Story: Even though this the third installment in this series, Puppet Master 3 is really the origin of the puppets, and tells the story of how they came to be. As we know, Toulon (Guy Rolfe) has unlocked the secret to life and instilled that power within his puppets, which can walk and move with no assistance. Dr. Hess (Iam Abercrombie), a Nazi official has heard the rumors of these magical puppets and orders his men to invade Toulon’s theatre and capture his puppets. In the raid Toulon and his puppets are taken prisoner and Elsa (Sarah Douglas), Toulon’s wife is killed. While the Nazis have the upper hand for a time, Toulon’s puppets rebel in transport, attack the guards, and manage to escape along with their master. Now Toulon has revenge on his mind and he uses his special formula to create new puppets to join his already created team. Six-Shooter is crafted for his gun slinging ability, Blade is modeled after one of the Nazis, and Leech Woman is created with the essence of the fallen Elsa. Will Toulon have his revenge, or will the Nazis goose-step all over him and his puppets?
Entertainment Value: This is perhaps my favorite installment of the Puppet Master series, since there’s more of a storyline here and we learn more about the genesis of Toulon’s creations. It’s very cool to see some of the familiar puppets being created and also watching the new puppet, Six-Shooter take form. While I liked the addition of Torch in the previous film, Six-Shooter is just as cool looking and has a hilarious personality at times, which means he packs twice the punch. It seems like the puppets move better than ever in this episode, which is due to the experience of Dave Allen’s team, who worked on the previous two Puppet Master movies as well. The detail on Six-Shooter is excellent and he is loaded with smaller moving parts that really add to his visual impact. While the other puppets look about the same, the movement seems a little more fluid and natural. As always, we get to see the little puppets kick ass and take names here and it wouldn’t be a Puppet Master flick if they didn’t, now would it? I recommend this release to fans of the series as well as lovers of puppets everywhere, and this would also make a terrific introduction film for newcomers to the series.
This one has some nakedness, though not much. A bathtub foursome reveals three topless women, while a second scene adds another topless moment to the docket. So just a little sleaze on file here, but some nudity is better than none, right? The blood quotient begins with a gruesome medical experiment, then branches out into some splashy gunshot wounds throughout, some severe hand trauma, a garotte session, a nasty drill attack from Tunneller, and a fun hook to the head sequence. There are some smaller instances of the red stuff as well, in addition to these highlights. The dialogue stays on trend of the series, with few memorable or big quotable lines, but the humor is increased overall. So there’s more quips and humorous exchanges, which is a welcome shift. As for craziness, the more colorful characters, increased humor, leech party, and Pinhead’s beatdowns add to the good times. I love to see Pinhead on the warpath and this time, we even see him wield a brick against the Nazis.
This film was directed by David DeCoteau, who has a resume packed with cult movies that stand out from the crowd. DeCoteau was a wise choice for this one and he even returned to the series to helm two more films. This guy’s movies might not be for everyone, but I find them highly entertaining and original, something lacking in many mainstream movies these days. If you’re a fan of offbeat cinema, you should take the time to explore this guy’s work for sure. Other films on DeCoteau’s resume include Totem, Voodoo Academy, Talisman, Test Tube Teens From The Year 2000, and Beach Babes From Beyond. DeCoteau doesn’t always use his real name for his films, so look for movies by Victoria Sloan and Ellen Cabot as well. The acting in this film is above the normal Puppet Master standards, with the performance of Guy Rolfe especially standing out. Rolfe also returns in Puppet Master 4, Puppet Master 5, and Retro Puppet Master, so the creators must have liked his work as well. The rest of the cast includes Ian Abercrombie (Army of Darkness, Wild Wild West), Sarah Douglas (Voodoo, Hell Mountain), Kris Logan (Demolition Man, The Rocketeer), Richard Lynch (Eight Men Out), and Walter Gotell (The Living Daylights).
Overall Insanity: 3/10