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Toulon puppets (Puppet Master)

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The Toulon puppets of the Puppet Master film series are small artificial bodies used to house the soul and brain-tissue of deceased people, who are then utilized to do their "master"'s bidding.

In the films, the puppets' master has simply been the one who cares for them, "feeding" them on the formula they find vital (Which was revealed to be brain-tissue in Puppet Master II, but was able to be synthesized with blood and alcohol in Puppet Master vs. Demonic Toys), or simply keeping them repaired.

Creation

The puppets throughout the puppet master series have had several different elements to their reanimation, many of which may or may not be canonical. The earliest reference to the creation of the puppets was in Puppet Master vs. The Demonic Toys, where it is mentioned that they were carved from a magic tree that Jean-Paul Toulon, an ancestor to the first puppet-master's spirit inhabited. In Retro Puppet Master (The earliest chronological prequel), a sorceror named Afzel stole the secret of reanimation (Having to do with transferring the blood of the dead to another vessel) from an Egyptian demon, and passed it on to a French puppeteer, Andre Toulon, shortly before the demon who had the secret stolen from him killed Toulon's fellow puppeteers to get to the sorceror. Toulon first used the secret of life to transfer the souls of his deceased friends to their puppets, in order to take revenge and keep the secret. In Puppet Master 3 it is explained that only people willing to live will properly accept the formula. Flashbacks in Puppet Master II show Andre learning a different type of magic from an enigmatic alchemist, the specifics of this are unknown, but it might be inferred (If "Retro" is to be regarded as canon) that Toulon learned of "the formula" (processed brain-fluid) from the man, whereas he only took the basics from Afzel. It appears the green formula can be considered a more potent animation method, as when the puppets are brought to life without it they appear stiff and jerky (The obvious reason production-wise for this is that in parts 1-5, in which the formula was featured prominently in plots, the films had higher effects budgets).

Throughout the first 5 installments, a green substance is seen to be fueling the puppets as well as re-animated humans. It can be inferred through the behavior of reanimated humans in the series, that as the formula makes the puppets obedient killers, it turns full-grown people into psychopaths. Though this plot element is not fully explored, it is clear that both Andre Toulon and the psychic Camille Kenney become more wicked, dangerous individuals after being brought back to life with the formula.

Most of the puppets are constructed with wood, though this is not a requirement. Someone was actually transformed into a half-puppet creature (Made of unknown materials) in Curse of the Puppet Master, and another living "puppet" was made from metal. However since the puppet-creator in "Curse" is not directly connected with the secret of reanimation that is referred to throughout the series, the aforementioned two puppets may be totally separate from the others. Still, Toulon's own Torch puppet is constructed from metal and behaves, for the most part, the same as his fellows.

Behind the scenes, each puppet has a variety of doubles for various jobs. The main bodies employ posable joints for stop-motion (though after part 5 stop-motion was no longer used in the films), and secondary bodies employ sturdier construction for stunts, rod-work, or remote-control motors for more difficult motions. Some puppets, such as Torch or Leech Woman have specialized extra bodies for special effects shots in which they attack, and thus tend to be more expensive to use (Torch has often been singled out by the creators as being especially expensive, and has only been used in 2 films due to this).

Behavior

Throughout the films the various masters have commanded the unquestioning puppets to kill in order to silence victims, to harvest the brain fluid that keeps them operational, or simply for revenge. The puppets are not driven or restricted to murder however, in Puppet Master 4, the puppets are content in being used for harmless experiments conducted by Rick Myers, and in early parts of Curse of the Puppet Master, they had no qualms with being used as sideshow attractions.

