Attack of the Puppet People (1958) Poster

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Little Things Mean a Lot
BaronBl00d24 December 2004
What should you do if your wife leaves you for another man? John Hoyt, playing a German puppeteer, decides that he will devise some incredibly complex scientific device that miniaturizes the people he likes so they will never again leave him. Director/producer Bert I. Gordon does it again; he creates a film with a pretty ridiculous script, interesting if not always impressive special effects, and an entertaining film notwithstanding. The film starts out with many puppets already "made" and then shows how Hoyt creates some, interacts with some, how some try to escape and so on... Much of the film is used to let Gordon showcase his effects as the little people are surrounded by large objects. One little person even gets to sing a hip rock song. Hmmm...okay. Ultimately I liked Attack of the Puppet People. It doesn't have the greatest story or acting or effects, but it has heart. It is an inferior film in every way to the impressive Dr. Cyclops made with Albert Dekker the previous decade. Hoyt gives a heartfelt and tired performance. John Agar plays the man who has fallen in love with Hoyt's newest blonde bombshell secretary. He literally has a short fuse! The other actors are competent if nothing else. For me the most fun scene is that with the little girl, played by Gordon's real life daughter Susan, comes into to get her doll fixed and finds a matchbox. Another Mr. BIG production that is fun.
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Puppet Master
twanurit25 May 2001
Yet another minor classic from the 1950s has been released in a pristine B & W print to DVD for posterity and fans' delight. I recall the television print being yellowed and water-marked, but not here, in its crystal clarity, and sharp sound. John Hoyt is excellent as a once-jilted European doll maker who has devised a machine that can shrink animals and humans to about one-sixth their size. When his current secretary/receptionist June Kenney decides to quit to marry John Agar, his loneliness gets the better of him, and they are victimized, along with previous unfortunates. Great rock music is worked into the plot, and they are terrified by a giant rat, cat and dog. Adolph Glasser's music is robust and amplified, the technical effects by the director Bert Gordon well-done for the time (his daughter Susan Gordon plays the little blonde girl). Kenney is a lovely, blue-eyed, shapely blonde, who was "Teen-Age Doll" (1957), while Agar has his best moments in an unnerving puppet show scene with a Dr. Jekyll character. Included in the cast is Laurie Mitchell, the "Queen of Outer Space" (1958), giving a good performance as do the others. Toward the latter part of the decade, nothing was too wild to hit this lucrative market, and this engaging picture stands up to the test of time.
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Typical Bert I. Gordon fare
rosscinema8 July 2003
This was your typical low (I mean low!) budget sci-fi film and the film really doesn't build to an exciting climax. The story starts with a pretty young woman named Sally (June Kenney) who applies for an office job at a small company that makes dolls. She is hired by the kindly owner Mr. Franz (John Hoyt) who keeps losing his office workers. While working for Franz she meets a business associate named Bob Westley (John Agar) and of course he is smitten by her immediately and it doesn't take long for them to start dating and eventually he proposes and wants her to move to St. Louis with him. Franz discovers this and Bob disappears. Sally thinks he is making people into dolls and she goes to the cops and talks to Sgt. Paterson (Jack Kosslyn) who is interested because others have disappeared who been in contact with Franz. Finally Franz gets Sally alone and "Poof"! She wakes up and she's shrunken! Franz brings out Bob and a bunch of others that he has shrunk. Franz is able to shrink people with a machine that uses audio waves to break things down into energy matter. Franz is a lonely old man and he wants company! This film was directed by veteran Bert I. Gordon who would end up directing one of my favorite films of all time "Village of the Giants". Gordon usually made his films about people either growing or shrinking. Hoyt gives a convincing performance as Franz and if he's not just irritating then he's aggravating but thats what you would come to expect from an old kook. Kenney is very attractive and its easy to see why she was used in several of these types of films. Agar had already begun his slump into "Z" movie stardom and its very amusing to watch him get angry and tear apart the marionette. The film has an ending that is somewhat inconclusive but maybe Gordon wanted it that way just in case! Very silly film has lousy special effects but thats the charm to these movies. Several of the actors from "Earth vs. The Spider" appear in this film as Gordon liked using actors that he was comfortable with. Gordon's daughter Susan appears as the little blond girl. If you love these cheap sci-fi films of the 50's like I do, then you want to check this out!
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Nicely handled by all concerned.
Bruce Corneil7 March 2003
Reasonably entertaining entry into the 50s sci fi/horror genre.

