Director: Jeff Burr
Starring: Gordon Currie, Chandra West, Ian Ogilvy, a load of puppets
“You do see my problem, don’t you? You are asking an awful lot of me. A little monster, an agency or cult protecting some ancient magic… you must admit it is rather fantastic.” (Jennings, Puppet Master 5: The Final Chapter)
You can’t have a successful horror film series without at least one entry boldly (and falsely) claiming it’s the final one.
The sixth Nightmare On Elm Street film, Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare, was succeeded by three more films starring the finger-gloved freak.
Even better, Friday The 13th: The Final Chapter – the fourth film in the series – was actually far from the final chapter, with Jason appearing in eight subsequent movies.
So too, then, was the case with Full Moon Pictures’ cult series Puppet Master which claimed this, the fifth film in as many years, was to be the last. Continue reading “Puppet Master 5: The Final Chapter (1994) review”
Director: David DeCoteau
Starring: Morgan Fairchild, Brian Bremer, Christopher Wolf, Sara Suzanne Brown, Michele Matheson, Don Dowe
Also known as: Virgin Hunters
“We come from your future. Our mission here is to prevent a corporate takeover of the planet, and the banning of sex between consenting adults.” (Naldo, Test Tube Teens From The Year 2000)
Let’s face it, even if you don’t know anything about this film you already know why I decided to watch and review it.
Yes, I’m a sucker for a great film title, and if my rating at the end of each review was based on titles alone this little beauty would find itself in the Hall Of Fame with gusto.
Sadly however, the film itself doesn’t quite live up to the heady expectations set by its name – how could it ever expect to? – and as such the number of Trevor Moorhouse heads you see at the bottom is lower than one would have hoped.
Here’s another thing I didn’t expect: it turns out that rather than the comedy sci-fi film I was expecting, this is actually supposed to be a softcore porn film. Oh. Continue reading “Test Tube Teens From The Year 2000 (1994) review”
Director: David DeCoteau
Starring: Guy Rolfe, Richard Lynch, Ian Abercrombie, Aron Eisenberg
“Herr Toulon has developed a method of animating his puppets without string. It’s as if they were alive.” (Lt Stein, Puppet Master III)
When you’ve got a film about killer toys you can only go so far with it before the concept loses all sense of terror.
The minds behind the Child’s Play films realised this by the end of the serious-but-iffy third film, following it up with the more comedy-focused Bride Of Chucky instead.
Full Moon, the studio behind the Puppet Master series, realised it sooner than this. By the end of Puppet Master II, in which the killer puppets are double-crossed by their evil owner, the audience is expected to start feeling sympathy for them.
Puppet Master III, then, takes things one step further and makes the puppets outright good guys. A horror film in which the killer dolls are the heroes? Who could the villains possibly be, other than Nazis or something? Continue reading “Puppet Master III: Toulon’s Revenge (1991) review”
Director: David Allen
Starring: Elizabeth Maclellan, Collin Bernsen, Steve Welles, Greb Webb
“No one escapes.” (Andre Toulon, Puppet Master II)
I’ve got a bit of a soft spot for the Puppet Master series, as you’ll already know if you read my review of the first film a while back.
This second outing for Full Moon Pictures’ wooden wonders offers more of the same, with stop-motion puppetry, supernatural skullduggery and sub-standard acting the order of the day.
The movie begins with our anti-heroes, still living at the Bodega Bay Inn, facing a dilemma. You see, the reason they’re alive in the first place is because their titular puppet master, Andre Toulon, developed a serum that could bring life to inanimate objects.
The problem is, the serum’s running out, and Andre Toulon pebble-dashed a wall with his brains in the ’40s when he shot himself to avoid capture by the Nazis, so if they can’t get any more serum soon they’ll be a bit fucked. Continue reading “Puppet Master II (1990) review”
Director: David Schmoeller
Starring: Paul Le Mat, William Hickey, Irene Miracle, Jimmie F Skaggs, Robin Frates, Matt Roe
“Metaphysically speaking, I killed myself.” (Neil, Puppet Master)
Over the past few months many of my reviews have been dedicated to films by Full Moon, one of my favourite B-movie studios.
Full Moon were responsible for a raft of low-budget 80s and 90s horror films and while the majority were as atrocious as you’d expect (hence exhibits A, B, C, D and E here), every so often they’d come up trumps with a gem.