Although the puppets coldly murder people, innocent and guilty alike, they seem to have a sense of companionship amongst themselves and with certain humans. In Puppet Master III, Tunneler and Pinhead attack Nazi soldiers without orders after they helped to murder the wife of their creator, and in Puppet Master 5, Torch kills the man who had just attacked another master. The puppets' loyalty to their master is not unconditional, as their bond with one another is stronger than the one with their master. This loyalty is displayed when in Puppet Master, the puppets' current master attacks Jester, prompting the others to quickly turn on, and kill him (Notably, Jester was attacked for reacting negatively to the master's violence toward an innocent). There have been exceptions in which the puppets have turned on their masters without threat to themselves, such as in Curse of the Puppet Master, where after their master, Dr. Magrew, betrays "Tank", his assistant who truly cared for them, they kill him. Another notable exception is in Puppet Master: The Legacy, in which the puppets are said to want to kill their current master for re-animating them when they just wanted to be put to rest.

The way the puppets have been portrayed as good or evil has greatly varied from film to film. For the most part, the puppets are said to conform to whatever ideals their current master follows, until an event pushes them to betrayal. It seems the puppets are more aligned to goodness, however, as with the exception of the old man in "Legacy" (Whose intentions were not entirely known) they have never betrayed a kind master. In both Retro Puppet Master and Puppet Master III, the puppets are shown to have been animated with the willing souls of their creator's friends, however they seem to embody few characteristics of the human once being transferred into puppet form. In Retro Puppet Master, the puppets only answer to their body's name, as opposed to that of the person who they once were. In Curse of the Puppet Master, Dr. Magrew theorizes that the puppets embody human emotion without any false personality traits, which could mean some of the puppets who were said to by kind as humans had a crueler nature in truth.

Masters and history

Retro Puppet Master

The puppets' creator and first master was Andre Toulon. In Retro Puppet Master the first puppets were brought to life with the souls of fellow puppeteers by Toulon with the help of a kindly sorceror who had stolen "the secret of life" from a demon, for the purpose of protecting Toulon from the servants of the demon and avenging his friends who were killed by them.

The puppets featured in Retro Puppet Master are different than those featured in most of the films and are not seen before or after that installment of the series. For the most part "Retro" can be considered non-canon as Charles Band (the films' collective producer) has said so, and because it features a different method of reanimation from other films and seems to contradict the supposed "origin story" presented in flashbacks in Puppet Master II. In these flashbacks, Toulon was supposedly tempted to utilize the secret of life by an different sorceror, who unbeknownst to him, burned his puppet-stage mid-production.

Puppet Master III

In Puppet Master III (A prequel to the main storyline), the main puppets were said to house the souls of Andre's friends, but different ones than in "Retro". Instead, they had been people killed by the Nazis in WWII times, who were kept alive through a desire to "keep fighting". In the beginning of III, Toulon employs the puppets to put on anti-Nazi propaganda to entertain children and parents alike, however, when the Nazis see the puppets moving on their own with Toulon "feeding" them their formula, they capture Toulon, killing his wife in the process. From that point, Toulon uses the puppets to get revenge, killing several Nazis. Afterwards (In Puppet Master), fleeing to The Bodega Bay Inn in California, he shoots himself to prevent being captured by Nazi agents who had pursued him there.

Puppet Master

The main plot of the first film has to do with a group of psychics and researchers who had once tried to locate the secret of life, attending the funeral of Neil Gallagher, the man who had brought them together for the task, in the same hotel Toulon himself met his death in. Unbeknownst to them, Gallagher had in fact located this secret, as well as the puppets, and brought them to life before killing himself knowing Toulon's formula could bring him back. Whilst their master feigned death throughout the film, the puppets silently killed his former associates around the hotel, before his ex-wife Megan and his last remaining associate, Alex Whitaker, discovered the murders and tried to put a stop to Gallagher. Whilst Gallagher confronted the protagonists, he purposely hit Jester out of derision, prompting shock and hatred from the other puppets, who quickly realize Gallagher does not care for them, and as a result, torturously kill him. Finally, hearing the screams of Gallagher's ex-wife, they halt. At the end of the film, it is implied Whitaker took the puppets with him back to his home.