Star John Hoyt was always interesting to watch (check out his brief but commanding performance as antique shop proprietor Nils Dryer in "The Big Combo").

The basic theme of this film had, in fact, already been tried out the year before in the vastly superior "Incredible Shrinking Man". However, the 'puppet twist' (good name for a song!) was certainly an original touch.

Co-star John Agar is smoothly competent and does his best against the odds.

Strictly for those whose tastes lean towards the ultra-cheesy variety of midnight movie fare.
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Pure fun! An excellent 50s sci-fi classic!
Casey-526 November 1999
This is the only review for this film? Well I better milk it for everything it's worth! This movie is truly one of the best 50s sci-fi movies. Bert I. Gordon does it again; he really did his best work in the 50s. The story is quite simple: a dollmaker shrinks people so he can keep the people he loves close to him. The effects are above average considering the age of the film and the acting is pretty good. But what do you really look for in a 50s sci-fi movie? Special effects and monsters, of course. Now monsters aren't present (unless you count a giant cat and a giant rat), but the special effects are great! The best scene: John Agar and June Kenney are forced to be a part of a puppet show, Agar gets annoyed and beats his marionette "co-star" to a pulp!
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A strange little film
mbryanbook12 August 2006
Warning: Spoilers
I remember seeing this odd little movie as a kid and enjoying it, I guess because of the puppetry and "little people" angle, which has always fascinated me. After seeing it several times since, I still like it. It's nothing profound, but the sets for the "dolls" were pretty good for the time. The title is just Hollywood talking -- it doesn't make any sense because the little people aren't puppets and they don't attack. I don't think Mr. Franz, played by John Hoyt, is an evil man at heart, just driven to do what he does by his extreme loneliness, which in the end destroys his moral judgment. This is an old movie in my collection I'll watch from time to time for nostalgic value and continue to enjoy.
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A clever way to keep your friends close.
lastliberal15 March 2008
Now, this is a strange little man. Mr Franz (John Hoyt) makes dolls. But, in addition to his regular dolls, he has some very special ones that look oh so realistic.

Left by his wife for an acrobat, Franz has found a way that one one he loves will ever leave again.

Sally Reynolds (June Kenney), his new secretary found out the hard way that Franz can't bear to part with those he loves.

But, the best laid plans of mice and men often go astray, and so do the plans of Mr Franz as Bob (John Agar) save the day and his love.

A strange film.
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Oh, Bert Gordon, You Make Such Great Cheese
gavin694228 January 2013
A lonely, deranged puppet-master (John Hoyt) designs a machine that shrinks people.

Although this film has had rather negative reviews over the years and holds a poor ranking on IMDb, there is a special kind of enjoyment in this film, and any with John Agar and / or directed by Bert Gordon. Are the special effects terrible? Yes. Is the plot weak? Surely. But we expect that from 1950s science fiction films, which I think works in the movie's favor (although decades too late).

I also appreciate the historical value of this film and its role in the Watergate scandal. I am not familiar with the story, so I cannot say if it is true, but the idea is that instead of warning his co-conspirators of detectives, a Watergate burglar was busy watching this film. Hence, this movie can be credited with bringing down Richard Nixon. That is quite a feat!

