Puppet Master: The Littlest Reich
The 13th instalment in the now 30-year-long B-Movie horror franchise, Puppet Master: The Littlest Reich goes all-out in its embrace of the sort of blood-spattered schlock that’s kept the gang of murderous puppets alive for so long in a move bound to please old-school slasher fans. When recently divorced comic book artist Edgar (Thomas Lennon) discovers a sinister puppet in his deceased brother’s bedroom, he decides to sell it at an auction commemorating the 30th anniversary of the Toulon murders of the first film. But when the horde of assembled puppets spring to life and begin slaughtering hotel guests, Edgar, along with girlfriend Ashley (Jenny Pellicer) and best friend Markowitz (Nelson Franklin), must find a way to survive the carnage. Although it takes considerable time for the plot to kick in, when it does, there’s plenty of stomach-bursting and head-popping viscera to satisfy even the most bloodthirsty viewers.
From the offset, it’s made clear that the film wears its low budget on its sleeve, waving it proudly in tribute to its home video origins. For the most part, the shoddy quality of special effects on display comprises a large portion of the overall charm. This isn’t intended to be a serious feature, and the filmmakers know it and have fun with it; it’s ridiculously over-the-top – the title is the first clue – and scratches that itch for mindless gore. However, the low-budget nature of the presentation does come at a cost to the sound quality, which gives the impression that scenes were shot with one microphone placed on set. At times, the dialogue is almost inaudible and the music quality is likewise lacking in the fidelity now expected with modern technology.
In keeping with its paracinematic sensibilities, the writing and acting are characteristically tacky. All characters are two-dimensional stereotypes, most of which exist only to be murdered in a gruesome fashion that’s more comedically grotesque than shocking. But the biggest issue with the movie is it’s pacing. After an hour of setup, we’re left with only a fraction of the runtime left for the outrageous carnage, which consequently results in a very rushed and unfulfilling climax complete with a cliff-hanger ending.
The Puppet Master series is far from dead, and the latest instalment makes this clear. It’s cheap, nasty, ridiculous and a lot of fun. In other words: The Littlest Reich is exactly what a low-budget grindhouse flick should be.
Puppet Master: The Littlest Reich is released in select cinemas on 19th April 2019.
Watch the trailer for Puppet Master: The Littlest Reich here: