Monday, 25 July 2011

Puppet Master 2 - Terror Toys Season

In 1992, Full Moon Features released their sequel to Puppet Master, Puppet Master 2, once again produced by Charles Band.  The film was still released straight to video and apparently has had some trouble with being released on DVD, originally only available as part of a box set until 2007 when Full Moon reaquired the rights to the first five movies. 

Warning, this is a spoiler based review

I'm a little apprehensive about this one, though purely because the first one wasn't that great, however, this is what I love about the horror genre.  Particularly with franchises, in the horror genre, it's not necessarily the first film which is the most entertaining or represents the series best as a whole.  My favourite example of this is with the Friday the 13th franchise, the first film is a pretty slow horror movie, but it has some great moments and the last half hour is very good, but the franchise itself is not about that killer, it's about Jason who doesn't appear till the second movie and who doesn't get the hockey mask till the third and then doesn't become zombified till the sixth.  Which do I think represents the series best?  Jason X, the tenth movie, now that's my personal opinion on my enjoyment of the franchise and I'm sure that people will disagree with me.  So for all I know, Puppet Master 2 might turn out to be my new favourite Terror Toys movies. 

Our opening shot is of a grave yard and wouldn't ya know, there's a thunder and lightning storm and there's no rain.  We see Pinhead digging up a grave with Leech Woman watching over, as well as Blade, Jester and Tunneler as Pinhead pours a mystery yellow liquid into the box, probably coffin, marked Toulon. 

Tunneler, Leech Woman, Blade, Jester, Pinhead
A pair of hands rise from the grave and we go to the titles.  Originally this movie was supposed to have the sub-title, His Unholy Creations, but it was never officially added.  The titles are just white words on a black screen with the fairgroundy theme music from the first film.  Then we get the exterior shot of the hotel and a ginger woman trying to open the door with a key, but it doesn't turn. 

If the X-files had a Scooby van
Ginger tells a guy in the van that the key doesn't work and someone will have to break in.  He complains about this, because working for the US government, doing paranormal investigation is normally all about tea parties and sitting in a van, no investigating at all.  On the door there is a notice saying that the building has been condemned, it was only renovated a couple of years ago, even if it was a ruse to find a a dead puppet masters Egyptian scroll, they did so some work.  What happened to Megan and Leeroy?

Ginger lets two others out of the back of the van and the other guy jimmies the door open.  The minute they enter they start complaining about the cobwebs and having to start the generator.  Mulder would kill for this kind of set up, think of what he could do with the resources of four people and a van!  Since none of the characters have been named yet, I'm going to assign them some.

From left to right, Deadmeat, Jeff and Schue
Deadmeat complained about the cobwebs and so is obviously dead, Jeff looks a bit like Jeff bridges and Schue looks like Mr Schue from Glee.  We're told that "Alex was nuts" so something obviously happened to Alex between movies as he was fine at the end of the last one.

Deadmeat hears a sound as she's taking sheets off furniture and is freaked out a bit by a bird statue until Jeff calls her to help him set up some equipment and Schue mesasures things with a tape measure whilst Ginger looks through a book.  We get a bit of a retcon, apparently the hotel is filled with hidden passages as the hotel was built by an eccentric woman who was told by an Egyptian that the hill was mystic and she built it as a safe haven. 

The group hears a smash and goes to investigate and see that a vase has been broken against a wall.  Then, for some reason, we go to a farmer type dude mending a fence and a blonde lady pulls up in a car asking where Scarab hill is.  A woman comes out of the farm and asks what she wants then flips a switch on the fence, electrify it saying that something has been getting in and hurting their pigs and killed a mule.  The blonde suggest it could be a cult and asks if there are satanists in the area, *headdesk, headdesk, headdesk*

I don't know nothing about no cults
They give the blonde woman directions and then shout various warnings to her about entrails and the devil.  Back at the hotel, the group is researching and Jeff has fitted some cctv up around the hotel, then they complain about having a huge budget and only having so to keep the public entertained.  Mulder would so be kicking these guys arses right now for the cheek of it.