Curse of the Puppet Master

Continuity is an issue within the Puppet Master series, though evidence seems to imply that the next film would be Curse of the Puppet Master (The "Leech Woman" puppet is seen burning to a crisp in Puppet Master II, and only appears again in the present in "Curse"). In "Curse", the puppets' new master, a sideshow owner going by the name of Dr. Magrew, says he bought the puppets from an auction. Magrew also wishes to create his own living puppet and persuades his assistant, a mentally challenged man named Robert "Tank" Winsley, to slave away carving a new "perfect" puppet, which he claimed he would animate. Throughout the film the puppets are shown as harmless around Tank or Jane, Magrew's daughter. However, when Magrew commands, they kill a townperson who had harassed Jane and later two policemen investigating Magrew. As it turns out Magrew had previously mutated another of his assistants trying to turn him into a puppet-figure, and ends up doing something similar to Tank, transferring his soul into a robotic figure. In forcibly doing this, however, the puppets turn on Magrew and proceed to attack him before disappearing, leaving the "Tank puppet" to kill him with an electric beam.

Puppet Master II

Puppet Master II shows that the puppets can survive on their own for limited periods. The puppets use this time to travel back to Bodega Bay (Seemingly on their own) to use the last of their formula in order to reanimate their first master, Andre Toulon. It is implied that they procure this formula from the brain matter of Megan Gallagher. Through his years of being dead, Toulon's own brain has seemed to degenerate, turning him into an eccentric madman (This can be attributed production-wise more to needing a villain for part 2 and a sympathetic character for part 3), ordering the puppets to kill more researchers investigating the Bodega Bay Inn. In the process of doing this, Tunneler and Leech Woman are killed (The former, killed by bludgeoning, returns in further installments, the latter is burned and does not return except in "Curse"), and Toulon creates "Torch", utilizing an unknown soul (Obviously, Toulon had no living contacts). Toulon's motives range from revitalizing his puppets to fueling new, wooden bodies for him and the researcher he believes to be the reincarnation of his wife to reside in. However, Toulon eventually expresses plans to abandon the puppets, leading them to betray their old master just as they had others.

Puppet Master 4 & 5

In the films Puppet Master 4 and Puppet Master 5, a prodigious scientist named Rick Myers has rented out the Bodega Bay Inn (For "The off season", raising the question of whether or not the Inn is still running) to conduct experiments dealing with artificial intelligence. One night when inviting friends and colleagues over, Myers and company discover the still-living Blade, and with the help of a present psychic find the other puppets (Sans the apparently "dead" Leech Woman, and Torch, who suddenly appears in the latter installment). Using Toulon's journal, the friends find the life-formula and bring the other puppets to life. Whilst Rick employs the puppets for good natured experiments, his jealous friend Cameron and the psychic, Lauren, find a quija board in hopes of cantacting the spirit of Toulon himself. Inadvertently, Cameron and Lauren instead summon puppet-sized demons commanded by Sutekh (The demon who originally had the secret of life), who wishes to kill Rick, as well as the rest of the team looking for the secret of life. The demons kill Cameron and wound Lauren. Thanks to Toulon being able to channel his soul through Lauren, Rick learns of another puppet, Decapitron, which can also hold Andre's soul. Thanks to the puppets and Decapitron's powers, the demons are destroyed. After the night at the inn, Rick is taken to jail but is bailed out by his boss, Dr. Lawrence Jennings, who wishes to learn the secret of the puppets. Rick and his girlfriend Suzy return to the inn, and at the same time Rick's boss and a few of his thugs arrive, both parties searching for the puppets. Meanwhile, Sutekh powers up his creation, a more powerful one of the demons, with his own spirit, and summons it into the hotel. One by one, Sutekh kills the thugs as Rick regroups the puppets for a final battle against the demon. Once Rick reactivates Decapitron, the soul of Toulon tells him along with Suzy and Jennings to leave the puppets to face Sutekh alone, but Jennings does not want to leave, and injures Rick whilst fighting to stay. In retaliation, the puppets surround the doctor and kill him. With Rick and Suzy a safe distance away, the puppets defeat and destroy Sutekh, blowing a room up in the process. After the battle, Suzy regroups with Rick, who is busy repairing the puppets, at his house. The soul of Toulon, through Decapitron declares Rick the new "puppet master".

