The Puppet Master franchise might be one of the most fondly remembered direct-to-video horror franchises of the ’90s. With ten movies gracing the shelves of Blockbusters across the country, the gleefully self-aware franchise offered up ridiculous gore and even more absurd plotlines as a bunch of killer puppets ran amok. And now, it’s back, with a crazy trailer and poster, in a gleeful reboot from the team behind the cult horror hit Bone Tomahawk.
The movie follows a group of toy collectors (among them Thomas Lennon and horror fan favorite Barbara Crampton) as they discover that the seeming collector’s items they’re bidding on are, in fact, evil Nazi puppets out to kill them with fire and knives, and animated with only the finest practical special effects (as in … there are people with hands up these puppets). If you’ve been following the series, this is an alternate reality, so it shouldn’t be mistaken for the other movies where the puppets are out there killing Nazis for the Allies. Hey, they may be evil dolls animated by a serum derived from ancient Egyptian magic, but they’re also true Americans!
The franchise is leaning hard into its mildly more serious reboot, complete with some well-designed old-school posters. But it’s also not forgetting the inherent absurdity of the premise, so this promises to be a campy good time, and will even get a limited theatrical run, the first in the franchise’s history. If you don’t happen to live near it, though, you’ll be able to check it out August 17th on demand and VOD.