Thursday, June 23, 2022

#2,773. Puppet Master II (1990) - Full Moon Features


If nothing else, the Puppet Master movies (the first two, anyway) get off to a strong start.

Puppet Master II opens late at night, with the puppets standing around an open grave. Pinhead (the puppet with a tiny head and large human hands) pours a green liquid into the grave, at which point the corpse that had been resting in it for 50 years, that of the great puppet master Andre Toulon (played this time around by Steve Welles), springs back to life!

It’s a crazy, ridiculous opening, but it’s also kinda awesome.

A team of paranormal researchers, led by Carolyn Bramwell (Elizabeth Maclellan), descends on the Bodega Bay Inn to investigate the recent, unexplained murder of Megan Gallagher. They’re joined by psychic Camille Kenney (Nita Talbot), who warns the team – which also includes Carolyn’s brother Patrick (Greg Webb) and their friends Lance (Jeff Wetson) and Wanda (Charlie Spradling) – that she’s picking up a lot of negative energy. Later that night, Camille disappears and Patrick is murdered by the puppet known as Tunneler.

It’s around this same time that a shadowy stranger, his head wrapped in bandages, shows up on the scene, claiming he owns the hotel. This stranger is actually Andre Toulon, whose ultimate goal is to resurrect his beloved wife Elsa (also played by Maclellan).

Joining forces with Michael (Collin Bernsen), Camille’s son who was called in to help locate his mother, Carolyn sets out to uncover the mystery behind Toulon, including what it is that gives him the power to bring inanimate objects to life.

Steve Welles is quite good as the enigmatic Toulon, and Puppet Master II also ups the ante effects-wise, utilizing stop-motion more frequently than the first film did. I also liked the brief flashback to 1912, which provided a backstory for Toulon and how he acquired his unusual talents. In addition, Puppet Master II features a tense scene set inside a cabin, where this entry’s newest puppet, Torch, burns a woman alive.

Not everything impressed me; the story centering on the researchers is weak, and a romantic subplot involving Carolyn and Michael felt forced. As it was with the first movie, the puppets are what make Puppet Master II an entertaining watch, but at least this time they didn’t have to do it all on their own.
Rating: 6.5 out of 10

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