As an added bonus, this film marks the acting debut of Susan Gordon, the director's daughter, who would go on to appear in many of his pictures and in other productions. She was "cast" completely by accident when the real actress was not available, and this decision may have altered the history of the role the Gordon family took in film.
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Welcome to Mr. BIG's Dollhouse!
Coventry7 October 2007
Yes, welcome to another cheerfully inept Bert I. Gordon (B.I.G) Sci-Fi/horror romp, in which the silliness usually triumphs over adequate scripting and where the special effects look cheaper than half a handful of pennies. "Attack of the Puppet People" is a thoroughly shameless cash-in on the success of "The Incredible Shrinking Man", but in this light-headed story there's no room for building up claustrophobic atmosphere, let alone the preaching of philosophical messages. It's a fun and charming little movie, but totally lacking depth, credibility and a proper elaboration of the basic premise. John Hoyt stars as a brilliant doll maker slash inventor of shrinking equipment (rather unusual combination, but okay), but he's very lonely and emotionally frustrated since his beloved wife walked out on him once, several years ago. So now, he uses his magic, invisible ray projecting devise to miniaturize the people he risks losing, like his cute secretary Sally and her fiancé Bob. Mr. Franz keeps his little friends asleep in tubes, but also does his best to entertain them with tiny dance parties, the newest Barbie & Ken outfits and even trips to the 'Jekyl & Hyde' marionette-theater. The 'attack' referred to in the title is quite inaccurate, as the little folks don't attack anyone (with the exception of a lifeless Dr. Jekyll marionette) but they do want to escape and regain their normal previous measurements. "Attack of the Puppet People" is a fairly forgettable and poor film, but it's slightly better and more stylish than most of the things B.I.G accomplished and at least it's never boring. Hoyt is fine as the pitiable & awkward old toymaker, but the supportive cast is too underdeveloped and bleak. If anything, this is an insignificant but pleasant 50's gem with some funny highlights, like the marionette-fight and one of the shrunken gals quacking the cheesy theme song "I'm your living Doll".
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Little B.I.G. Man
flapdoodle6419 March 2013
Warning: Spoilers
Bert I. Gordon (BIG) stands out as one of the more successful grade-Z auteurs of 1950's films, having made within a few short years a slew of monster/scifi ultra low budget films, all of which involve fantastical changes in the size of people or animals. BIG never made films as good or subversive as Roger Corman, but BIG made a lot of super-cheap films in a short time that made money, provided employment for actors, and provided material for drive-in theaters.

Most of the BIG films involve people or animals that become giants, but this one involves a mad toy-maker who shrinks people so as to fulfill some kind of weird personal fetish. There is a crisis point about 2/3 way through this film where Mad Scientist Hoyt decides he must kill his shrunken pets...there is a hint of genuine horror at this point, and I was reminded of the real-life horror the Andrea Yates case, herself guilty of infanticide and simulatanously a victim of both poor mental health and fundamentalist religion.

BIG borrows heavily here, from sources as wide-ranging as the Bride of Frankenstein to The Incredible Shrinking Man, as his visuals go. As far as BIG's patented FX techniques go, this is one of his more refined pieces, along with War of the Collosil Beast.

Eternally geriatric John Hoyt, who was good in 'When Worlds Collide' and as Gene Roddenberry's original choice for the doctor of the starship Enterprise, plays the mad villain, and does a fine job of it. Hoyt's performance holds the film together, and despite the mad scientist schtick, he is ultimately more engaging than John Agar, to whom I have assigned the title World's Most Unlikable Actor.

This is standard, mid-grade BIG fare, which is to say, an enjoyable waste of time for those who enjoy Drive-In era films. The story is not terribly complicated, and I think BIG padded things out so that this film would have sufficient running time for theatrical release, otherwise it could have been done as an episode of the Twilight Zone.