Puppets

Blade

Puppet Master Blade
Blade
Puppet
Soul: Dr. Hess
Status: Active
Powers: N/A
Signature weapon: Blade for hand
appearences: Puppet Master, Puppet Master II, Puppet Master III, Puppet Master 4, Puppet Master 5, Curse of the Puppet Master, Retro Puppet Master, Puppet Master: The Legacy, Puppet Master vs. The Demonic Toys, Puppet Master: Axis of Evil, Puppet Master X: Axis Rising
Portrayed by: Ian Abercrombie (As Hess), Bert Rosario (Voice in part 1)

Blade is the most popular of Toulon's puppets (He is present on every Puppet Master poster and in every installment) and for the most part the leader. Blade's human form, Dr. Hess, appeared in Puppet Master III. Dr. Hess was an obsessed but pacifistic Nazi scientist employed to find a formula to reanimate dead troops for the war effort. In his quest, he found Andre Toulon, the first puppet master, using his living puppets to entertain children. After Hess's superior Major Krauss tried to take Toulon by force only for him to escape, Hess tracked down Andre himself, reasoned with him, and became his ally. Attempting to escape with Toulon, Hess was killed, leading Toulon to put his soul in the Blade Puppet. Blade was designed to look like the sadistic Krauss and was used to kill his lookalike, securing Toulon's revenge. As a puppet, Blade is eccentric and often and maniacal, taking to tasks (Most often murder) with an enthusiastic glee. Blade is usually the first puppet to attack or turn on an unworthy master.

Jester

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Jester
Puppet
Soul: Hans Seiderman
Status: Active
Powers: Can change expression after spinning head-parts
Signature weapon: None, occasionally uses sharp objects
appearences: Puppet Master, Puppet Master II, Puppet Master III, Puppet Master 4, Puppet Master 5, Curse of the Puppet Master, Retro Puppet Master, Puppet Master: The Legacy, Puppet Master vs. The Demonic Toys, Puppet Master: Axis of Evil, Puppet Master X: Axis Rising
Portrayed by: Michael Laide (Voice in part 1)

Jester is the most pacifistic of the puppets, attacking few times and always non-lethally. In a way, he can be considered the mascot of the puppets, as he is the only puppet who can clearly show emotion (He can change faces through unknown methods after spinning the parts of his face), and often does so in a way that represents how the others feel. Jester is greatly cared for by the other puppets; In Puppet Master, the puppets turn on their master after he abuses Jester, in Puppet Master II, they urgently try to find formula for the starving puppet. In life, Jester was Hans Seiderman, a book-keeper who liked to play jokes, until the Nazis shot him when they went too far. Moreso than the other puppets, you can see the original soul shine through in Jester.

Pinhead

Puppet Master Pinhead
Pinhead
Puppet
Soul: Herman Strauss
Status: Active
Powers: Ability to lose and reattach head
Signature weapon: None, employs dispropotionally large arms to attack
appearences: Puppet Master, Puppet Master II, Puppet Master III, Puppet Master 4, Puppet Master 5, Curse of the Puppet Master, Retro Puppet Master, Puppet Master: The Legacy, Puppet Master vs. The Demonic Toys, Puppet Master: Axis of Evil, Puppet Master X: Axis Rising
Portrayed by: Ed Cook (Voice in part 1)

Like Blade and Jester, Pinhead is a puppet who appears in all the films, as well as one of the two, along with Blade, to appear active in The Legacy. In life Pinhead was Herman Strauss, a truck driver who snuck food into concentration camps, and was killed by the Nazis because of this. As a puppet, Pinhead is a brute, strangling, maiming, and beating those he is ordered to. With his allies however, Pinhead is gentle and friendly, allowing his fellows to get first doses of the formula in part III and sacrificing an entire batch to resurrect Andre in part II. Pinhead's more gentle qualities are brought to the forefront in Curse of the Puppet Master, when he forms a bond with Dr. Magrew's daughter, often being held by her, and protecting her from harm.

