Monday, July 30, 2018

Fantasia Film Festival 2018: PUPPET MASTER: THE LITTLEST REICH

Running Time: 1hr 24min
Release Date: July 21, 2018 (Fantasia Fest), Aug 17 (theatrical/VOD)
Written by: S. Craig Zahler
Directed by: Sonny Laguna, Tommy Wiklund

Review by: Stacey

Man, I have such fond memories of renting the earlier titles on VHS when I was a little gal and not so much being scare of them, but being fun-scared! Is that a thing? Well, I'm making it a thing! You know what I mean, though? The puppets were murderous and ugly and creepy and I should have been TERRIFIED of them flat out, but they were also almost like the anti-heroes and at times I would find myself rooting for them.

It doesn't seem like that's the case in Puppet Master: The Littlest Reich, however. The master, Toulon (played by none other than Udo Kier), was an evil one this time around, and his minions followed suit, killing innocent (for the most part) people. At the writing helm was S. Craig Zahler who was responsible for films like Bone Tomahawk and Brawl in Cell Block 99, so I knew it was going to be a bloody good time.

In a re-imagining of the Full Moon classic, Puppet Master: The Littlest Reich follows newly divorced, Edgar (Thomas Lennon), who finds an old Blade puppet in his dead brother's possessions and decides to try and sell it at a convention that commemorates the "Toulon Murders". Tagging along with him are his girlfriend, Ashley (Jenny Pellicer), and his boss Markowitz (Nelson Franklin) who all soon find out that the puppets are alive and out for blood.

Holy shit, I need to tell y'all that this movie is politically incorrect and totally offensive. I mean, what do you expect from a movie about Nazis puppets?? In any case, it's fun as hell and totally violent and gory! If you've been a fan of the series, than you know exactly what you're going to get- the movie doesn't exp. If you're a newbie, well, I suggest going back and watching the first few to better acclimate to the batshit show you're going to watch.

With Tate Steinsiek as the head of the prosthetic makeup dept (and many other awesome folks at work), the kills were totally over the top. Once the killings started, they didn't stop and got even crazier as the movie progressed. No one was safe- not even children! The gore was nicely paired with a score that was done by none other than Fabio Frizzi (and Richard Band) who is best known for his work on some Fulci classics like Zombie, City of the Living Dead, and The Beyond.

In The Littlest Reich (and with most horror movies), you had the good guys, the villians, and the cannon fodder. What I loved was that everyone in the movie had something fun to offer, even down to the minor characters; from Udo Kier's villianous ways, Markowitz's metal-loving quips, to Cuddly Bear's (Skeeta Jenkins) gentle giant attitude. Beloved horror staple Barbara Crampton even shows up as tour guide/security guard, Carol Doreski.

Don't expect to see all of our beloved puppet buddies we knew from the first films (I have a love/hate relationship with the Leech Woman). While we get to see Blade, Tunneler, and Pinhead make appearances, the main players seem to be newer (but memorable) guys like Torch, Mechaniker, and first-timer Happy Amphibian. Hopefully there'll be a 14th entry to the series and we can see more of the puppets we know and love.

There are plenty of flaws to pick out here, of course, but I think if you're well aware of what you're getting into, you're going to a blast with this one. So go see it when it comes out because we need more of these!


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