You know, that first puppet master film really is something special… From the moment we start with the dissonant carnival music and the close-up shots of the puppet faces, there is something inherently spooky about everything. Richard Band knew what he was doing when he scored this and Charles Band was really about to find his destiny.
Toulon, The creator of the puppets, is a great character – honest and multi layered. There is also the brilliance of starting the film out from puppet Blade’s perspective – the lower angle chattering as the bad guys arrive at the scenic hotel. It’s quite bold of this low-budget production to start things off with the introduction being a period piece before moving the modern day – yet again is this a sense of scope and a lush atmosphere that the film alone may have lacked otherwise.
As the group of sensitives attend the funeral of their fellow psychic in this very hotel, they encounter the murderous puppets – the story is as simple as that. But simple works, and through it Charles Band has crafted his most enduring creation. In this first installment, more care is given to the puppets – both in personality and in animation… Indeed, in later installments We get a lot less stop motion and more close-ups, with clips from this film used repeatedly. Still, it’s great as a standalone or part of the series – and it’s another one where the opportunity to get this on DVD was worth the three dollar price of this collection!