew, who runs a cabinet of curiosities and believes the puppets represent the absolute perfect being. To this aim, he hires a local orphan nicknamed Tank who is perhaps mentally challenged but a savant with a carving knife and has him create a puppet. Unfortunately Tank has some enemies in a group of local douche bag bullies, and he’s also incredibly muscular in a way that Dr. Magrew’s daughter is totally into. Plus there’s a jerk sheriff who thinks Dr. Magrew may be involved in his previous assistant’s disappearance, and he’s not above committing a few acts of police brutality to prove it.

There are numerous problems with this movie. First and foremost, it spends all its time focusing on the budding relationship between Tank and Dr. Magrew’s daughter…a relationship I do not care about and find somewhat creepy and awkward. Tank comes across like that Simple Jack joke in Tropic Thunder, and I kept expecting him to swat at butterflies with a mallet and ask why his eyes rain. Yes, it is that bad.

Second, not only are the puppets more in the background, but they only get to kill a few people. This horror movie has a body count of 4 officially, and it ends as the fourth person is dying. While the deaths are on the bloody side, they’re over pretty quick and for the most part performed by the puppets Blade and Tunneler…though Jester joins in on one, apparently making it the first time he ever actually kills someone. Still, the highlight of this one is Tunneler teaching one of the douche bag bullies why he shouldn’t rape by going straight for his groin. Now that’s some penetration right there, folks.

So yeah, creepy relationships, few deaths, and poor pacing hamper this one. But what about the puppets? Well, this one only has the classics: Blade, Tunneler, Leech Woman, Jester, and Pinhead are here, along with Six Shooter. Torch and Decapitron are officially out of the series at this point. There are two new puppets, but one is a throw away to reveal what happened to the old assistant.

The other new puppet is the main introduction for the story, the one that Tank was building and then supposedly gets turned into…and it has some serious problems. I watched Tank build this puppet throughout the movie. I watched him carve its feet, work on its legs, and shape its wooden body. So how in the hell did it end up with tank treads and a TV screen for a head? Having seen pictures of the various puppets over the years, I am happy to report that the Tank puppet is the dumbest design of the series.

Now if you will indulge me in some rage for a moment on this puppet’s design, WHAT THE HELL?! HE CARVED FREAKING FEET FOR IT! YOU SHOWED US THAT HE WAS CARVING FEET!

Anyway, Tank fights with magical shitty post-production lightning. It looks like the kind of lightning you would find on a Geocities website next to a bunch of spinning unicorn gifs. Class of 1999 showed us a late 1990s that could have been. This was the actual late ’90s that we got. Tank is the AOL of the Puppet Master series: somebody at the time thought this was a good idea and now everyone universally recognizes it was shit.

I look forward to watching more Puppet Master movies in the future…and making fun of them.

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