Monday 3 September 2018

Movie Review: PUPPET MASTER: The Littlest Reich (2018)

I haven't seen a Puppet Master film in a long time. I remember renting the first three on VHS when I was a teenager and absolutely loving them. In all honesty, the franchise had fallen off my radar. When I saw an advert online for a new instalment, I was very excited to check it out. I've also done a little bit of research and have found out that this is the 15th movie. I had heard that there had been some really shit, low-budget, straight to DVD sequels, but I didn't realise that there had been so many.

The Littlest Reich is a reboot of the classic franchise. It appears to have had a decent budget behind it, and both the acting and cinematography are way better than I expected them to be.


The story focuses around a recently divorced comic book artist who moves back to his parents' house and discovers an original Toulon doll in a box in his bedroom (Andre Toulon being the guy who made the puppets), which was owned by his deceased brother. Being short of cash, he decides to sell it at a convention celebrating 30 years of the death of Toulon. He brings along his new girlfriend and his nerdy Jewish boss from the comic shop. The event takes place at a hotel, and lots of the other guests have brought original puppets with them too. Basically, they come back to life and start committing hate crimes; killing gay people, Jews, black people and a gypsy. When the guests try to escape the hotel, the puppets stop discriminating and start killing everyone in various violent and extreme ways.

This new Puppet Master film is gleefully un-PC, and revels in the B-Movie gore and dark comedy that, no doubt, people are watching it for. There's plenty of sick humour and wantonly offensive scenes including a foetus being torn from a pregnant woman, and a Jewish couple being burned to death with a flame thrower. All of these vile deeds being performed by pint-sized Nazi puppets makes for glorious entertainment.

I did feel that the pacing was a little slow early on, but it did pick up. My other gripe, which is quite a serious one, is that the original puppets were created to kill Nazis and whoever their master commanded them to, and in this reboot, their maker and the puppets have been re-written as Nazis. These sorts of films work best when the killer is some form of an anti-hero. Watching actual Nazis kill minorities isn't as entertaining, as the viewer is no longer rooting for the bad guy (well, I hope not anyway). For example, everyone loves it in the Child's Play movies when Chucky kills a character who's a total prick. If he just went around killing people for being non-white or gay, Chucky wouldn't receive the love that he does. It's the same thing with the puppets in The Littlest Reich. In a way, it feels like a betrayal of the original characters.

Other than that, The Littlest Reich was an enjoyable, minimal brain-power, Horror romp. It was far from perfect, but overall was a success.


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