Full Moon Features are a big part of my horror upbringing. I would say they were my first exposure to direct-to-video movies. I remember going to the local video store and grabbing up every “Subspecies,” “Trancers,” “Robot Jox,” and “Dollman” release I could get my hands on. I never thought I’d see the day where these B-movie gems would get a high-definition transfer. That dream came true as I sat down to enjoy the “Puppet Master 3 Disc Blu-ray Slimline Set.”
The collection includes “Puppet Master,” “Puppet Master II,” and “Puppet Master III: Toulon’s Revenge.” In the original, Neil Gallagher (Jimmie F. Skaggs) found the secret to Toulon’s (William Hickey) puppets who come to life and then killed himself. Alex (Paul Le Mat) and his psychic friends come to investigate and are stalked by Toulon’s puppets who have a variety of strange traits including a drill for a head and the ability to spit up leeches.
In “Puppet Master II,” the evil puppets dig up their creator, Toulon (Steve Welles), and bring him back to life. They need the mad puppeteer to concoct more of his formula to keep them alive. Thanks to a new group of paranormal investigators visiting the Bodega Bay Inn, the diabolical little creatures have a fresh supply of humans to use for the ingredients. Complications arise when Toulon becomes mesmerized by the leader of the group who resembles his late wife, Elsa (Elizabeth Maclellan).
“Puppet Master III: Toulon’s Revenge” takes the series in an exciting new direction. In 1941, a doctor named Hess (Ian Abercrombie) is attempting to produce a serum that will re-animate dead soldiers to march on the frontline and give cover for the live ones in battle. He hears about a puppeteer named Toulon (Guy Rolfe) who uses stringless puppets in his performances. Upon investigating, Hess discovers Toulon has generated a potion that brings inanimate objects to life. Toulon’s wife (Sarah Douglas) is killed by the Nazis and the puppeteer uses his wooden creations to exact revenge on those responsible for her death.
The “Puppet Master 3 Disc Blu-ray Slimline Set’s” high-definition transfers give the films a new lease on life. It’s safe to say the movies never looked this good. Charles Band admits that himself in the introduction of the films included on the discs. The coloring is beautiful and there’s no softness to the picture. Everything looks sharp and clean. It’s nice to see these get the facelift they deserve as essential pieces of B-movie horror history.
The movies get 5.1 surround sound upgrades from their original versions. Richard Band’s scores accentuate the dark fairy tale atmospheres of the films and feel fuller. All the sound effects, dialogue, and horrific shrills are given more room to breathe. Fans of these films will hear portions of the audio they won’t remember from the original video and DVD releases because of the improvements made here.
You can see the care and love executive producer / creator Charles Band put into transferring these films for Blu-ray. He makes sure the B-movie tone isn’t lost while cleaning up the picture and correcting coloring issues. It’s safe to say you’ve never viewed the “Puppet Master” movies the way you will in their high-definition versions.
“Puppet Master” comes with a Special Introduction by Charles Band, a Promo for “Puppet Master: Axis of Evil,” “No Strings Attached” Original “Making of” from the first “Puppet Master,” and original Trailers for the First 12 Full Moon Features.
Special features for “Puppet Master II” include an introduction from the set of the new “Puppet Master” movie by Charles Band. He also provides commentary for the film. The original full length “VideoZone” with the making of “Puppet Master II” is here as well. There’s also a montage of the killing scenes, a rare 1997 commercial for “Puppet Master” action figures, and Full Moon trailers to enjoy.
“Puppet Master III: Toulon’s Revenge” is loaded with entertaining extras as well. The same special introduction from “Puppet Master II” is included with audio commentary by Director David DeCoteau and Writer C. Courtney Joyner. An original full length VideoZone featuring the making of “Puppet Master III” is paired with a montage of killing scenes from the film and a rare 1997 “Puppet Master” action figure commercial. There’s also Full Moon trailers contained within.
The “Puppet Master 3 Disc Blu-ray Slimline Set” gives new and old viewers alike the chance to see the films the way they were intended to be. Although they’re cleaned up, they don’t lose any of their B-movie swaggers. They’re classic creature features that will give you a fear of dolls and puppets if you don’t already have one. A combination of entertaining features and great bonus material makes this a must-own release for every B-movie horror enthusiast.
The “Puppet Master 3 Disc Blu-ray Slimline Set” is available now here.