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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.
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 dollmaker who has devised a machine that can shrink animals and humans to about one-sixth their size. When his current secretary/receptionist June Kenny 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). Kenny is a lovely, blue-eyed, shapely blonde, who was "Teen-Age Doll" (1957), while Agar has his best moments in an un-nerving 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.
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!
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.
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!
*** This review may contain 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.
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.
A lonely, deranged puppet-master (John Hoyt) designs a machine that
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.
*** This review may contain 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.
*** This review may contain 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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