The second installment of the Puppet Master franchise is marginally better than the first and gives us a little of what was needed in the first film, namely a little backstory and the return of Toulon. The movie begins with the puppets digging up their dead master’s grave and pouring the secret formula over his corpse, thereby raising him from the dead. It is soon learned that the chemicals that keep the puppets alive are slowly wearing out and that without a new infusion; they will not live for very much longer thus making Toulon’s resurrection one of necessity and not necessarily one of loyalty or love. Luckily, or not lucky whatsoever, a group of paranormal investigators show up at the hotel and it is revealed that Toulon needs their brains for said formula, that grey matter being the final ingredient in that concoction he learned how to make all them many years ago.
The body count in this film rises as the puppets do their master’s bidding and by default, the blood and violence as well and it is good to see as the first movie was a little tame. If you are going to make a film about murderous puppets, having them do some killing is essential. One of the more comical aspects of the series thus far is that as these puppets kill their victims, for the most part anyways, the people who are on the receiving end do nothing to save themselves. A good example is the man that Tunneler kills in bed. As soon as you start to feel a drill go into your forehead, would you not reach up and try to remove said object? The man’s death was completely preventable, yet all he does is just lay there and kind of flail around. While it makes for engaging scenes, it also makes them laughable as long as the makers of these films continue to ignore basic human responses.
The puppets of course, are the star of the show and this film introduces us to Torch – a Nazi looking robot who has a flamethrower for a hand. Out of all the puppets in the film, he may just be the most dangerous one of all as he seems to have no self-control, though a case can be made for Blade who is pretty devious. Two of the puppets do not make it out of the film, which makes you wonder why more of them are not dead at this point as they are, simply put, puppets. You would also think that out of all of them, Pinhead would be one of the first ones to go as he literally has no special features about him other than his big hands. Sure he is abnormally strong, but again – just a puppet. Be that as it may, despite the film featuring a better script and a few better actors, the puppets are what you come to see and they deliver everything you expect of them.
The film ends on a cliff-hanger which is not so much a bad thing. It does not exactly fill you with anticipation for the next movie or anything, but you do feel kind of glad that the puppets survived even if they are little killing machines. Where it goes from here, one can only wonder, but it is nice to see that they have moved on from the hotel. Also good to see was Toulon in the film, even if that return was not a permanent one. While we discovered a little of his motivations and bit of the why, a real origin story would do this world some justice and put things in better perspective. This second film is a solid entry in the Puppet Master series which means there are only eight more on the horizon.
3 out of 5