Blonde woman is with them for some reason, and since they name her here I shall call her by her character name, Camille from now on.  Camille is some sort of columnist and psychic type person.

Camille is already on the sauce
We get a shot of upstairs and a light under a door and someone chanting something.  Then it's morning and Schuee is outside taking pictures of the building and graveyard.  He stumbles across the grave marked Toulon and it's either not Andre Toulon or it's just very wrong because it's marked 1941 instead of 1939.  He takes a photo of the coffin and then it's night again and everyone is having dinner. 

Apparently Megan is dead because Ginger says that the last owner died and the state took the title to the property.  Oh wait, confirmed, apparently her brain was extracted through her nose, as in mummification.  They explain that Alex was put in an asylum and had seizures and premonitions and was the only survivor of the group of psychics who disappeared.  They didn't disappear, they were murdered, there were bodies, bodies with which to show people.  Also Ginger says his premonitions were "schizophrenic of course" so she believes in psychics and the paranormal, but not that Alex had visions.  What a complete idiot.

Schue insults Camille and she leaves the room, so Ginger tells him off for being a twat then tells him to go to bed and for some reason he's suddenly drunk and now her brother. 

Meanwhile, someone is building Darth Vader
The next morning, Ginger reads an article about Toulon's suicide and wonders the same questions I did about the first movie.  Then they hear Camille scream and she runs downstairs and tells them that she saw the puppets, she tells them not to go upstairs and of course they do, Jeff videos a couple of dolls and they bring them downstairs in order to mock Camille, even though she tells them they were obviously not what she saw.

Camille tells them that they're all in danger and she's leaving and suggests they do the same, so of course she will be the first to die.  We see her packing in her room and the lights flicker out, somehow illuminating a statue which she starts talking to, then Pinhead grabs her from behind and pulls her down to the floor whilst Jester gags her.  She doesn't struggle or try to escape until they've already dragged her out of her room.

The next day Ginger calls someone to tell them Camille has left, but left behind all her things.  At night, Jeff watches the cctv monitors, I wonder if Demonic Dolls is playing on one of them.  Deadmeat comes in and brings him some coffee and flirting.  Then we see Tunneler heading for Schue's room, he's drinking some wine.  Deadmeat massages Jeff's shoulders and implies they should have some sex.  Jeff notices on the monitors that a door has opened and he sees Tunneler so he and Deadmeat run to the room. 

<insert witty, yet apt head pun here>
Tunneler headbutts Schue, which isn't too good for Schue, considering that Tunneler has a drill for a head.  One hastens to point out that Schue just lets Tunneler drill him because he could easily escape.  Jeff and Deadmet come in and turn on the lights, Jeff easily flicks Tunneler away with one hand, then hits him with a light a few times whilst Deadmeat sees that Schue is dead.  Ginger comes running in to see Jeff looking at Tunneler, then she sees Schue and tells them to get Tunneler out of there, which Jeff does. 

Of course, no one calls the police or notifies HQ or anything, it's not like they work for the government and the government expect to be updated on such happenings as, oh by the way one of us had their brains drilled in, nothing to worry about.

Tunneler's autopsy, it's like Alien Autopsy, but with less Ant and Dec
Jeff dissects the puppet and comments that it's self contained and doesn't have motors or gears and must "run chemically somehow, off this fluid" not once considering that the fluid could be blood, because it's not like he's a paranormal investigator or anything. 

I couldn't get my amiga to run Simon the Sorcerer entirely in English, so bullshit on this!
Ginger suggests that the puppet is an artificial life form and there's no way to stop me if I start on a debate about Data from TNG here, so I shall just carry on with the movie.  They go to a freezer where they have put Schue's body, ok, I'll buy that I suppose.  Then they look at the monitor pictures of Tunneler and even though they've just sort of agreed that he must be a life form, Ginger is all, "what is this thing?"  Then they hear footsteps outside and the camera zooms in on the door, which is opened by this guy:

Who I suspect is not William Hickey under that get-up
He introduces himself as Eric Chanee (I'm not looking up the spelling), he asks them to excuse his abrupt appearance, but their appearance was also unexpected.  This is probably Toulon and that annoys me because he has a weird sort of east German accent, even though in the first movie he just had an American one.  Ginger introduces themselves and says they thought the hotel was empty, Toulon (let's not play into the movies fake out here) tells them he's lived there for decades and was left the hotel by it's last owner.  Ginger says there are no records of this, he tells her he doesn't trust records and she tells him he'll have to come up with proof.  (Actually love, that's not the way it works, the government would have to prove he had no claim to the estate.)  He tells them he was in Bucharest and he arrived an hour ago.

