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Puppet Master
Puppet Master.jpg
Title: Puppet Master
Directed by: David Schmoeller
Written by: Charles Band
Kenneth J. Hall
Joseph G. Collodi
Produced by: Charles Band; Hope Perello
Music by: Richard Band
Cinematography: Sergio Salvati
Edited by: Tom Meshelski; Randy Bricker
Distributed by: Empire Pictures; Full Moon Entertainment
Released: October 12th, 1989
Rating: Unrated
Running time: 90 min.
Country: USA
Language: English
Next: Puppet Master II (1991)

Puppet Master is an American horror film of the killer doll subgenre. It was directed by David Schmoeller and produced by Charles Band and his company Empire Pictures and released through Full Moon Entertainment. The movie was distributed direct-to-video on October 12th, 1989. Puppet Master is the first in a series that yielded multiple sequels as well as two crossover projects with the Demonic Toys film series, beginning with 1991's Puppet Master II. The film stars Paul Le Mat, Irene Miracle, Jimmie F. Skaggs, Robin Frates, Matt Roe, Kathryn O'Reilly and William Hickey as Andre Toulon, the Puppet Master. The real stars of the movie however, are the puppets themselves: Blade, Pinhead, Tunneler, Jester and the ever-sensual Miss Leech.

Plot[edit | edit source]

Blade is on the move.

The story begins at the Bodega Bay Inn in California of 1939. French toymaker Andre Toulon realizes that he is coming towards the close of his life. Having perfected the craft of the ancient Egyptian Rites of Afterlife, Toulon has created a cadre of small fully articulated puppets that can act independent of Toulon's influence, or of any other mechanical means of assistance. We have Pinhead, who is an apish looking puppet with long arms that dangle past his knees. Pinhead's fists are the size of normal human fists and can pack quite a punch. There is also Tunneler, who has a swirling drill bit on the top of his head. Tunneler's blade can easily carve through human tissue. We also have Miss Leech, the sole female puppet. Leech can produce fully-grown leeches from her mouth and deposit them wherever she chooses. We also have Jester, whose head consists of three separately spinning pieces. Finally there is Blade, the spooky looking skull-faced puppet with a long black trench coat and retractable switchblade.

Two assassins converge on the hotel ready to steal Toulon's puppets as well as his secrets from him. A nameless puppet warns Andre of this from an upstairs window and the aged toymaker gets to work. Removing a piece of paneling from the wall, Toulon packs away all of his puppets as well as the scrolls detailing the Rites of Afterlife. Before the assassins can break down his door, Toulon puts a gun to his mouth and blows his brains out.

Funeral for a friend?

Flash forward to December of 1989. Four accredited psychics discover that one of their own colleagues in the field of psychic research has died. Neil Gallagher had apparently ended his life in much the same way Toulon did over fifty years ago. The four friends gather at the Bodega Bay Inn to offer comfort to Gallagher's widow, Megan. First we have Alex Whitaker. Alex is a professor at Yale and has the gift of clairvoyance through dreams. Then there is the tough talking Dana Hadley. Dana is also known as the White Witch and operates a fortune telling operation on the boardwalk. She carries about a stuffed dog, which she named Leroy. Lastly, we have Frank Forrester and Carissa Stamford. Frank and Carissa research psychic phenomena by way of sexual interpretation.

At dinnertime, Megan reveals that it was Gallagher's last wish to not be buried until everyone had arrived to pay his or her respects. The group had not seen Gallagher in some time and didn't realize that he had taken a bride. Megan explains that her family had owned the Bodega Bay Inn for several years. In 1987, she met Neil and the two quickly married. Neil completely renovated the Bodega Bay Inn in that time. Dana has no compunction regarding her feelings for Neil and she lets Megan know straight off that she thought Gallagher was a complete bastard.

Later on, everyone retires to his or her rooms. Frank and Carissa enter an old fashioned elevator. Carissa has a post cognitive flashback of Neil Gallagher raping some woman inside of this elevator. Frank pays it little mind and the two go their room across from Alex's quarters.

Meanwhile Dana meets the housekeeper Theresa. She warns Theresa to stay away from the fireplace or else great danger will come to her. Theresa thinks Dana is a crackpot and ignores her. Before long however, Theresa gets attacked from a most unlikely direction. Pinhead enters the room, picking up a fire poker. He cracks Theresa across the head while the latter is busy stoking the fire under the mantle.