BIG made this film for peanuts. Ten years after its release, TV schlockmeister Irwin Allen tweaked the concept slightly, and made the series 'Land of the Giants,' which at the time was the most expensive TV show ever produced, and ultimately much more tiresome than this quaint artifact.
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Not Your Typical B.I.G. Production
Brian Washington18 December 2004
Warning: Spoilers
This is definitely a prototypical Bert I. Gordon production. However, in this film, instead of people being grown to colossal (pardon the pun) heights, the plot deals with humans being shrunken. Also, the title is rather misleading since the titular "puppet people" are the victims instead of the attackers. As for the film itself, it is a pretty okay Grade-B science fiction film despite the cheapness of it all. Also, the antagonist, Mr. Franz, is not your typical evil scientist. He is just a lonely old man who is driven mad after his wife has left him. That alone makes this film a little bit better than Gordon's other infamous films. However, there is one complaint I have about the film and that is the fact that we never find out what happened to Mr. Franz's other victims. That little fact pretty much left me hanging and wondering if they managed to escape or if Franz killed them.
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Fairly enjoyable "so-bad-it's-good" 50s nonsense.
Fedor Petrovic (fedor8)7 January 2007
Warning: Spoilers
"Attack of the Puppet People"? Where is that much-anticipated, much-advertised attack? The puppet people were pretty harmless, and were attacked themselves a couple of times - first by a rat, then by a dog - but never came even close to attacking someone themselves. The most dangerous that the puppet people ever came to being - to anyone - was when the male hero told the villain to move away from the door (there may have even been a small shove with a shoulder - *gasp*!); but even this doesn't count because the hero was not a puppet person at that point anymore. Instead of attacking, the puppet people drank Champaign, danced, and occasionally gathered together to discuss escape plans at length (but were a bit ineffective when it actually came to following them through).

This is a dumb little Bert I. Gordon film, though he has done stuff much worse than this. There are certainly moronic moments and some rather insipid dialog, but all in all the film is quite far from being one of the worst of all time. The stupidest dialog is when the heroine went to the police, and the apathy of the missing persons' officer towards her story of a man who shrinks people. Even when she names two missing persons that are in his "missing" files he remains indifferent and quite uninterested, while facing the uncovering of - at worst - a possible mass murderer. Another standout, i.e. another outstanding moronic scene, is when the heroine applies for a job; instead of begging the villain to employ her, he ends up begging her to take the job, even promising to raise the salary if necessary! This is certainly a unique view that Gordon has of the world of job-seeking and employment. Very silly the way the movie's evil-meister tells the "dolls" to lie down in a suit case, then closes it while it's lying horizontally - without strapping the "dolls" for safety - and then carries it vertically! Wouldn't the doll people be all roughed up with multitudes of broken bones and backs? As for the special effects, they are... what special effects? There are huge props like a big telephone and a cupboard, and such, but otherwise... Well, there is one funny special effects moment: when the villain burns a doll, and says it's just plastic, except that it isn't plastic - it's paper; a photo of the main hero posing as a plastic doll! A problem with the film is that 90% of it takes place in one or two rooms; watching the film, one gets the feeling one is locked away in a basement and has to sit through the night till one can get to see daylight again.
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Blueprint for LAND OF THE GIANTS
LCShackley24 March 2008
It's hard to begin to describe all the faults of this movie. The wooden dialog, perhaps? Or the wooden actors? Or the plot, which might have made a good 30-minute TWILIGHT ZONE but overstays its welcome in feature format? The subplot with Franz's old friend, and the long theater scene near the end, should have ended up on the cutting room floor.

Part of the weakness is the handling of the villain. The director can't seem to figure out if he wants us to be afraid of him, or feel sorry for him. The closing shot would argue for the latter. But the puppet master is obviously a twisted, manipulative individual. John Hoyt never really gives us that feeling. He might as well be Geppetto, for how frightening he comes across. Most of his victims seem not to care about their fate, which also reduces the fear factor.

The music is trite, with overblown stingers in the first 15-20 minutes every time we see a "puppet person," and restless churning in later action scenes. The special effect shots are amateurish and ineffective; perhaps in 1958, they would have caused a gasp or two. And good old Bert Gordon once again inserts an ad for his other big movie (COLOSSAL MAN). He did the same thing in EARTH VS THE SPIDER.

What struck me the most was how this film, more than SHRINKING MAN, became the blueprint for Irwin Allen's LAND OF THE GIANTS. We have the mixed array of tiny people, trying to communicate on over-sized phones, sliding down power cords and shimmying up desk drawers, and running across giant floors (shot from a crane). Then of course they have to contend with giant rats, cats, and automobiles. You can almost see the light turn on over Irwin's head as he watches.

