Sunday, October 15, 2017

In October of 1993, the month Vincent Price died, I still specifically remember it. Uncanny how the mind works, but that day he died, I can recall it, feeling as if a significant sadness of it (and its significance to the month, of course) was quite attached to his passing. But it was also a significant point in my life as a developing horror fan. Sci-fi channel showed that month some of the famous horror films of the last few decades. Two on the schedule weren’t as necessarily significant as Evil Dead or even Phantasm, but nonetheless Puppet Master (1989) & Puppet Master II (1991) were part of the line-up that changed my life forever. Okay, anytime you have changed my life forever, it could be seen as more than a bit overdramatic, but I can say that Sci-fi Channel did show some movies on that schedule that put me on the path of the horror fan that continues today some 24 years later. Puppet Master has a collection of psychics (Paul LeMat, Irene Miracle, Matt Roe, Kathryn O’Reilly) gathered at a hotel where a famous puppeteer committed suicide (William Hickey) to avoid Nazis, called on by a former associate to meet him there. This associate (Jimmie Skaggs) is actually a really monstrous scumbag looking to learn of the secrets of Andre Toulon so he can live forever. If puppets can move about and kill, why can’t Skaggs? His lovely wife (Robin Frates) offered the hotel to Skaggs after he endears himself to her during a time of real tragedy involving the death of her parents (later learned during Skaggs’ reveal that he killed them to get them out of the way). She tells the group that her husband killed himself, yet his body keeps popping up in seated positions in chairs. And LeMat keeps dreaming about him dancing with his wife, white mask on, pulling a gun as if to kill her. But the lure of the film are the creative killer marionettes and David Allen’s find stop motion effects.

Then the sequel brings about a foursome of paranormal investigators to study the hotel, soon encountering the same killer dolls, including a new one with a blow torch on its arm and bullets for teeth. In the sequel Toulon is brought back to life by the same fluid that allows the dolls to move about…they need him to keep them strong. He has them going after a specific part of the brain, encased in human victims they will kill. Meanwhile Toulon hides behind wraps, eye goggles, a fedora, black cape and gloves…he does obviously favor the Invisible Man (and looks cool, I thought). He engages rather awkwardly with the paranormal investigators while they are picked off one by one by the killer dolls.

 Out of both films, LeMat is clearly the most recognizable actor for his earlier work (Demme’s Melvin and Howard, Lucas’ American Graffiti, and the sci-fi cult film, Strange Invaders), while the remainder of both casts mainly disappeared after some minor film and television work (Miracle, I know being an Argento fan, starred in Inferno (1980)). I personally enjoy these films for the location (the sequel branches out into a nearby neighbors’ minor homestead where a hick couple are selected for their brains), although the cliff overlooking the ocean isn’t nearly taken advantage of for its scenic beauty and the hotel is ideal for the dolls to scurry around. Blade with his hook and knife (and pale complexion) continues to be the catchy killer doll, while Tunneler and Torch do the most visceral damage. Leech woman drops leeches and Pinhead (with his big fists) pummels faces. Still, I think Stuart Gordon’s Dolls (1987) is much better that any of the Puppet Master films. And, actually, I like the third film out of the entire ridiculously long franchise probably best, although I think the first film is probably the most cinematic. Definitely Allen’s work with the dollis moving and their abilities to kill is the highlight of both films. The very month Price died, I became a lifelong horror fan.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Franky

Franky

drac 31

drac 31

Cushing as..

Cushing as..

Most Popular Posts

Ahs

Ahs

Edc

Edc
Blog's Dead all Over
"... perhaps we invent artificial terrors to cope with the real ones."

--host, Donald Pleasence, Terror in the Aisles (1984)

Sbut

Sbut
Snip. Snip

Hal

Hal
There are many things under the sun
---Dr. Werdegast, The Black Cat

hal1

It's Halloween, everyone's entitled to one good scare.

Jtm 2

Jtm 2

Rave

Rave

Mrub

Mrub

Gb

"Back off, man. I'm a scientist."

--Ghostbusters

sm6

sm6

Rv1

Rv1

Nas

Nas

nos3

nos3

Lok

Lok

Po

Po

Ra6

Ra6

dawn

dawn

Dracula's Daughter ('36)

Countess Zaleska: Be thou exorcised oh Dracula, and thy body long undead find destruction throughout eternity in the name of thy dark unholy Master.

mh2

mh2

z2

z2

Hiii

Hiii

Fred

Fred

Ghspo

Ghspo
Movie, so-so, but poster, cool

Enl

Enl

nos4

nos4

gm

To a new world of gods and monsters!


No 2

No 2
Jason Lives

clothes line

clothes line

Ahorr

Ahorr

Cbi1

Cbi1
Case of the bloody iris

Wsha

Wsha

Mouth3

Mouth3
In the Mouth of Madness

Fdfn2

Fdfn2
Freddy's Dead '91

Vyr

Vyr
Vampyres 1974

Sh fr

Sh fr
Friday the 13th Part 2

Vlov

Vlov
Carmilla's kiss

f133

f133

Edpos

Edpos

Ttf2

Ttf2

Jm2

Jm2
El Hombre Lobo

Psycho '60

It's sad, when a mother has to speak the words that condemn her own son. But I couldn't allow them to believe that I would commit murder. They'll put him away now, as I should have years ago. He was always bad, and in the end he intended to tell them I killed those girls and that man... as if I could do anything but just sit and stare, like one of his stuffed birds. They know I can't move a finger, and I won't. I'll just sit here and be quiet, just in case they do... suspect me. They're probably watching me. Well, let them. Let them see what kind of a person I am. I'm not even going to swat that fly. I hope they are watching... they'll see. They'll see and they'll know, and they'll say, "Why, she wouldn't even harm a fly..."