While all this is going on, Neil's corpse seems to be popping up all over the place. First he appears in the study and later on he appears in Dana's bedroom. Everyone begins to suspect that Megan Gallagher may be playing some pranks on people. Dana begins erecting wards on everyone's bedroom.

Meet the Leech Woman.

Frank and Carissa decide to have a sexual escapade while the others try to catch up on some sleep. Carissa blindfolds him and ties him up to the bedposts. While she is on top of him, two of Toulon's puppets enter the room. Carissa hears a noise and quickly jumps off Frank. She pokes her head under the bed, only to find Tunneler sprinting towards her. Tunneler drills into Carissa's face and kills her. While Carissa is getting drilled, Miss Leech hops on top of Frank. Frank mistakes the puppet for Carissa until Miss Leech regurgitates up four or five leeches and they all suck the blood out of Frank's body while he is tied screaming to the bed.

Next on the list is Dana. Pinhead attacks her in her room, breaking her leg. She pushes him away and crawls into the hallway. She keeps going until she reaches the elevator. Pinhead follows her and begins to punch her repeatedly. Mustering her reserve, she picks the little doll up and heaves him beyond the area of the elevator and down the stairwell. However, she didn't count on Blade providing back up. Blade enters the elevator car and slices Dana's throat wide open.

While all this is going on, Alex has one of his prophetic dreams. He dreams of Neil Gallagher rising from the dead to kill his young wife Megan. Alex awakens with a start when Megan begins rapping on his door. Megan wants to show him something important and she leads him to one of the upper attic rooms.

They find the diary of Andre Toulon. Megan explains that Toulon's work involved imbuing life into inanimate objects. At this point we come to realize that Neil Gallagher is alive and well.

This guy throws the WORST parties!

As Megan had suspected, Gallagher had indeed found Toulon's work while he was doing his renovations. Obsessed with immortality. Gallagher had performed the rite over his own body shortly before shooting himself in the head. Now instead of existing in a living body that will eventually age, Neil can no live as an immortal in a dead body that will not age at all (supposedly). Neil knew that his four psychic friends would eventually learn the truth and try to pry Toulon's secrets from him. In order to keep the secret to himself, Neil had the four psychics attend his funeral so that he could get rid of them. He has even used the Rite on the deceased bodies of Dana, Frank and Carissa. Now, Alex and Megan are the only ones that know the truth concerning the resurrected Neil Gallagher.

Alex and Neil begin to fight. During the melee, Neil violently discards one of Toulon's underfoot puppets (Jester). The other puppets take great umbrage with this abuse and turn on Gallagher. They trap him in the elevator shaft. Neil tries climbing out through the top of the elevator, but Blade arrives and cuts his fingers off forcing him to drop. At that point, Miss Leech assaults Gallagher on one side while Tunneler drills into his head from the other. Eventually, Gallagher dies.

The following day, Alex says his goodbyes to Megan Gallagher. Megan walks away and we find that she now has possession of Dana's dog, Leroy. The dog is no longer a stuffed corpse however, but a living breathing animal. Perhaps it is now Megan who is using Toulon's magic.

The fates of Andre Toulon's puppets remain unknown...

Cast[edit | edit source]

Notes & Trivia[edit | edit source]

  • The tagline to this film is "Killers come in all sizes!"
  • Scenes of the Bodega Bay Hotel were filmed at the Mission Inn at 3649 Mission Inn Avenue in Riverside, California. Other scenes were filmed at the Castle Green Apartments in Pasadena.
  • Puppet Master is included on the Puppet Master Collection DVD set by New Video Group on November 9th, 2010.
  • This is the first credited film work for Robin Frates. She is given an "Introducing" credit in the beginning of the film.
  • Actress Barbara Crampton is given a "Special Appearance By" credit in the beginning of the film.
  • The David Boyd that appears in this film is not to be confused with director and cinematographer David R. Boyd, who has worked on episodes of The Walking Dead television series.

Recommendations[edit | edit source]

See also[edit | edit source]

External Links[edit | edit source]

Gallery[edit | edit source]

Puppet Master logo.jpg
Film Series
This article relates to the films within the Puppet Master franchise. This template will categorize articles that include it into the Puppet Master films category.
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