He sees the picture of Tunneler and Jeff asks him if he knows what it is, he says he doesn't, but offers to let them stay and investigate for as long as they wish, his only request that they stay out of his room.  Quite reasonable of him really.  He tells them he's going to bed and will see them all in the morning.  Ginger decides that first thing in the morning they will check his claim on the hotel.  Deadmeat notices a guy on a motorbike arrive.

This guy is called Michael Kenny and apparently, Ginger was expecting him, she brings him in and tells Michael that her brother was murdered by Tunneler and shows him the puppet corpse.  Of course he is sceptical, but apologises for being so which is nice, apparently he's Camille's son.

The nice guy of the movie
She offers to let him stay in the hotel since he's been driving all night and he accepts.  That night, we see Blade cutting the wire to the electric fence and alone with Leech Woman, entering the farm house from earlier.  The wife hears her husband being killed beside her by Leech Woman, but she thinks he's masturbating, till she turns around, then runs from the bedroom and grabs a gun from the wall.  She shoots at Leeche Woman, but misses and Blade runs up behind her and cuts her leg, causing her to drop the gun.  She burns her hand on the stove and grabs a frying pan, Leech Woman breaks a china doll she had on the mantle which upsets her and she manages to grab Leech Woman.  Who she then throws into the kitchen fire.  Blade sees this and the farm woman spots him and grabs her gun, then this new puppet arrives.

His name's Torch
Torch has a flame thrower for a hand and sets the farm woman on fire, killing her, which seems to impress Blade a great deal.  Back at the hotel, Toulon is in his room, speaking to Pinhead and Jester who seem a bit down.  He tells them that they will soon regain their strength, now that he doesn't have to hide he can leave a lamp on in his window so that the others can find their way back to the hotel.  I thought the big hotel shaped building would probably help them more, but what do I know?

Torch and Blade arrive with something and Toulon complains that it's been cooked and tells them that they need to utilise their talents more conservatively.  He asks where the woman is, Blade does a cut throat motion to let Toulon know she's dead.  He tells them that they cannot hunt outside as it draws too much attention and as they fail it delays Jesters recovery.  He says they'll need the formula soon, then they'll have another half century as Toulon's stringless marionettes.  So, let's say that the year of release is the year of the movie, in the first movie the puppets had been about for at least 49 years as Jester was the last one to be made as we saw that, they spent most of that trapped in the wall.  Blade and Pinhead were probably made earlier.  At this point they've been kicking about for 51-53 years depending on whether you accept the death of Toulon as 1939 or 1941, either way, why the hell do they need brain juice to keep them running?  It's a stupid Macguffin.

In the first movie, Toulon was a very sympathetic old man who clearly loved his puppets, he sucks in this.  He tells the puppets to get in the cabinet and talks to a photo on the wall which is supposedly his wife.  Then we get a flash back to Cairo in 1912 and the gratuitous pyramid shot as we wouldn't believe it was there otherwise.  Toulon is putting on a performance of FAUST, with a puppet with Blade's face in the titular role apparently.    The crowd looks bored and starts to leave and a white dude flashes his eyes and burns the puppets, destroying them. 

Toulon and a woman which I suppose is his wife, so to see the blatantly white dude who shows them a puppet which moves without strings.

I'm not even going to begin thinking about the stuff from the first movie this contradicts.  Toulon declares the puppet horrible and the man offers to tell him how to bring his puppets to life.  The wife is played by Ginger by the way. 