I'm a fan of corny 50s and 60s science fiction flicks, but this one has little to recommend it, even in the schlock department. Beware: it may shrink your brain, or at least your attention span.
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Attack Of The Puppet People (Bert I. Gordon, 1958) **1/2
MARIO GAUCI12 October 2013
Typically, director Gordon here puts his mark on a popular horror theme – in this case, the shrinking of human beings (displayed in glass receptacles very similar to the ones in which Dr. Praetorius showed off his own 'little people' in James Whale's BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN [1935]!), that had seen service during the genre's heyday in both THE DEVIL-DOLL (1936) and DR. CYCLOPS (1940), and which was just reworked in Sci-Fi terms for the nuclear age in THE INCREDIBLE SHRINKING MAN (1957); incidentally, the film under review made for an inverse scenario to its director's two "Colossal Man" efforts (which I will be checking out presently). Though the end result is certainly harmless and not unentertaining, I cannot say to have been very enthused with it either. The main reason for this, apart from the obvious lack of surprise within the narrative, is the fact that, much as the film wanted to render the villain (an excellent John Hoyt) sympathetic by emphasizing the consuming loneliness that caused him to take drastic action to overcome this, I simply could not buy it – both as a believable ploy (how did he ever expect his subjects to take their 'affliction' sitting down?!) and as a fantasy element (so the size of an object caught on camera is proportional to the projector's distance from the screen…but what exact bearing does this have on the re-assembling of atoms from one place to the other?!). Another unfortunate aspect to the movie is the apparently obligatory inclusion of 'hip' teenagers…who literally dance to the tune supplied by the puppet-master, that is, until the more level-headed arrival in their fold of star and genre regular John Agar! A subplot involving Hoyt's inconveniently enthusiastic old pal Michael Mark, a more traditional manager of marionettes, and his equally insufferable theatre caretaker does not help matters. For the record, the director's daughter (Susan) makes her acting debut in this one.
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little big people
Lee Eisenberg5 December 2011
Bert I. Gordon (aka BIG) was known for his ridiculous but enjoyable movies. "Attack of the Puppet People" is a prime example. It's about a doll maker (John Hoyt) who is actually shrinking humans down to the size of dolls and keeping them. So, his secretary (June Kenney) becomes the latest victim. It's a pretty fun movie. In fact, there's a scene that I'm surprised got past the censors (you'll know it when you see it).

Yes, the title and poster are both misleading (the dog only appears for about a minute), but the point of the movie is to have fun, and it succeeds, and even has a cool dance scene. As it was, I read that this movie played a role in Watergate: the person who was supposed to be keeping a lookout was watching "AotPP" and wouldn't tear himself away from it. I don't know if that story is true, but if it is, then he must have been savoring that one scene that I mentioned. That scene, for lack of a better description, is truly a PIECE OF HEAVEN! Anyway, really fun.

PS: John Agar was Shirley Temple's first husband.
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Not bad for its kind,but that ending......
garyb046 September 2008
Warning: Spoilers
I rented this movie through Netlflix the other day and I must say,I was disappointed in the ending.Should I expect so much from a low budget movie from the 50's made my Bert I. Gordon?? I think so.I enjoyed the movie for the most part,but I did wonder why after the first 4 people was out of their tube in the beginning that they were happy about their situation,then turn around later and want to escape.What made them change their minds??? I did like The Amazing Colossal Man and Village of the Giants(from seeing them on TV way back then to Mystery Science Theater 3000).They were guilty pleasures and still are.What made me upset or disappointed(depending on how you look at it)was that John Agar and June Kenny didn't shrink the old man,put him in one of those tubes and take him to the police.Too predictable,perhaps?? They just left him there while they went to go get the police.Plus,what happened to the other 4 people?? Making too much out of it?? Maybe,but there's no payoff,right??? Didn't they think the old man would run off or maybe shrink some more people while they were gone?? Anyway,I liked the movie,but thought the ending was weak...Thank you! I'm outta here!!
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Mad scientist creates "little people"
Chris Gaskin13 April 2006
Warning: Spoilers
Attack of the Puppet People is one of the better efforts from Mr BIG. I liked this.

