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The Puppet Masters (1994)

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



(novel), (screenplay) | 2 more credits »

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1 nomination. See more awards »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
President Douglas
J. Patrick McCormack ...
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 <scf@w0x0f.com>

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

Gross USA:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?


Some shots were filmed in downtown Des Moines, IA. 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 »


[After Sam rescues Andrew by shooting him]
Andrew: [musingly] I can't believe you shot me.
Sam: Well, what would you have done?
Andrew: [nonchalant] Oh, I'd have shot you, of course.
See more »


Referenced in Deformed Monsters (1997) See more »

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User Reviews

They've Got Your Back!
29 April 2015 | by See all my reviews

It looks like a UFO has landed in a small Iowa farm town. A top-secret US government investigative team from the "Office of Scientific Central Intelligence" goes out to investigate. The three stars are: limping leader Donald Sutherland (as Andrew Nivens), his handsome son and partner Eric Thal (as Sam Nivens) and sexy alien biologist Julie Warner (as Mary Sefton). They are about to conclude the whole thing was a teenagers' hoax, but Ms. Warner realizes aliens have landed. The reason, according to Warner, is that no males on the scene have noticed her arousing figure or tried to look down her unbuttoned blouse. You can almost hear her say, "Don't look at that alien spaceship, dammit, look down my shirt!"...

Now, these aliens attach themselves to your back (your spinal column, specifically) and they multiply quickly. The way to see if someone has been "infected" is to order the person to, "Take off your shirt!" Since this trick works, we're left wondering why most people in the cast are allowed to keep their backs covered. Most viewers would not protest Warner and Mr. Thal acting without their shirts (Thal goes without pants, too). If you don't mind wondering about plot confusions and contrivances like that, you could do worse than Stuart Orme's vision of Robert A. Heinlein's science-fiction novel. Thal and Warner are an attractive couple and Mr. Sutherland is a classic performer who can improve movies by simply being there.

****** The Puppet Masters (10/21/94) Stuart Orme ~ Eric Thal, Julie Warner, Donald Sutherland, Keith David

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