I have no idea why this guy is trying to blackmail Toulon to 'think of the children' and take up Puppet Mastery, it just doesn't make sense. 

In the morning, Ginger is up and Michael asks how she is and offers to take him with her to look for his mother, she sees Toulon sitting outside and changes her mind.  They go outside and Toulon greets them tells them to take care on the motorbike to not get maimed or disfigured.  Well that's considerate of him I suppose.

We then see a small child run out of a caravan to play in the woods with an action man, who he whips and says "Die, Nazi scum", then he places it against a tree after taking it's shirt off and whips it again, but sends it flying into a tree.  This kid has issues.  He tells the doll to come out and it is thrown out at him, then Torch appears and the kid is fascinated.

Stay away from that kid, Torch, he's going to try water-boarding next
The kid kicks away the action man, Torch "RARS" at his whip, the kid backs off and tells Torch he's Indiana Jones, you ain't no Indy, Kid, you don't have a hat!  The kid picks up Torch and looks at his hand and teeth, then whips him, Torch lights up his flame thrower and we cut to Michael and Ginger.  You, Pussy, movie!

Ginger is suspicious of Toulon's claim on the hotel and thinks he's involved with Camille and Schue's disappearance and death.  Michael takes Ginger to the beach and tells her he's a hack writer who writes westerns, but knows nothing about the west.  Ginger cries about Schue and being competitive, Michael decides to give her a kiss as this seems like a romantic story to him.  Toulon returns to his room and is pleased that Blade and Pinhead have some brain matter, then comforts Jester who seems to be dying.  Then he thanks the puppets for bringing him back to life and rants about his wife.  The guy playing Toulon is just a large ham. 

Ginger looks at the pictures on the amiga of Tunneler and Deadmeat comes in to tell her to go drink with Michael and she'll do the computer work.  Michael shows Ginger a gramophone he found and plays a record for her and they have a glass of brandy.  Michael asks Ginger to dance, she says it's the perfect time and Toulon comes in and asks her to dance, which she begrudgingly accepts and is quite rude really about it.  Michael asks to cut in and Toulon comments on them both being rude, which of course they are being, but then Toulon is a dick for no reason and breaks the records. 

Ginger wants to look in his rooms, Michael thinks they should go to the police, or they could go to, you know, the FBI since it's heavily implied that that's who she works for.  Michael tells her to stay away from Toulon's room.

*gag* she got over her brothers death quick, wonder if she bothered to tell the police about that
Then we get a sex scene between the two which is not as bad as the one in the first movie, but not really what we want to see in a movie about killer puppets, also it has softcore porn sounds and also they've known each other about five minutes.

In Toulon's room, he's pleased that Jester and Blade have brought more brains, he tells them they almost have enough, but they need to complete it that night.  He says he's proud they brought human materials, not taking the easy way out with animals, in a funny moment, Torch opens his mouth as if he say something and Blade holds his arm to him, to not say anything, while Jester looks worried.  Toulon tells them to deal with everyone but Ginger and tells Torch to specifically deal with Michael.

We then go to Deadmeat's room to get a gratuitous boob shot, she puts on a mans shirt, probably Jeff's, she then picks up a photo of a lady and baby, maybe Jeff's wife and kid and she's all disgusted, behind her we see the bathroom door open and close, then Jeff comes out of the shower.  Jeff gets all mad at Deadmeat for leaving the monitors, as she returns to her room we see a flash of light and Jeff gurgling, Deadmeat returns to his room and flips on the light to see Blade killing Jeff.  He chases after Deadmeat and slashes at her face, then we see more brains being added to Toulon's pot so we can assume that they're dead.

In Ginger's room, she looks out of the window and sees Toulon outside so she decides to put on a nightie and go upstairs, but Toulon finishes smoking and goes back inside the hotel.  Ginger makes it into Toulon's room and sees his chemistry set up and puppets and starts rummaging through his things.  She then opens his wardrobe.

