Puppet Master is a horror film released in 1989 by newly formed Full Moon Features. The film was rated R (After a few cuts) by the MPAA for strong graphic horror/fantasy violence, a strong sex scene with nudity, and strong language. The popular film would eventually spawn 9 sequels. Originally intended to be released into theaters in the summer of 1989 and onto Home Video in September 1989, it was then pushed to October 12, 1989 as a Direct-to-video release, as Producer Charles Band had stated in an interview that he would make more money in the DTV field than he would in the theatrical market.
The film starts in 1939 Bodega Bay, California with an old puppeteer named Andre Toulon putting the finishing touches on a living puppet called Jester. A living Japanese-looking puppet stares out of the window at Blade, another living puppet, as Blade scouts the grounds of the Bodega Bay Inn that Andre is staying at. Two Nazis get out of a car and head for Toulon's room but Blade beats them there and Andre puts Blade, Jester, and the Oriental puppet into a chest, before hiding the chest in a wall panel. As the Nazis break down the door, Toulon shoots himself in the mouth with a pistol. The Oriental puppet is not seen for the rest of the movie.
The film now cuts to 1989, with a psychic named Alex. Alex has a dream that there are leeches on his stomach. Seconds later, he dreams of a man that he recognizes putting a gun to a woman's head. The film cuts to Dana, another psychic, who has visions of being slashed across the throat with a knife. Carissa and Frank, two other psychics who are apparently lovers, are reading the mind of another woman when they get a call from Alex. Frank tells Alex that they also got a call from Dana, and the four psychics assess that the visions they've been having were sent from a former colleague, Neil Gallagher.
The psychics meet at the Bodega Bay Inn that Neil is staying at and meet Neil's wife, Megan, as well as the housekeeper, Theresa. The psychics are skeptical that Neil took a wife but it is forgotten when Megan tells them that Neil shot himself. Theresa, Megan, Dana, Carissa, Frank, and Alex leave the body and Pinhead, another living puppet, jumps from the casket.
Later, Carissa has visions of Neil violently attacking a woman in an elevator. Dana warns Theresa to stay away from the fireplace and later, at dinner, Dana makes several remarks about Neil that causes Megan to leave the table. Alex goes after her and explains about the powers of he, Dana, Carissa, and Frank.
When night falls, Theresa goes near the fireplace and is murdered when Pinhead hits her with a poker. The psychics hear a scream and find Megan passed out nearby Neil's body that has been moved into a chair by someone. Carissa and Frank spend some intimate time together in one of the hotel rooms but two more living puppets, Tunneler and Leech Woman, enter. Tunneler kills Carissa by drilling into her face and Leech Woman vomits leeches onto Frank's body that suck his blood out. Meanwhile, Dana sits around with her strange, dead and preserved dog until she has her leg broken by Pinhead. Pinhead chases her and repeatedly strangles and punches her until she manages to knock him away, only to have her throat slashed by Blade, using his knife-hand.
Alex has recurring nightmares of Megan having a gun put to her head by Neil and the other psychics being found dead, but is eventually awoken by Megan who takes him into the room that Andre Toulon was in, and tells him that Neil found Andre's secret to bringing inanimate objects, such as puppets, to life. Alex has a vision and they go downstairs to find the dead bodies of the psychics sitting around a table. They are stopped by the newly brought-back-to-life Neil. He explains that he did killed himself, metaphysically speaking, and used the formula to give himself eternal life. He fights with Alex and beats him up, then Neil hurts Jester and the puppets revolt against him. They lock him in an elevator and murder him by having Tunneler drill into his neck, Pinhead push into his temples, Blade cut off his fingers, and finally Leech Woman vomits a leech into his mouth.
The film cuts to days later with Alex leaving the hotel and Megan picking up Dana's dead and preserved dog, and she somehow brings it to life, probably indicating she's become the next Puppet Master.
A slightly extended version (approximately 2 minutes longer) is known of in which Frank and Carissa's Love scene is slightly longer and Neil Gallagher's death is extended, containing more green gore and a shot where Pinhead is shown grabbing Gallagher with a closeup on Pinhead's Head.
- Paul Le Mat - Alex Whitaker
- William Hickey – Andre Toulon
- Irene Miracle - Dana Hadley
- Jimmie F. Skaggs – Neil Gallagher
- Robin Frates - Megan Gallagher
- Matt Roe - Frank Forrester
- Kathryn O'Reilly – Carissa Stamford
- Mews Small – Theresa (as Merrya Small)
- Barbara Crampton – Woman at Carnival
- David Boyd – Man at Carnival
- Peter Frankland – Assassin #1
- Andrew Kimbrough – Assassin #2
- Ed Cook – Voice of Pinhead
- Linda Cook - Voice of Leech Woman
- Tim Dornberg – Voice of Tunneler
- Michael Laide – Voice of Jester
- Bert Rosario – Voice of Blade
Puppets featured in filmEdit
- Leech Woman
- Oriental puppet
- Indian Puppet
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