Tunneler

Puppet Master Tunneler
Tunneler
Puppet
Soul: Joseph Sebastian
Status: Active
Powers: N/A
Signature weapon: Drill in head
appearences: Puppet Master, Puppet Master II, Puppet Master III, Puppet Master 4, Puppet Master 5, Curse of the Puppet Master, Retro Puppet Master, Puppet Master: The Legacy, Puppet Master: Axis of Evil, Puppet Master X: Axis Rising
Portrayed by: Tim Dornberg (Voice in part 1)

Not much is known about Tunneler, despite him being one of Toulon's first main puppets. According to a trading card released by Full Moon Features, Tunneler's soul is Joseph Sebastian, a soldier who was forced to work in the Nazi's salt mines until he died. As a puppet, Tunneler is more of a "gimmick" than a character. Tunneler does not show much distinguishable personality, when he appears the focus is usually on what his weapon does rather than how he acts. Tunneler is more of a follower than a leader, rarely acting first.

Six-Shooter

SixshooterPM3
Six-Shooter
Puppet
Soul: TEX
Status: Active
Powers: Ability to raise and lower dust-mask
Signature weapon: tiny guns
appearences: Puppet Master III, Puppet Master 4, Puppet Master 5, Curse of the Puppet Master, Retro Puppet Master (Behind the scene), Puppet Master: The Legacy, Puppet Master vs. The Demonic Toys, Puppet Master: Axis of Evil (Arm's only), Puppet Master X: Axis Rising
Portrayed by: Unknown
Little is known about Six-Shooter but for the fact he was based on Toulon's perception of an American design (In this case, a stereotypical cowboy). The soul inside Six-Shooter is never mentioned, but it is speculated that simply another soldier (A rather gun-happy one) is inside. Another theory is that the spirit of Afzel, who was placed inside the retro version of Six-Shooter, still remains in the modern version (Six-Shooter, along with Tunneler and Pinhead, is one of Toulon's first main puppets). As can be assumed, Six-Shooter enjoys shooting, and seems proud of successful shots. From the laughing sounds he makes, it can also be assumed Six-Shooter is a rather jovial being.

Leech Woman

Puppet Master Leech Woman
Leech Woman
Puppet
Soul: Elsa Toulon
Status: Deceased
Powers: Ability to keep leeches alive in stomach
Signature weapon: Killer leeches
appearences: Puppet Master, Puppet Master II, Puppet Master III: Toulon's Revenge, Curse of the Puppet Master, Retro Puppet Master

Puppet Master 8: The Legacy (Archival footage), Puppet Master: Axis of Evil, Puppet Master X: Axis Rising

Portrayed by: Sarah Douglas (As Elsa), Linda Cook (Voice in part 1)
Leech Woman is Toulon's only female puppet, created first as a present for his wife Elsa, in her image, and later inhabited by her soul after she was killed by the Nazis. Elsa was Toulon's main reason for using his puppets for revenge against the Nazis; When Andre came across jars full of leeches he was inspired to get this revenge. After reanimating Elsa in her doll and seeing what pain and shock she was in, Toulon pushed a leech into her mouth, transforming her into the seductive hag-like puppet she is usually seen as (Whether this is the fault of the leech, or whether this is what Elsa truly was like on the inside is unknown). As a puppet, Leech Woman is usually calm and only attacks targets that are already helpless, many times not fighting at all. In Puppet Master II, Leech Woman was thrown into a fire by one of her intended victims, supposedly killing her for good (Supposing Curse of the Puppet Master is not canon, or indeed comes before part 2). Her death is met with regret but not real grief from a zombified Andre Toulon (Who was in fact at the time trying to resurrect Elsa through different methods), which raises some questions as to his mental state upon his resurrection.