Kife

Kife
Knife is calling, Psycho 2

Meg

Meg
Meg Tilly, Psycho II

ring 2

ring 2
the ring 2002, "the tape"

poster

poster

exor1

exor1
"the visitor" The Exorcist (1973)

Conj

Conj

Tz1

Tz1
"Masks", Twilight Zone

In the kitchen, The Shape

In the kitchen, The Shape
In the kitchen, The Shape

exc4

exc4

Ps56

Ps56

Hun

Hun
Murders in the Rue Morgue 1932

Ps89

Ps89

Cof

Cof
Victor and Paul, with their Monster

pcushig

pcushig

His

His

Efny

Efny

sus

sus
I'm going to grind you down to blood and screams.

--Innocent Blood 1992
Rest in Peace, Robert Loggia

wb

Even a man who is pure in heart and says his prayers by night, may become a wolf when the wolfbane blooms and the autumn moon is bright.

WZ

WZ

Edfen

Edfen
"Do not enter the city...It belongs to the dead now."

h1

h1
Look behind you!

Bs

Bs
"There is no terror in the bang, only the anticipation of it."
--Alfred Hitchcock

linnea

linnea

Amer

Amer
Taste of metal

The h gang

The h gang

Nlc

Nlc
Old Skool Nostalgia

Hp

Hp

Smoke

Smoke
Got a smoke?

Strek

Strek
Live long and prosper

Hill

Hill

Castle

Castle

SRW

"This seems to be the place where the plot begins to thicken..."
--Spooks Run Wild (1941)

Frere and dummy

Frere and dummy

Mlove

Mlove

Alone/dark

"There are no crazy people, doctor. We're all just on vacation."

--Alone in the Dark (1982)

Lips

Lips

Fhz

Fhz

Ph

Ph

Vestron

Vestron
Vintage VHS

sm 3

sm 3

Monique parent

Monique parent
Erotique in Review

Were5

Were5

f13

f13
November 2015

Bmate

Bmate

--Wes Craven

I think there is something about the American dream, the sort of Disneyesque dream, if you will, of the beautifully trimmed front lawn, the white picket fence, mom and dad and their happy children, God-fearing and doing good whenever they can, and the flip side of it, the kind of anger and the sense of outrage that comes from discovering that that's not the truth of the matter, that gives American horror films, in some ways, kind of an additional rage.

Ms45 w

Ms45 w

Churcvh

Churcvh
The Church 1989

Ww

Ww
The Whip and the Body 1963

Lsho

"Now, no novacaine....it dulls the senses"

--Little Shop of Horrors (1960)

Christopher Lee

Every actor has to make terrible films from time to time, but the trick is never to be terrible in them.

Vampyros lesbos

You are one of us now. The Queen of the Night will bear you up on her black wings

The Unknown 1927

No....not sick. But I have lost some flesh.

Alonzo, the Armless.

Ckvh

Ckvh

Blood of Dracula's Castle (1969)

Glen: We'd like to speak to the Townsends, please.

The Butler: They are not available till after sunset.

Bw5

Bw5

Jill

Jill

Mad Love 1935

Doctor Gogol: Did you ever hear of Galatea?

Lavin - Waxworks Proprietor: Gala - who? Not wanting a statue of him, are you?

Doctor Gogol: I don't want a statue of Galatea. You see, she was a statue herself. Pygmalion formed her. Out of marble, not wax. And then she came to life in his arms.

Lavin - Waxworks Proprietor: [calling to his assistant] Start the motor, Henry. There's queer people on the streets of Montmartre at this time of night.

Doctor Gogol: [handing him his card] Here, a hundred francs if you deliver the statue to my house.

Lavin - Waxworks Proprietor: [reading card] It's a go, Dr. Go... gol. First thing in the morning.

Edd

Edd

Sh6

Sh6

Bce

Bce

Hc2

Hc2

hal

I met him, fifteen years ago; I was told there was nothing left; no reason, no conscience, no understanding; and even the most rudimentary sense of life or death, of good or evil, right or wrong. I met this six-year-old child, with this blank, pale, emotionless face, and the blackest eyes... the devil's eyes. I spent eight years trying to reach him, and then another seven trying to keep him locked up because I realized that what was living behind that boy's eyes was purely and simply... evil.

The gang

The gang

Mut

Mut
Mutant 1982

fas

fas
Fascination (1979; d. Jean Rollin)

exorcis

exorcis

Pspo

Pspo

Fpr5

Fpr5
Still not shown in Fth13p2

Ml

Ml

God

God
Grapes of Death

Ipt

Ipt

Nm4

Nm4

Elm

Elm

Cbi

Cbi

He

He

ed 2 11

ed 2 11

girl

girl