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Puppetmaster (1989)

R  |  Video  |   |  Fantasy, Horror, Sci-Fi  |  1990 (Finland)
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Ratings: 5.6/10 from 6,149 users  
Reviews: 81 user | 86 critic

Neil Gallagher found the secret to Toulon's puppets who come to life and then killed himself. Alex and his psychic friends come to investigate and are stalked by Toulon's puppets who have a... See full summary »



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Title: Puppetmaster (Video 1989)

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Puppet Master II (Video 1990)
Fantasy | Horror | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.4/10 X  

The puppets return, this time they hunt some Paranormal Researchers to take their brain fluid for the dead/living puppet master, Andre Toulon.

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Set in Berlin during WWII, the Nazi regime is attempting to develop a drug that will animate the dead, in order to use in the war effort. Toulon arouses suspicion as a Nazi dissident, and ... See full summary »

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Puppet Master 4 (Video 1993)
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A young scientist working on an artificial intelligence project is the target of strange gremlin-like creatures, who are out to kill him and thus terminate his research. By coincidence, in ... See full summary »

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The puppets battle their most powerful enemy yet as they protect the new puppet master from the demon God that created the Secret of Life.

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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.4/10 X  

In a Stateside hotel during the height of World War II, young Danny Coogan dreams of joining the war effort. Following the murder of hotel guest Mr. Toulon by Nazi assassins, Danny finds ... See full summary »

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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 3.8/10 X  

A scientist attempts to master the art of transferring people's souls into puppets.

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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 3.3/10 X  

Peter Hertz tells a woman the past stories about the puppets, but she secretly wants to kill them.

Director: Charles Band
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Retro Puppet Master (Video 1999)
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.1/10 X  

It's 1892 and Sutekh is hopping mad. It seems a 3,000 year old Egyptian sorcerer has stolen one of the God's secrets of life - that of instilling the souls of the dying into inanimate ... See full summary »

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After foiling a plot to blow up an American arms plant, Danny Coogan and his girlfriend, Beth, quickly find that their troubles have just begun. One of Toulon's mysterious Puppets has been ... See full summary »

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Demonic Toys (Video 1992)
Comedy | Fantasy | Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.1/10 X  

A policewoman, her quarry and an innocent delivery boy become trapped in a haunted toy warehouse

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Horror | Sci-Fi | Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 3.9/10 X  

A group of toymakers seek to use Andre Toulon's formula, now in the hands of Toulon's great-nephew Robert, to give life to a line of killer toys that they plan to unleash on Christmas Eve.

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Dolls (1987)
Fantasy | Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

A group of people stop by a mansion during a storm and discover two magical toy makers, and their haunted collection of dolls.

Director: Stuart Gordon
Stars: Ian Patrick Williams, Carolyn Purdy-Gordon, Carrie Lorraine


Cast overview, first billed only:
Jimmie F. Skaggs ...
Robin Frates ...
Matt Roe ...
Frank Forrester
Kathryn O'Reilly ...
Carlissa Stamford
Theresa (as Merrya Small)
Woman at Carnival
David Boyd ...
Man at Carnival
Peter Frankland ...
Assassin #1
Andrew Kimbrough ...
Assassin #2
Ed Cook ...
Pinhead (voice)
Linda Cook ...
Leech Woman (voice)
Tim Dornberg ...
Tunneler (voice)


Neil Gallagher found the secret to Toulon's puppets who come to life and then killed himself. Alex 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. Written by Josh Pasnak <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Killers Come in All Sizes See more »

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong graphic horror/fantasy violence, a strong sex scene with nudity and strong language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:



Release Date:

1990 (Finland)  »

Also Known As:

Puppet Master  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


| (cut)

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


Leech Woman's mouth is made of foam latex which makes the mouth appear to be more flexible whenever Leech Woman "coughs" up a leech. Only three fourths of the leech mechanism comes out of the puppet, and then a simple camera cut creates the illusion that an entire leech came out of Leech Woman's mouth. See more »


At the beginning, when the puppet Blade is racing around the Bodega Bay Inn grounds, he runs over to the car that had just pulled up. When the door opens and the two assassins walk out, you can see three crew members in the car door window reflection. Two of them are down on their knees holding the camera portraying Blade's birds eye vision. Another is standing on the grass watching over. See more »


Neil Gallagher: I'm the master, and you're the puppet!
See more »


Followed by Curse of the Puppet Master (1998) See more »


La Chorrito
by Pechula Chuppa
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

An often overlooked 80s classic...

Charles Band and his company, Full Moon Pictures, are often labeled as makers of the worst b-movies in the history of the horror genre, however, few seem to remember they kept the genre alive and kicking with their inventive and original brand of low-budget horror during the late 80s and early 90s. "Puppet Master" was the first and arguably the best example of Full Moon's 90s style, a style that included a heavy use of puppetry and stop-motion animation that showed the progression of an idea that he started in his 1987' production "Dolls" (directed by Stuart Gordon).

During World War II, a secret group of Nazis were sent to Bodega Bay, California, to capture puppet maker Andre Toulon (William Hickey), a mysterious old man who had the secret of giving life to inanimate objects. He commits suicide before being caught and so his secret goes with him to the grave. Until nearly 50 years later, a group of psychics lead by Alex Whitaker (Paul Le Mat) are contacted by Neil Gallagher (Jimmie F. Skaggs), a former colleague who apparently made a big discovery in Bodega Bay before committing suicide under mysterious circumstances.

Directed by the tragically underrated David Schmoeller, "Puppet Master" is a very different films that its sequels. Schmoeller plays with the suspense and atmosphere of classic goth films, and successfully mixes those elements with the more graphic shock and gore that was the rule for horror films of its time. With a great eye for the visuals Schmoeller makes great use of his Gothic locations and the terrific camera-work enhances the carefully crafted suspense. The special effects wizards create very good looking effects for the budget and together create what could be called a "gothic slasher".

Schmoeller gives life to Band's story and this mix of fantasy and horror ends up as one of the best screenplays developed at Full Moon. Each puppet has a personality of its own and that is what gives the movie life; the human characters are also very well-defined and for the most part well-acted. Despite the silly premise of a killer toy (already explored in "Child's Play" and "Dolls"), Scmoeller and Band make the work and craft set-pieces of haunting atmospheres. Richard Band's eerie score perfectly showcase the mix of horror and fantasy of the film and it's probably his most famous work. It quickly became the trademark of the series.

As written above, the acting is for the most part good for a movie like this, and while no one really stands out, they all make an efficient job. Paul Le Mat is quite good as the lead character, although the rest of the team soon prove to be more interesting characters. Despite his limited screen time, William Hickey makes a small but charming job as Toulon, and look out for a Barbara Crampton small cameo. As a side-note, it was refreshing to watch a movie where the main characters are middle-aged adults instead of young teenagers.

The movie's main problem (and one that marked the series since its conception) is that the puppets quickly became the focus of everything. This lessen the importance not only of the final villain, but also of the heroes of the movie. While this problem didn't affect that much this movie, it became more notorious as the series started to grow and eventually, the puppets would become the main characters of the movies.

"Puppet Master" may not be everyone's cup of tea, as its premise and the mix of fantasy with horror may turn off some movie goers. However, it is a quality film that proves the talents of both Band and Schmoeller, in a film that has become a cult-classic. 8/10

10 of 13 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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