Dub Cee Reviews: The Puppet Monster Massacre (2011)
Director: Dustin Mills
Writer: Dustin Mills
Star(s): Steve Rimpic, Ethan Holey, Bart Flynn
Ok, full disclosure time, I went to high school with the mind behind this movie. Shared the stage with him, kicked his butt in some Magic: The Gathering, and usually *ahem* got along with him. So, with that disclosure out of the way, how was the movie?
First, I should probably explain exactly what The Puppet Monster Massacre is. It is, well, what do ya know, it is exactly what it says it is. A movie about puppets being massacred by a monster. Well, that part was easy enough.
In all seriousness, The Puppet Monster Massacre (PPM) is a love letter to all those epic, low budget monster flicks from the 70’s and 80’s. You know, the ones you hide BEHIND your porn collection. (I’m looking at you Tick.) PPM borrows heavily from those films, particularly with the premise of the story. This is both a good and a (sorta) bad thing. Its good in that I had fun with all the references back to some classic movies (Evil Dead really jumps out) but, it’s a bad thing in that the story is fairly formulaic. But seriously, if you are watching a movie about puppets being massacred by a monster for its story, then you my friend need to step away slowly and seek immediate medical attention. Oh, and get a sense of humor on your way over. That said, every review should at least recap the general story so, here goes.
The main character is Charlie (Ethan Holey), a typical awkward teenage boy who lives with his grandfather. (Who is just too damned funny.) Charlie receives a mailed invitation to the Wagner mansion for a contest. Stay the night in the mansion and win a million bucks. Charlie, ever the coward, is not going to go until he learns his crush, Gwen (Jessica Daniels), has also received an invitation and will be going. Completing the gang are horror movie super geek Raimi (Dustin Mills) and the “biker” couple Iggy and Mona. (Bart Flynn and Erica Kisserbeth)
The host of the contest is Dr. Wagner (Steve Rimpici) who, of course, is not who he seems to be. Once the teens are inside the mansion he has his penguin assistant (Yes, a penguin, do not piss it off) release his monstrous creation from the basement to feed on the teens. As you may expect, the teens start dropping like flies with the surviving teens oblivious to exactly what is happening.
The puppets actually look really, really good here. And by puppets, I do not mean marionettes like in Team America or Puppet Master, I mean good old fashioned hand puppets. The animation is actually very solid given the budget (right around $3,000 from what I have gathered) and does not detract or distract from what is going on like it does in some movies. The voice acting, overall, is good. You can tell who is new to the game and who is not but again, this is to be expected given the circumstances. I mean, did you watch Toxic Avenger for the academy awarding winning performances? I rest my case. There were a couple of moments when the (awesome) soundtrack drowned out the voice actor but that was maybe twice and for only a moment or two at a time.
My final grade was tough to settle on. You must judge a movie based on what it is and what it was trying to be. On the back of the DVD it reads “…love letter to the monster films of the glorious 80’s.” and The Puppet Monster Massacre is just that. And if you are having doubts about watching this movie or picking up a copy on July 26 (Amazon, Best Buy, FYE, etc) allow me just two words: Puppet Boobs.
Need I say more?