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retro puppet master
Full Moon Pictures

“Ilsa, this is Cyclops, Blade, Doctor Death, Drill Sergeant, Pinhead, and Six-Shooter.”

  • Andre Toulon’s days before he became the Puppet Master were spent running an avant-garde puppet theater in pre-World War I Paris and loving Ilsa, the beautiful daughter of the Swiss ambassador. When he witnesses the heinous murder of Afzel, an Egyptian sorcerer, who has stolen the “Secret of Life” from an ancient god, Sutekh, he is forced into a life and death struggle with the servants of Sutekh who have kidnapped Ilsa. In a final confrontation, Toulon and his Puppets must make a stand against the deathless power of an ancient god–in order to save the woman he loves.

You may think that, since I’m a well-established fan of cheesy horror movies, that I would be familiar with Full Moon Entertainment’s Puppet Master series. Set your collective faces to “stunned”, because I am not. Oh, I’ve seen the myriad of titles setting on the video shelves, and came close to checking one of them out on more than one occasion. I don’t know why I held off for so long to go down that particular franchise rabbit hole. Maybe due to my traditionalist sensibilities–Freddy, Jason and Pinhead as the unholy trinity, all others pale in comparison. That kind of thing.

We begin things in 1944 in Switzerland (according to Wikipedia, this movie takes place just after Puppet Master III: Toulon’s Revenge, in case that matters to continuity geeks), and the titular Puppet Master, Andre’ Toulon, is on the run with his little homicidal puppet friends. He stumbles upon the wooden head of one of his old puppets at an inn close to the Swiss border, and begins to wax nostalgic to his youth, circa 1902. The rest of the movie is a flashback to that time, beginning in Cairo, Egypt, where a really, really old Egyptian sorcerer named Afzel has stolen the secret of life (42, or something like that), and after taking out a couple of mummies dispatched by the Egyptian god Sutekh (Seth to his closest buddies) to steal it back, he sets off for Paris. As you do. Meanwhile, in Paris, a young Toulon is putting on a puppet show version of Dante’s Divine Comedy at a theater. In the attendance happens to be the daughter of an ambassador, who is obviously the forced love interest in this movie. Outside of the theater, Afzel is being beaten by a couple of thugs that were hired by a couple of other mummies dispatched by Sutekh to go after the fugitive, and is rescued by both the ambassador’s daughter and Toulon. Afzel decides to give Toulon the Secret to Life, by making his puppets come to life, resulting in the creation of Pinhead. After being roughed up by the Ambassador himself, Toulon returns to the theater to find the the mummies managed to break in and kill everyone inside, so he begins to put the victims’ souls inside his puppets. After another stand-off with the henchmen, he boards a train to escape, only the henchmen kidnap the ambassador’s daughter, so he takes his living puppets and goes to mount a rescue. A battle of…something ensue, Toulon taunts the henchmen with the sacred scroll containing the secret to life (I still say it has a big 42 scrawled on it), they fend them off, and Toulon and the girl rides away in the train together. Back to 1944, and the puppets re wondering what happened to the OG puppets, and then Toulon sets up some sequel baiting. The end.

Maybe Retro Puppet Master should not have been the one to watch as a first-time sampling of the franchise, but after watching this, I really have no desire to watch any of the other movies. I realize that Full Moon movies are generally cheesy low-budget fair, but most of the time, at least they’re somewhat entertaining. This movie, it was just painful to watch. Dull, uninspired, badly acted, and clunky. I’m going to pass on this franchise for now.

Movie Review: EVIL BONG 3- The Wrath Of Bong!

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 Full Moon Pictures

The Dudes are back! And this time, they’re right in the middle of a galactic stoner-horror comedy!! Larnell, Bachman, Brett and Alistair survived their battle with the dubious KING BONG. Now, they’ve set up shop, a head shop, in Venice Beach. Just as they think all of their troubles are behind them, an Alien Bong crash lands on earth and really starts to harsh their mellow. The guys can’t resist a toke and they are enslaved in the Alien Bong’s far out Bong World. where sexy Alien Chicks and other cosmic calamities await them. Enlisting the help of their arch enemies, Grandpa and the EVIL BONG, the Dudes must stop the Alien Bong before our planet goes totally up in smoke.

The only reason I have Evil Bong 3: The Wrath Of Bong! in my collection is because it was included in that 20 horror movie pack I got at Wal-Mart on a whim.  It was $5.  I knew the risks.  I understood that there were some rather nasty depth charges included in this sucker.  Matter of fact, one could argue that the entire collection is nothing but B-horror cheese, but that is neither here nor there with this review, so I shall digress.  For now.  Anyway…

To this day, I have not seen either the original Evil Bong, or the first sequel, Evil Bong 2.  I’m not even sure what the subtitle of Evil Bong 2 is.  Neither do I feel the need to seek out those two titles, regardless of my OCD screaming at me to complete the series.  Nope nope nope.  Not going to do it.  I even took my time getting to this one, really.  And now that I’ve watched Evil Bong 3: The Wrath Of Bong!, I have to say that I did experience the pain and lamented the loss of time used to watch this thing, I have to say on a certain level, Evil Bong 3 is actually kind of entertaining, on a mindless kinda level.  Really mindless.  I get the feeling that this may have been some kind of irreverent tongue-in-cheek kind of thing, with everything being so bloody over-the-top you can’t help but chuckle a bit and shake your head at the absurdity banding about in front of you.

Mind you, being the farthest thing from a “stoner”, things did get a bit overplayed for me.  Most of the jokes fell flat, the characters felt more like they came from a bad Canadian television program or something (if there’s anyone from Canada reading this…sorry, eh), and the groans of frustration came from me at an alarming rate.  Full Moon Entertainment, I realize, was never meant to be putting out quality movies, and they have a certain kind of charm in the pantheon of bad horror flicks, but if watching Evil Bong 3 was any indication, I’m going to have to pass on wasting my time and brain cells on the other two.