Curse of the Puppet Master Blu Ray Review (Full Moon Features)
Here’s a little backstory & information you might not know because I feel most reviewers don’t acknowledge this type of stuff but I consider it very important & it’s fun to learn new things about stuff that you enjoy. Curse of the Puppet Master is a 1998 horror film directed by David DeCoteau (Dreamaniac, Creepozoids, Sorority Babes in the Slimeball Bowl-O-Rama, Dr. Alien, & Nightmare Sisters) under alias “Victoria Sloan”. This was a return to the Puppet Master franchise for DeCoteau after directing the highly successful Puppet Master III: Toulon’s Revenge in 1991. It was shot in 8 days. He followed this up with Retro Puppet Master the next year. He also came back years later & directed 2010’s Puppet Master: Axis of Evil. He has directed many Full Moon films over the years under a variety of other aliases including Ellen Cabot, Julian Breen, Richard Chasen, Martin Tate, Joseph Tennent, & Jack Reed. Full Moon no longer had the financial help & backing from Paramount like they did with the first few in the series so the 6th entry Curse of the Puppet Master was a direct to video release with a smaller budget. The Final Chapter was made 4 years before & it was considered the last film in the franchise until this film resurrected it. I am going to change things up with this review & try something different on this one so here’s a quick synopsis & summary from me. Unlike the very detailed & descriptive ones I usually write for all my reviews. I never include spoilers & I only try to give you a perspective from my eyes which I think is very different from many of the other “cliche” reviews that give you same old stats that everyone else uses. Andre Toulon’s secret weapons Blade, Pinhead, Tunneler, Six Shooter , Jester, & Leech Woman are back! They end up at the The House of Marvels. It’s a traveling circus put together by Dr. Magrew (played by: George Peck from Dawn of the Mummy, Deathtrap, & Taxi Dancers). Something isn’t right about him but he hides it from everyone. His daughter Jane (played by: Emily Harrison from Dangerous Intentions, Take, & Valley of the Heart’s Delight) comes back from college & helps out her father with the business. She asks what happened to his previous assistant Matt & she gets the runaround. They meet a young man after being bullied who has a talent for wood carving named Robert “Tank” Winsley (played by: Josh Green from Pearl Harbor, Sweet Kill, & Spiders). The honorary “doctor” realizes this is what he is have been looking for all along. He requests Josh to help him out on making his own puppet. He ends up getting real close with Jane but he also finds out there’s much darker things hidden in this circus. Is it too late to stop? What will be created with this evil motivation?
I haven’t seen this sequel in a long time & it was fun to revisit it after all these years. I know it’s a very controversial entry in the Puppet Master universe. It’s a either love it or hate it type of film. Personally, this is my 4th favorite in the franchise. Yes, I know it uses several stock footage from previous films for some of the shots of the puppets. I think it’s beyond under-rated & you can relate to the main characters more compared to the other films. The supporting cast provides some motivation for the puppets to show off their talents because they are not very likeable. The circus has some real nice set pieces & it’s adds to the charm of this. It’s basically a re-telling of the 1973 film Sssssss with puppets instead of snakes. Everything seems to be going good until Curse takes a grim turn into something evil & destructive. The finale makes 6th addition to the Puppet Master series very memorable. I think they could have followed this one up with something even darker but they went with the prequel route with Retro instead which is also good.
Let’s talk a little about the high definition presentation. Before the film starts you get this warning saying “Note that Curse of the Puppet Master is presented totally uncut in HD using the original 35mm negative but, due to the fact that some of that negative was also lost over time, the original SD and digi-beta videotape master were also used in order to fully restore the film. This release stands as the definitive version.”. It also gives you a similar statement on the artwork so you know what you are getting into. The good news is most of the film is presented in the newer 2K restored transfer but as I say this there’s a decent amount of quality changes throughout the running time when it switches to the uncut material so just be ready for that because those scenes are in rough shape. Below, I have included a screen shot that represents the standard definition materiel featured in this. It’s honestly the best it’s ever looked for home video & I’ve seen it on every format possible. At the end of the day, would you rather have this released edited or uncut? I know my answer will be uncut every time no matter what has to happen to achieve that. It’s been done before & it’s something you have the choice to accept or just move on. Full Moon Features didn’t have to release this on blu ray but they knew the fans were asking for it so they worked hard to put together a hybrid cut that gave us the full unedited original version in high definition for the very first time! Also, the Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack is solid but it won’t blow your mind or anything like some recent blockbuster or popcorn flick when it comes to your home set up. For a low budget direct to video release it does it’s job & it’s satisfactory.
Let’s discuss the specials features on this blu ray disc. You get an exclusive Audio Commentary from director Victoria Slo….David DeCoteau almost 20 years after making the sequel. He really gets into the technical aspects of this newer transfer from what they had to put it together after all these years. He also goes into details about the production of Curse of the Puppet Master. When I see his name listed for an Audio Commentary, I always make sure to check it out. He’s one of the best when it comes to that type of extra. You get a 19 minute VideoZone from this film. It also covers other Full Moon projects at the time & various other things. Like I said before, Charles Band was a genius when it came to bonus material like this back in the day. No one else was really doing behind the scenes material for the fans when it came to home video. Last not least you get Full Moon trailers from Evil Bong 666, Ravenwolf Towers, Puppet Master, Puppet Master 2, Puppet Master 3, Retro Puppet Master, Puppet Master: Axis of Evil, Puppet Master X: Axis Rising, & Puppet Master Axis Termination. This release is highly recommended to any Full Moon Features, Independent Horror, & Puppet Master fans. This is a must add for your collection. It’s one of my personal favorites from the Full Moon back catalog. Every Puppet Master film from Full Moon is now available on blu ray from them in either single versions or in the limited edition trunk @ http://www.FullMoonDirect.com This franchise reminds me of my younger days renting these for some weekend entertainment & it’s exciting to revisit these in their best possible quality at home!