A doll maker and mad scientist, Mr Franz is lonely after losing his wife, so he reduces an engaged couple to small size. We then learn that he has shrunk more people and police start getting suspicious when some of these are reported missing. Franz forces his live "puppets" to sing and dance. Then he takes them to the local theatre for one final performance before he plans to kill them, but the engaged couple manage to escape and they head back to Franz's lab, but not before encountering a rat and dog. When back there, they manage to resume to normal size and report Franz to the police. We never know what happened to the other "little people".

The special effects aren't too bad for a Mr BIG movie, but the giant rat sequence looks a little dodgy.

The cast include some familiar faces from 1950's sci-fi/horror: John Hoyt (The Lost Continent, When Worlds Collide) as Franz, John Agar (Tarantula, The Mole People, The Brain From Planet Arous), June Kenney (Earth vs the Spider) and Mr BIG's real life daughter Susan Gordon (Tormented).

Attack of the Puppet People is a must for all 50's sci-fi fans. Excellent.

Rating: 3 stars out of 5.
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One of the Better AIP Features of the 50s
jckogel12 June 2014
While not a classic, this is one of the better AIP sci-fi films of the 50s. John Hoyt does a great job playing the lonely doll maker shrinking real people that he likes to provide him company in an apparently lonely life. The sets and props(for AIP standards)were quite good. On the "fun facts" mentioned on the DVD case, they refer to the "War of the Colossal Beast" as the film Bob and Sally watched at the drive-in. While that film was co-billed with this one, the film that they were actually watching was "The Amazing Colossal Man" of which the co-bill to "Puppet People" was the sequel.

The"Midnite Movies" DVD edition of this film is excellent with a sharp image and great contrast. The film is presented in it's original aspect ratio (1:33).
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Mr. B.I.G. Goes Small
ferbs5418 April 2011
Warning: Spoilers
As most psychotronic-film fans already know, producer/director/FX man Bert I. Gordon was not called Mr. B.I.G. for his acronym alone. From the mid-1950s until at least 1965, Gordon was the creator of a string of entertainments featuring over-sized protagonists, including 1955's "King Dinosaur" (giant, uh, dinosaurs); 1957's "Beginning of the End" (giant grasshoppers), "The Cyclops" (a radiation-spawned giant mutant in a Mexican cave) AND "The Amazing Colossal Man" (a plutonium-blasted giant mutant, to cap off a big year for Mr. B.I.G.!); 1958's "War of the Colossal Beast" (the sequel to "The Amazing Colossal Man," in which giant Colonel Manning returns, albeit with a more messed-up face) and "Earth vs. the Spider" (a giant arachnid); and 1965's "Valley of the Giants" (giant teenagers). Tucked in amongst these outsized films, perhaps inspired by the great success of the sci-fi classic "The Incredible Shrinking Man" in 1957 or maybe just a desire to do something different, Gordon switched gears a bit and, in 1958, gave the world "Attack of the Puppet People." In this one, John Hoyt plays a doll maker named Mr. Franz. A former marionette worker in Europe, Franz has lately led a lonely existence, due to his wife having ditched him years back, in Luxembourg, for an acrobat. Now working in L.A., Franz devises a method of ensuring that none of his companions will ever leave him again. As his salesman (John Agar) and pretty new secretary (June Kenny) soon discover, Franz has invented a new gizmo that enables him to shrink people and objects down to doll size; when not playing with his "toys," the kindly old kook keeps them in glass tubes in a state of suspended animation. A BIG problem for his little friends!

