Review: Puppet Master (Blu-ray)

88 Films trots out their own Blu-ray release of Full Moon's home video classic, Puppet Master!

  • Director: David Schmoeller
  • Starring: Paul Le Mat, William Hickey, Irene Miracle, Barbara Crampton
  • Year: 1989
  • Runtime: 89 Minutes
  • Company: 88 Films
  • Format: Blu-ray
  • Discs: 1 - 25GB
  • Video: 1.85:1 - 1080p - AVC
  • Audio: English DTS-HD MA 5.1, LPCM Stereo
  • Region: All
  • Released: 8/20/2012

Whether it's a major movie studio or a miniscule independent outfit, there's always one film that is essentially the renowned hallmark that jump started the production houses into a stratosphere of success. For Charles Bands' Full Moon Features, Puppet Master is such a film. With the demise of Empire Pictures (distributor of such classics as Re-Animator, Terrorvision, etc), it wasn't long before Band was back into the studio business, thus giving birth to the nostalgic Full Moon we all know and love.
Puppet Master begins at a luxurious seaside hotel in 1939, where puppeteer Andre Toulon is spiffing up his latest creation until inbound Nazi assassins lead him to gather up his very much alive puppets and hide them before committing suicide. Cut to a group of disbanded psychic colleagues in 1989, who gather at the aforementioned resort to discover their visions may be stemming from one of their own who recently died. As the night progress, the visitors begin to be dispatched by pint sized killers under the control of a new master.
Opting to ditch theatrical avenues, Charles Band partnered with Paramount to release Puppet Master straight to VHS under an exclusive home video deal which proved to be financially fruitful, and the rest is history. I've long been a fan of Full Moon's output, but up until now I've somehow managed to dodge viewing their most recognizable title (as well as the dozens of sequels). With my virginal viewing, I unsurprisingly agree that Puppet Master was and still is a video classic.

  • Video
88 Films release marks the second home video release of Puppet Master on Blu-ray and easily trumps Full Moon's two year old inaugural release. Let's face it, Puppet Master is a drab/soft looking film but 88 Films release really sports some HD finesse. Detail is consistent throughout while colors are vibrant and flesh tones are accurately warm. It's a definite upgrade in comparison to previous releases on the various formats and should satisfy those looking for a definitive release. This is the best Puppet Master has ever looked and likely ever will for the time being.
  • Audio
The included DTS-HD MA 5.1 was newly created just for this release and it sounds terrific. Richard Band's score has never sounded better thanks to the utilization of surround sound, with dialogue and other effects work coming through clear and balanced.

Bonus Features
  • UK Exclusive Audio Commentary - Author Justin Kerswell & Callum Waddell
  • Audio Commentary - Charles Band
  • Featurette - "No Strings Attached"
Making it's transition from VHS, Full Moon's Videozone making-of segment is included here in all of it's analog glory. The greatest trinket of info from this is learning that the hands of Pinhead belong to a dwarf woman!
  • Introduction - Charles Band
Carried over from the 2010 US Blu-ray release is a 5 minute intro from head honcho Charlie Band, who offers some insight into how Full Moon came to be & Puppet Master marking their foray into the home video market.
  • Trailers
An HD trailer for Puppet Master is included, as well as trailers for Full Moon's more recent DTV flicks.
  • Reversible Art
You're given the option of sporting the original video cover or the newly commissioned art courtesy of Graham Humphreys.