Blu-ray Review: Puppet Master II (1990)

Puppet Master II BR CoverDistributor: 88 Films

BBFC Classification: 18

Director: David Allen

Starring: Elizabeth Maclellan, Collin Bernsen, Steve Welles, George ‘Buck’ Flower, Greg Webb, Nita Talbot

Well, something must have gone right because in 1990 a sequel was released. Directed by special effects supremo David Allen (Ghostbusters II/Bride of Re-Animator), Puppet Master II sees the deadly dolls going to the grave of their master Toulon and reanimating his corpse with the last of the Egyptian magic potion. Skip forward a few months and a new group of parapsychologists ascend on the Bodega Bay Inn to investigate what happened to the Gallaghers, and before long they fall prey to Blade, Pinhead, Leech Woman, Tunneler, Jester and new puppet Torch – armed with a flamethrower, of course – as they need human brains so Toulan (Steve Welles) can make more magic potion to keep them alive.

Pretty much a retread of Puppet Master, Puppet Master II is a little less complex on the plot details although it does expand on the Toulon mythology. One of the major differences is in the puppet effects, which are vastly improved over the original and seeing as they weren’t bad to start with then that is definitely a plus. Naturally, they were going to add different puppets as the films go on and Torch is quite a nasty little character, although he is more robotic than the others and not really as cool looking as Blade or as creepy as Leech Woman.

There is a little more going on in the make-up department as Toulon reveals what he looks like under his bandages towards the end of the film and that adds a little more of a gruesome edge than the first film, but the pacing on this one is way off, with huge plot holes making concentrating on what is happening something of a pain, and you don’t really want that in an 84-minute low-budget horror film. They even muck up the timeline of events and change the date that Toulon originally killed himself from the first film.

So, Puppet Master II looks better than the original and has more of a gore content but it really doesn’t hold your attention for the whole of its short running time, which is very problematic in a film like this. Obviously, the puppets are the stars of the show and totally show up the human actors, who do nothing except scream and run around not really making any sort of impact. Making Toulon a Darkman/The Invisible Man-type character was an opportunity to add a bit more action that was wasted as his unimpressive presence adds nothing except a level of camp that the film didn’t really need, so overall it’s a film for completists and hardcore fans only.

Puppet Master II

Special Features: Audio commentary by producer Charles Band, into by Charles Band, original Videozone featurette, Killer Puppet Master montage, 1997 Puppetmaster action figure commercial, trailer, Full Moon Trailer Park, reversible sleeve incorporating original artwork, collector’s booklet.

UK Release Date: 22nd October 2012

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