Anyway, it must be said here that, fun as Gordon's picture is, it is but a pip-squeak when compared to "The Incredible Shrinking Man." Unlike the superb FX featured in that earlier film, the FX in "Puppet People" range from well done (Agar climbing a chest of drawers) to shoddy (that teeny cat in Franz' palm). The picture would be infinitely better if Hoyt exhibited a bit more maniacal menace, rather than coming off as the insane Mister Rogers that Eccentric Cinema has so aptly called him. The film's ending is something of a rushed anticlimax, too, and Franz' ultimate fate was not a satisfying one, for this viewer. A harsher form of cosmic retribution would have been more appropriate. Still, the film remains fun. How great to see actress Laurie Mitchell, who I had only seen before as the superscarred "Queen of Outer Space," here playing a glamour-girl little person (VERY little person, that is!). And how funny is it that Agar and Kenny sit in a drive-in theatre watching "The Amazing Colossal Man" as Agar proposes marriage, with Colonel Manning's line "I'm not're shrinking" booming from the speakers and coming as some cruel portent of fate? Turns out that Mr. B.I.G. could also go small, and with highly entertaining results....
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A fun 50's sci-fi romp
Woodyanders6 November 2008
Warning: Spoilers
Kindly, but sad and lonely doll maker Mr. Franz (an excellent performance by John Hoyt) shrinks some folks to miniature size so he cam have some company. His latest victims are affable salesman Bob Westley (50's science fiction film regular John Agar in fine form) and sweet secretary Sally Reynolds (a charming turn by lovely blonde June Kenney). Bob, Sally and four other diminutive people try to find a way to get out of the clutches of the benign, yet deranged Franz. Director Bert I. Gordon relates the engrossing premise at a steady pace and maintains a generally serious tone throughout. George Worthington Yates' surprisingly thoughtful script offers a poignant portrait of how loneliness can drive someone crazy. This film further benefits from solid acting by a sturdy cast: Hoyt brings a moving blend of pathos and sympathy to his credible portrayal of Franz, Agar and Kenney make for highly engaging leads, plus there's bang-up support from Jack Kosslyn as the hard-nosed Sergeant Paterson, Michael Mark as friendly puppeteer Emil, Marlene Willis as spunky, adorable teenager Laurie, Ken Miller as the laid-back Stan, Laurie Mitchell as the sassy Georgia Lane, Scott Peters as the easygoing Mac, and Gordon's adorable daughter Susan as a cute girl scout with a broken doll. Ernest Laszlo's crisp black and white cinematography does the trick. The roaring dramatic score is likewise up to par. The huge props and sets are quite good. The special effects are pretty decent, if a tad on the chintzy side. Moreover, this movies delivers a few amusingly campy moments: Laurie serenades Franz with the catchy song "You're My Living Doll" and Georgia takes a bath in a big coffee can. An enjoyable picture.
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Oh that beautiful doll, the formerly buxom blonde doll...
mark.waltz18 May 2016
Warning: Spoilers
The attack doesn't come from puppets, but from shrunken humans, a la Dr. Cyclops. This isn't Technicolor big budget 1940 Paramount, but cheap, low- budget black and white American International, the pride of late 1950's drive in double features. In fact, this film salutes their reputation by showing two of the soon to be dolls watching "The Amazing Colossal Man" at the drive-in, giving audiences a thrill by being at the drive-in watching characters in a movie at the drive-in.

Better than professional critical reviews lead me to believe it to be, this is best described as a hoot. It all surrounds the lonely old doll maker John Hoyt who keeps the people he likes as companions by shrinking them to doll size and plans to do them all in when he is on the verge of being discovered so they can be together forever. Campy and fun, this is just delightful in every respect. It gets really funny when the doll-sized humans end up in a little party with champagne and music, jitterbugging as the pathetic Hoyt watches.

There really aren't any surprises, but the comic element keeps things moving at a rapid pace and the acting really isn't all that bad. John Agar and June Kenny are fine as the main two living dolls who put the plot together to get themselves back to life-sized humans. It gets more intense as his crazy plans are revealed, but the comic element remains, having Hoyt intermingle his dolls with the puppets he sometimes does show off on stage. Reversing the Colossal man and the 50' Woman, thus isn't as ground-breaking as "The Incredible Shrinking Man", but it isn't all wretched either. My only question is what became of the others left behind in the theater, as well as what ultimately happened to Hoyt after the final shot.
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Offbeat Mad Scientist
dougdoepke14 April 2016
People are disappearing and it seems to center around a doll-maker's office-repair shop. Sweet young Sally applies as receptionist at the office and marvels at the life-like detail of the owner's array of dolls. Maybe this is a job she shouldn't have taken.

