Puppet Master: The Legacy



This apparently isn’t an actual movie but an attempt to milk the franchise by playing clips from all the previous films interspersed with “new” scenes in a hope that no one will notice. Unfortunately, the new scenes are extremely brief, and the clips shown largely have no narration, so the film is almost impossible to follow. As it doesn’t say anything like “this isn’t an actual movie” on the box, I was duped into renting it. Here is the insanity that followed.

After a brief introductory scene where we see a doll maker held up by a woman with a gun, we get our first movie flashback. The man, as a young boy, uses a strange ring to remove brain fluid from living victims and transfer it to the original Puppet Master’s dolls, thus giving them life. In some ways this is very similar to the creation of the monster in Frankenstein, in that the dolls are strapped down and random bolts of electricity shoot out of them. Afterwards, he commands his puppets to attack two wraith like German officers on a train, where a girl is held captive. If this sounds confusing, it’s because it is. There is no explanation of who the men were or why they abducted the woman. Apparently, this is because the earlier scene was a montage from another film.

The Puppet Master later gets shut down by the Gestapo, who shoot his wife, and he then goes into hiding where he continues to use his legion of toys to fight monsters. It’s really hard to figure out though, as entire movies are compressed into brief shorts with no narration.

Finally, we get a flashback with narration, which only reveals why the others didn’t have any narration: nothing really happens. Again the puppets are brought to life, only this time we get references to Frankenstein, both in the way the puppets are brought to life and in the frequent flashes of lightning. Basically, the movie is a series of movies within movies that repeat the same motif: killer puppets with ambiguous morals are brought to life in order to kill those who either deserve it or meddle with their existence.

Then the woman reveals her true intent in hunting down the dolls: she wants to kill them. Reinforcing my belief that the film changes its characters motives whenever it feels like it, the puppets then kill the man she has been holding hostage. All in all, I would estimate that five minutes of actual new footage has elapsed, heavily padded by what looks like every other title in the series.

It’s also tough to figure out whether these toys are good or bad. It’s easy to see that this is part of what makes the series so popular, as it lets the audience view the killer toys as heroes rather than murderers. The main motif, toys killing Nazis, is something any twelve-year-old kid would enjoy, and the toys themselves seem like large action figures, ready made to be sold to kids.

This film represents perhaps the epitome of creative killer toy design. We have a doll who dislodges leeches out of her mouth, a doll with a flamethrower who looks like a refugee from a Nazi propaganda poster, and a doll with a drill for a head. The toys in this film far supersede those of the Child’s Play films and, for sheer creativity, those of any killer toy film I’ve yet seen.

Ultimately, though, I can only recommend this film to anyone who has an interest in the Puppet Master films but doesn’t want to waste sixteen hours watching all of them. On second thought, I don’t really recommend it at all. The box this DVD came in held my interest more than the film.

–Dustin Acton

Doll/Toy Index
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