Director(s) – Sonny Laguna (Blood Runs Cold, Withered) and Tommy Wiklund (Animalistic, The Girl Beneath)
Starring – Thomas Lennon (Reno: 911, Hot Tub Time Machine), Michael Pare (Sicilian Vampire, Blubberella), and Jenny Pellicer (Cocaine Godmother, State of Affairs)
Release Date – 2018
Rating – 2.5/5
The horror bug bit me when I was in middle school and I found myself spending more and more time at the horror section at my local video store. I loved to just stare at the box art and imagine what the movie was about. This was how I crossed paths with Full Moon. I remember renting Sideshow and The Seed People and falling in love with them.
Since then I have watched countless releases from them including their flagship franchise Puppet Master. The series started out with a bang but, sadly, has ended with dud after dud. When news of a remake broke out I was excited. I couldn’t wait to check it out and the time came when a review copy showed up at my doorstep. Would it live up to the original film or would it be another dud?
**Spoiler Alert**The film follows recently divorced Edgar (Lennon) who moves in with his parents until the dust settles. While going through his deceased brother’s belongings he comes across a puppet that he suspects is associated with the Toulon murders. His father knows that he is in a rough spot and tells him to sell the puppet for some money. He decides to take it to a convention where others with similar puppets linked to the Toulon murder to sell with his new girlfriend and boss from the comic shop. What they run into is that all these puppets are alive and being controlled by the evil Toulon who is still alive and not that human anymore. **Spoiler Alert**
Most of you may recall a few months back when I went through the Toulon Trunk Puppet Master box set that included all the Puppet Master films to that point. I really enjoy the series but the last few installments should have been skipped. News of a remake excited me to an extent. I had hopes that it would return to the film’s roots and we get more mystical magic and puppet carnage. What Littlest Reichdelivered was chaos amidst a much darker story than the original series.
The acting in this one is up and down. I really enjoyed seeing Jim Dangle aka Thomas Lennon in a more serious role. He’s known for his Dangle character in Reno:911 but he has some serious acting jobs and this film showcases that. The supporting cast is solid as well but some of the characters are severely underdeveloped and lacking.
The story for this one is much darker than the original Puppet Masterseries. In the original series the puppets are not evil in a sense. Their master may be evil depending on the installment but they are anti-heroes for the most part. In this film they are evil and we see them diving deeper into German Nazi ideology which is something Band did not do. Band stayed away from the ethnic cleansing the Nazis were known for out of fear of being branded Anti-Semitic. This film goes there which makes it a lot darker considering the history around it.
Sadly, the film takes a chaotic spin after 2 thirds of the film which really takes away from several of the fun scenes. There is so much going on that the film can’t slow down and the viewer misses out on some fun kills.
Finally, some of the kills in this are extremely bloody and violent with top notch practical effects while others are extremely cheesy which takes away from the tone of the film. Overall, Puppet Master: The Littlest Reich had potential but failed to pull it together into a film that can float above mediocrity. Fans of the original series may want to check it out but don’t expect a film worthy of the Puppet Master title.