Cast: Thomas Lennon, Udo Kier, Michael Pare’, Barbara Crampton, Jenny Pellicer
Written by: S. Craig Zahler
Directed by: Sonny Laguna, Tommy Wiklund
I have to be honest…I’ve never been much of a fan
of series like Puppet Master, Demonic Toys, or Child’s Play as the whole idea of killer dolls or puppets is just so…silly. Believe it or not Puppet Master: The Littlest Reich is the 13th film in the series which began back in 1989, and acts as sort of a re-boot of the series and even features Barbara Crampton who had a role in the first film, although it was a different character.
The Littlest Reich essentially re-starts the series with a new background to evil puppeteer and murderer Andre Toulon, making him a hardcore Nazi because I guess Nazis are in these days. In the earlier films Toulon opposed the Nazis so it’s a complete 180 this time out. After a prologue beginning 30 years older showing Toulon being killed by Police we cut to the present. Edgar (Thomas Lennon) has just gotten divorced and moves back home with his parents. He makes a living as a comic book artist and also works in a comic store owned by his friend Markowitz (Nelson Franklin). He discovers a rare, old puppet that belonged to his deceased brother, one of only a few made by the infamous Toulon (Udo Kier.
Edgar, his girlfriend, Ashley (Jenny Pellicer), travel to a convention commemorating the murders where there will be an auction of some 60 puppets made by Toulon. Soon, however, the guests find themselves trapped in the hotel with dozens of dolls with murderous intent hunting them down one by one.
The Littlest Reich will definitely please gore hounds. In keeping with the spirit of 80s and 90s direct-to-video horror films it is often over-the-top when it comes to splattering blood and body parts all over the screen. It’s definitely not for the easily offended, particularly in one scene involving a pregnant woman, but the effects are so cheesy (intentionally so) that it brings more chuckles than gasps.
The low budget production is benefitted by a likable cast who seems to know the right times to play things straight and to play it as a farce. Also on hand for the festivities is Michael Pare’, who chews scenery as a somewhat dull-witted police detective.
The film not only sets up a sequel…or likely sequels…but proudly proclaims onscreen “to be continued” and I’m sure that might be the case for another couple of decades for a franchise that seems to have a small but dedicated core audience.
Behind The Scenes Of Puppet Master: The Littlest Reich – A look at the films locations and production
The Cast Of Puppet Master: The Littlest Reich – The cast discuss their various roles.
Puppets: From Concept To Creation – Looks at the design of the killer puppets.