Torch

Puppet Master Torch
Torch
Puppet
Soul: Unknown (Theorized to be animal, Neil Gallagher, or Patrick Bramwell)
Status: Unknown
Powers: N/A
Signature weapon: Flamethrower
appearences: Puppet Master II, Puppet Master 4 (poster only), Puppet Master 5: The Final Chapter, Puppet Master: The legacy (cameo appearance), Puppet Master X: Axis Rising
Portrayed by: Unknown
Torch is one of the least seen and most violent of Toulon's puppets, created seemingly only to kill by the zombified Andre Toulon in Puppet Master 2. In that film Torch kills an old farm woman, destroying the brain matter he was meant to harvest, kills a child simply for being provoked, is ordered to kill Michael Kenney, and is the only puppet to fatally attack his master when the others turn on him. In Puppet Master 5, he is loyal to his kinder master, Rick Myers, but still shows occasional aggression, becoming the only puppet in both 4 and 5 to kill a human (Who had attacked Rick). Torch's tendencies have led some to believe he is the violent and cruel Neil Gallagher from part 1, though others have speculated that due to the killings of animals (And Torch's seeming offense when Toulon devalues animal brains) in Puppet Master 2, that he possesses an animal's spirit. A third theory is that Torch's soul is that of Patrick Bramwell, whose brain Tunneler was seen drilling into.

Decapitron

Puppet Master Decapitron
Decapitron
Puppet
Soul: Andre Toulon
Status: Active
Powers: Change heads, morph one head, x-ray vision for another head
Signature weapon: Electric beam (Battle head)
appearences: Puppet Master 4, Puppet Master 5: The Final Chapter, Puppet Master: The legacy (cameo appearance)
Portrayed by: Guy Rolfe (As Toulon/morph-head)

This page is a work in progress. It has sections which are incomplete or currently under construction. If you have knowledge of this game or subject, you can either help by editing it to add to or improve the page, or discussing it on the talk page.

The 3rd Leader of the Toulon Puppet Army. Decapitron is one of the puppets featured near the end of both Puppet Master 4 and Puppet Master 5: The Final Chapter. Its' appearance is modeled after Andre Toulon's outfit from Puppet Master III: Toulon's Revenge . It wears black gloves, a brown jacket with a black undershirt, a black belt, and black gloves. It's regular head has indented eyes and nose, and the base of its' head seems to resemble the base of a light bulb. Its' name seems to reflect the fact he has interchangeable heads, when taking them off would make him decapitate himself. Not much is known about Decapitron's background, other than the fact he was an unfinished puppet Andre Toulon worked on while he was alive. Decapitron's height and weight are also not revealed in the films as well. Decapitron has the soul of Andre Toulon, the namesake and creator of the puppets in the Puppet Master franchise. Unlike the other puppet creations of Andre Toulon's, Decapitron cannot be activated by having the formula injected directly through a needle. Rather, it has to be activated by the formula combined with an electric current. When activated, its' regular head can do one of three things. The first being, its' head can replace itself with the head of Andre Toulon, who gives the current Puppet Master, Rick Myers, advice along the way. The second being if it is an enemy of the Puppet Master, a different head appears and causes the puppets to attack them (This only happened on the 5th film though.) The third being that it can change its heads around, which can help it harness and project electric current at enemies. It is also seen to be one of the stronger puppets, since it is the only one that can kill the strongest Totem in Puppet Master 4 and Sutehk in Puppet Master 5. Although it only has a brief appearance in both of those films, because it is Toulon, it is also the leader of the puppets who leads the charge to defeat the Totems and Sutekh.

Other Puppets

Main Article See: List of The Other Puppets

Retro-Puppets

  • Retro–Blade
  • Retro–Pinhead
  • Retro–Tunneler
  • Retro–6–Shooter
  • Cyclops
  • Dr. Death
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