For those who love their horror in the classic, everything must be taken serious manner, "Puphedz" isn't for you. On the other hand, if you are like me and you realize that even an immortal classic like "The Tell-Tale Heart" can stand up to a little good nature ribbing, then you will want to give "Puphedz" a try.
"The Tattle-Tale Heart" follows the original plot as set down by Poe. Where it goes off into left field is with the interaction of the characters and the way they are portrayed. For example, one of the running gags is the misunderstanding of why the old man and young man live together. A great scene has the young man attempting to solve his problem of the old man's eye with an eye patch. The old man mistakes it for a codpiece and asks why his companion is giving him something like this. Looking nervous, the old man comments, "We've talked about this...you know I don't think of you 'that' way." Also, as a lover of puns, I have got to admire the numerous 'eye' puns that are used by the old man that just further frustrates his young roommate.
As it is my understanding, each "Puphedz" story will be an adaptation of a classic horror story and each story will feature the same group of 'actors'. In the role of the young man, we have Woodrow J. Larchbottom, III. As the old man with the evil eye, we have Peter Fiedwood. Finally, in the supporting roles of Policeman #1 and Policeman #2, we have Douglas "Chip" Fir and Leif Applebuam, respectively. Trust me when I say that all the performers are solid (wood that is), in their roles. Seriously, one of the things that makes this effort fly is that each puppet does come across with his own personality. That is part of the charm of this segment and I am sure it is something that will be explored in more detail as additional episodes are produced. Also, it should be noted that the puppetry on this effort is out-standing.
The DVD of "Puphedz: The Tattle-Tale Heart" features two versions of this first episode. There is a 27 minute version and a 34 minute version. The 34 minute version has additional scenes that were shot with the Woodrow J. Larchbottom, III puppet in the asylum. These segments, while funny and worth a look, were edited out of the 27 minute version because it was decided they interrupted the flow of the original Poe story too much. Also, the violence in the 27 minute version is downplayed a tad more than in the 34 minute version.
Also on the DVD is a great documentary that tells the story of how "Puphedz" came to be and lets you meet the men responsible for this charming idea. Also featured are cast bios, photo gallery and an American theatrical trailer and an European theatrical trailer. My favorite of the trailers is the European one as it is a spot on parody of the classic theatrical trailer that Alfred Hitchcock created for "Psycho."
If this first "Puphedz" is any indication of what is to come, future installments of this puppet show will be pulling just the right strings for fans of horror for some time to come.
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