The Puppet Masters (1994)

R  |   |  Horror, Sci-Fi, Thriller  |  21 October 1994 (USA)
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Reviews: 60 user | 42 critic

The Earth is invaded by alien "slugs" that ride on people's backs and control their minds.



(novel), (screenplay), 2 more credits »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Mary Sefton
Alex Holland
Tom Mason ...
President Douglas
Marshall Bell ...
General Morgan
Nicholas Cascone ...


Strange aliens land in the Midwest, taking over people's minds in order to spread their dominion. Sam Nivens and Andrew Nivens, aided by Mary Sefton, are part of a government agency who must stop the the aliens before the aliens get to them... Written by Steve Fenwick <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Trust No-one.

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for violence, sci-fi gore and brief language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

21 October 1994 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Robert A. Heinlein's The Puppet Masters  »

Box Office


$8,638,072 (USA)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?


Some shots of the film were filmed in downtown Fresno, California in 1994. See more »


In the scene where the monkey gets infected by the alien and starts typing, the keys he presses do not match what he is writing. See more »


Sam: So if the two of you are being shot at, which bullet do I take?
Andrew: Why you must try for both, of course.
See more »


References Alien (1979) See more »

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User Reviews

Muppet Pastors
29 October 2012 | by (The Penumbra) – See all my reviews

Unfortunate enough to share a name with a brand of dirt-cheap Charles Band movies (but completely disconnected from them) I always figured that The Puppet Masters would be just as schlocky. It ain't art, but it is decent, low-brow, brainless entertainment.

A bunch of alien manta-rays land in Iowa in a confusing opening sequence. The authorities arrive and discover that the locals are slowly being turned into mindless slaves to their alien hosts. Sound like the X-Files? It very much does play out like a 3-part episode with virtually the exact same character dynamic and interaction. The tagline for the movie is even 'Trust no one'.

It also feels like a John Carpenter movie in some respects (the presence of Keith David, who really ought to be in every movie, only adds to this). And while it's a fairly non-epic movie it does feature some nice anamorphic Panavision photography and a bunch of character actors to keep you entertained in-between the silly plot developments.

As well as feeling the X-Files it also comes across as an Invasion of the Body Snatchers rip-off, odd since co-star Donald Sutherland was in one of those movies. Four years later another very similar film called The Faculty also featured mind-controlling alien parasites, as well as the Brain Slugs from Futurama. But apparently it's taken from a novel of the same name by Robert A. Heinlein but with little in common, perhaps thanks to a zillion re-writes.

These kinds of movies often have some kind of political subtext, but Puppet Masters embraces its low-brow but clever silliness and ends up a guilty pleasure.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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