Plot: Mr. Franz (John Hoyt) is a kind, but lonely old doll maker who spends his time alone, crafting his toys or repairing dolls for his customers. His loneliness pushed him into some unusual research, as he was curious if he could somehow shrink items or even people, to doll sized proportions. When Sally (June Kenny) begins to work for Mr. Franz, he is ecstatic to have an office companion, but when she meets Bob (John Agar) and the two begin to get close, Mr. Franz knows he could lose her. So soon Bob disappears and when Sally notices a very life-like doll of him in the workshop, she grows suspicious and even notifies the police. While Mr. Franz is able to explain away her concerns, he realizes she could be a problem for him and in order to keep her, he decides to take some drastic action. But has Mr. Franz really mastered some way to shrink humans into doll size people and if so, can anyone stop his sad, lonely tactics?
Entertainment Value: This is a brisk, fun b movie from Bert I. Gordon, filled with cool visual effects and memorable moments. In essence, Attack of the Puppet People is a chance to see people reduced to doll size and of course, that means some special effects to let us marvel at their diminutive presence. So the little people interact with oversized props, such as trying to dial a normal size telephone or a woman taking a bubble bath in a coffee can. But the movie also tells a competent story, one of a lonely old man who misses his beloved wife, so he goes to extremes to find companionship. Franz has lost his mind of course, but the movie shows sparks of his old persona, kind and sweet, so he isn’t a monstrous mad scientist cliche. John Hoyt is good in the Franz role, mixing creepy and kind to effective ends, with a slant toward the creeper end of the scale. John Agar is hilarious as a blowhard, while June Kenny, Susan Gordon, and Laurie Mitchell are also on the lineup here. Attack of the Puppet People is silly, fun b movie cinema, a brisk and effects driven ride that genre fans should appreciate.
No nakedness. This movie has an eerie vibe at times, with Franz crafting tiny lingerie for his doll girls and the coffee can bath scene, but never gives a second glance to the creepy undercurrent. No blood. There’s no real violence in this one, the most intense scene involves a normal sized dog harassing some of the doll people, but that’s as scary as this movie gets. The dialogue is fine here, with some creepiness from Franz and loudmouth moments from Bob, as well as some 50s lingo and personas that add a little flavor to the movie. The tone is half serious and half camp, but I think the writing is fine and there’s some fun lines here. As for craziness, the visual effects are a lot of fun and add some humor, while Franz and Bob are colorful characters, but there’s also just an odd vibe to the movie at times as well.
Overall Insanity: 2/10