Puppet Master is one such film, one that proved so successful it spawned a total of nine sequels. Naturally, reviews of these will come in time but for now let’s start at the beginning. Continue reading “Puppet Master (1989) review”
Director – Ted Nicolau
Starring – Paul Hipp, Martha Quinn, Michael Huddleston
“This son of a bitch is crazier than a tree full of owls!” (Peanut, Bad Channels)
There have been countless retellings of The Boy Who Cried Wolf over the years, but very few have featured extraterrestrials invading a radio station. The DJ Who Called Alien, if you will.
If you’ve long craved this needlessly specific type of tale then Bad Channels is your low-budget fix.
Paul Hipp stars as Dan O’Dare, a radio shock-jock who’s trying to rebuild his career after a previous stunt got him suspended by the radio authorities.
Starting again at the bottom, Dan finds himself working in the middle of nowhere at fledgling radio station Super Station 66. Continue reading “Bad Channels (1992) review”
Director: Albert Pyun
Starring: Megan Ward, Peter Billingsley, John De Lancie, Seth Green, AJ Langer, Sharon Farrell
KID – “Who gives a fuck about Arcade anyway?”
ARCADE – “Try saying that to my FACE.”
In 1992, the movie version of The Lawnmower Man showed the potential dangers of virtual reality, and how it could be used to give someone enough power to take over cyberspace. Even though it couldn’t.
One year later, Arcade gave its own spin on the story, instead showing how virtual reality video games had the ability to come alive and trap children inside their circuit boards. Even though they didn’t.
Yes folks, we’re dealing with another brilliant cheesefest from the “fuck it, let’s go with that” minds of Full Moon, my favourite B-movie studio.
Continue reading “Arcade (1993) review”
Director: Stuart Gordon
Starring: Carrie Lorraine, Ian Patrick Williams, Carolyn Purdy-Gordon, Guy Rolfe, Hilary Mason, Stephen Lee, Bunty Bailey, Cassie Stewart
RALPH – “You know, I can remember every toy I had as a kid.”
GABRIEL – “And they remember you, Ralph. Toys are very loyal, and that is a fact.”
This may appear to be your fairly bog-standard review of a cheesy ’80s horror film, but for me this review is a confrontation of my childhood fears and a firm “up yours” to many a sleepless night.
You see, when I was a young sprog of around five or six, I used to go with my dad to the local library to rent videos. Usually I’d end up with something suitably child-friendly but for at least a year there was a cardboard standee in the corner that used to scare the living piss out of me.
The offending display simply showed the poster image you see to the side of this text. The word ‘Dolls‘, along with an image of a doll holding its eyeballs in the air. It was also accompanied by the UK VHS tagline: “They want to play with you”.
Continue reading “Dolls (1987) review”
Directors: Albert Band, Charles Band
Starring: Jeffrey Combs, Yvette Nipar, Brian Thompson, Jay Acovone
“Before this is over, I will drink your blood and feed on your flesh, and it will taste sweet.” (Kabal, Doctor Mordrid)
The story goes that indie studio Full Moon had originally done a deal with Marvel Comics to make a film adaptation of its Dr Strange comics. However, negotiations fell apart at the last minute and so an extensive rewrite was needed.
The result was Doctor Mordrid, a film that doesn’t share an awful lot with Marvel’s hero other than his titular medical qualifications. That’s not to say it doesn’t still have a degree of charm, though.
Doctor Anton Mordrid has been living in New York for 150 years, waiting for the promised return of the evil Kabal (Brian Thompson, best known for playing an alien bounty hunter in The X-Files), who a prophecy dictates will eventually break out of his dimensional space castle prison cell and come to Earth. Seriously. Continue reading “Doctor Mordrid (1992) review”
Director: Albert Band
Starring: Don Michael Paul, Barbara Crampton, James Staley, Lisa Rinna, Danny Kamekona
DRAKE – “It’s getting ugly out here chief, request surface troops on the double.”
LT PLUNKETT – “Request denied. Stop acting like a weak sister.”
As you may have guessed, this review isn’t about the 1998 BBC TV show in which Craig Charles commentated while a bunch of pale recluses battled their own custom-made robots, before fidgeting nervously as the producers cruelly get a beautiful woman to try and get an excruciating interview out of them.
No, this is yet another low-budget offering by beloved B-movie studio Full Moon, this time pitting two massive mechanical monstrosities against each other while the filmmakers cruelly get a beautiful woman to try and solve a mystery in the process.
So you see, it’s very different. Except for the big robots and the beautiful woman. And the cruelty. Continue reading “Robot Wars (1993) review”