Oddball slice of 50's sci-fi. Franz (Hoyt) may be a mad scientist, but he's hardly the standard cruel stereotype. Nonetheless, with an infernal machine, he does shrink people down to doll size and keep them in little glass cylinders. But, he's not power- mad like the usual nutcase. Instead, he's a lonely old man who must have company when he needs it. Thus his human dolls can be resuscitated at will so he can watch them party and have a good time. His situation is rather poignant instead of infernal. He really means them no harm, though he's clearly lost perspective.

Rather surprisingly, Hoyt is excellent as the benighted Franz. The actor usually plays cruel types, but here he's almost genial and without a single snarl. Special effects are simple—an unobtrusive split screen separating the normal from the miniature. Thus, we get the two worlds coming together on the same screen. However somebody should have caught the fleeting shadow cast against a process screen near movie's end. I confess to liking this cheap indie, maybe because it breaks so many of the mad scientist rules. Nonetheless, the title is misleading and I can see 50's drive-in hot- rodders and their dates feeling cheated from a lack of scary scenes to cuddle up over.
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Underrated "MR. BIG" Movie…Charming with Some Thrills
LeonLouisRicci25 March 2015
Somewhat Charming with a couple of Terrifying Scenes, this MR. BIG(an affectionate nickname for Director and SFX wizard Bert I. Gordon) Movie is Entertaining enough and the Director sure knew How to use Props and Mattes for some Low Budget Thrills.

His Movies always had a "Look". A High Contrast Otherworldly Appearance that gave His Stuff an Ethereal Atmosphere of Another Place in Time Space.

This one is a Cute "Little" Story about a Lonely Man, John Hoyt, in a Soft Spoken Endearing Performance, that "Makes" His own Friends by Scientifically Shrinking Anyone He "Likes having around.".

There are some Good Action Scenes when the "Dolls" Escape and a few Interesting Scenes with a Cat, a Dog, and a Jekyll and Hyde Marionette. Overall, Worth a Watch for Fans of B-Movies, Drive-In Fare, Fifties Psychotronic Pictures.
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Atypical Bert I. Gordon fare
CelluloidTime3 July 2011
Attack of the Puppet People is a "psycho-drama" — it's literally a case study of a mild-mannered man who is actually a demented, controlling sociopath. This isn't really a sci-fi film at all, and it certainly is very different from other Bert I.Gordon films in that the entire film takes place on a couple of small sets, and mostly in the claustrophobic, office-like laboratory. The film is completely about Mr. Franz and the extent to which he will destroy people's lives just so he can have complete control over them; Franz is Stalin in the guise of a grandfatherly lab technician and doll-restoration expert. Do not laugh at me when I say that I've watched this film 5 or 6 times in recent years and found that it improves with successive viewings. John Hoyt's performance is excellent. Attack of the Puppet People is an underrated film.
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a fun movie
johnc214118 June 2009
As many times as i watch attack of the puppet people,i enjoy it every time.its one of those fun American international pictures from the fabulous fifties.although not as good or as expensive as incredible shrinking man its brilliance on a shoestring budget,great b-movie actors;John Agar(tarantula,revenge of the creature)John Hoyt(x the man with x-ray eyes)June Kenney(earth vs the spider)and yes Hank Patterson(Zeb on green acres)i enjoyed the 50's music and soundtrack from the late great;Albert Glasser.who scored many great 50's movies. OK the plot really simple a meek mad doll maker(Hoyt)hires secretaries and shrinks them to doll size,not to mention others like a teen queen,a marine,and even a cat.he shrinks the mailman but you never see him after he is shrunk.the mad doll maker keeps him in his jar i guess. well there are some good props and good special effects from b-movie maker;Bert I Gordon like a giant rat,cat and dog.this movie was originally shown on a double bill with the amazing colossal man. from the b-movie kings at A.I.P.(James H Nicholson and Samuel Z Arkoff) too bad its a short movie.Micheal Mark is also in this movie as the mad doll makers friend from Germany,a puppeteer.Micheal Mark was in the original Frankenstein,and later in the wasp woman.a great character actor.i know most critics would think I'm crazy for giving this 8 out of 10,but ill say this,to each his(or her)own.puppet people is a fun movie.
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