I'm having a hard time trying to figure out if this is a fake head or a real woman with contacts in
We see a full sized human and male and female puppet, then Toulon arrives and tells her they're waiting for her and she screams.  Michael hears the scream and wakes up, but Torch is there and flame throwers the bed, but Michael jumps off and it doesn't burn him.  Naked, he decides to put out the fire by putting a pair of curtains on the bed.  In Toulon's room he mucks about with his chemistry set whilst Ginger is tied to a chair, with the puppets next to her. 

He puts a scarf around her to keep her warm and keeps telling her she's his wife.  Apparently it belonged to a Mummy, but I'm not buying it.  Michael runs into Torch and douses him with a fire extinguisher, then throws it at him.  In Toulon's room he babbles more nonsense.  Michael searches around, but is caught by Pinhead who tries to strangle him, Michael throws him into a wall.

How has he been able to see without eyeballs?
Toulon takes off his bandages and we see his face, looking pretty good for being dead fifty years and having no eyeballs.  Michael runs up the stairs and Blade flies into him, he's on a wire, you can totally see the wire, it looks shit.  As he struggles with Blade, Jester pulls back a convenience panel and we see Camille, looking a bit dead, then he throws Blade in a dumb waiter. 

Toulon tells Ginger that the puppets used the last of their fluid to revive him, Ginger tells Toulon she's not his wife, Toulon disagrees and babbles on some more.  Then he says they'll be occupying the puppet bodies from then on and he puts a funnel in the male ones mouth and starts chanting something as Blade and Pinhead turn up, then Jester.

He drinks something, then slits his own throat over the puppet funnel, then Toulon falls down all rotten, then the puppet gets up and shows off his new body, but starts snorting like a pig and shouts at the puppets, but says he'll make the best of it.  Then he tells the puppets that unfortunately, he'll be using the potion to turn Ginger into a puppet and not them, big mistake.  He tries to make her drink but she spits it out.

Jester picks up the remaining fluid and Pinhead trips Toulon over, but Toulon knocks him away, Michael rescues Ginger and they run away as Blade and Pinhead start smashing up the Toulon puppet.  Torch arrives and burns the Toulon puppet to death and he jumps out of the window.  Jester then takes the goblet of potion to Camille and we transition to Michael and Ginger at a graveyard.  With Ginger saying she's going to let someone else sort out the big puppet mess.

We then see a VW bus pull over to the side of the road and inside the female puppet (with Camille inside) consults a map with Torch sat beside her.

Am I going to have to turn this van around you guys in there?
Camille is taking the puppets to an asylum for kids to 'entertain' them.  Well it's nice that she's found an after-life career.  Enf of Movie.


I think I was giving this movie too much credit before I watched it.  On the one hand, having paranormal investigators was interesting, but they weren't willing to believe anything paranormal was happening and they didn't do much investigating.

I don't really think there was any likeable characters in this movie, aside from the puppets and the farm woman.  In the first movie Toulon was instantly sympathetic and kind hearted, they changed him into a git for this one and I think that doesn't really help the movie much. 

I honestly couldn't care less about the protagonists in this film, they did nothing to earn my sympathy in the movie, after Michaels initial appearance he stops being this guy just looking for his mother and becomes only a love interest which is boring. 

The only death scene which was really shown was the farm house woman and Schue's, there was a lot of cut aways and 'oh look, he's already dead' shots.  The new puppet Torch was pretty interesting, but Blade was on screen very little and they could have used Jester more.  He only did his head spin once in the movie. 

The effects were much worse in this movie with as little movement being shown as possible from the puppets and the obvious wire stuff made it worse. 

The introduction of the magic potion stuff was ridiculous and the flash back scenes were utterly pointless.  There were little bits I enjoyed, but they were few and far between.  The stuff about the hotel having secret passages was never mentioned again, the fact that Schue and Ginger were brother and sister had no bearing on the plot at all.  Jeff having a wife was also pointless to the plot.  I don't know why they were trying to hard sell Ginger being a reincarnation of Toulon's wife, she could just look like her.  Why would Toulon's wife be reincarnated and not him?  There's a lot of this pointless and nonsensical stuff throughout.

4 out of 10 and I'm being generous

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