The Littlest Reich
review by Bobby Blakey
The Puppet Master series has become one that is a stable in any horror fans collection, especially those fans of Charles Band and Full Moon Horror. This straight to video horror series debuted in 1989 and has since spawned ten sequels. The latest story arcs have taken the famed puppets to the world of the Nazi with the Axis Saga that started in Axis of Evil and then continued in Axis Rising and Puppet Master: Axis Termination. Now a new chapter to the famed franchise is here, but not through Full Moon, but instead RLJE Films called Puppet Master: The Littlest Reich. Could this reimagining capture the same brutal magic of the original or will it not be worth playing with?
Puppet Master: The Littlest Reich follows recently divorced and reeling, Edgar who returns to his childhood home to regroup his life. When Edgar finds a nefarious looking puppet in his deceased brother’s room, he decides to sell the doll for some quick cash at a small-town convention celebrating the 30th Anniversary of the infamous Toulon Murders. Girl-next-door Ashley and his comic book shop boss, Markowitz, join Edgar for the doomed road trip. All hell breaks loose when a strange force animates the puppets at the convention, setting them on a bloody killing spree that’s motivated by an evil as old as time. This new chapter of the franchise stars Thomas Lennon, Jenny Pellicer, Nelson Franklin, Charlyne Yi, Michael Pare, Barbara Crampton, Matthias Hues and the iconic Udo Kier as the titular character Toulon.
I love all the Puppet Master films no matter how bad most of them actually are. This new take on them keeps a lot of the looks and designs intact with some minor changes and new additions which makes the whole thing feel fresh and new while still familiar. Thomas Lennon is known for his quirky characters, but it was fun to see him as the more straight man here and the fact that he took it seriously made it all the more fun. The rest of the cast were decent enough, but I have to admit that I was most excited to see martial arts action star Matthias Hues show up here and while I didn’t get the action I usually love from him, he had a great role and one that was a lot of fun to watch.
While the production was a bit low budget feeling it really amped up the violence and gore to make easily the most graphic film in the Puppet Master franchise. The puppets were great fun to watch and looked great along with the inventive ways they dispatched their mayhem complete with someone turning a real person into a living puppet in a fun way. As a massive fan of the Syfy Channel series Face-Off it was cool to find out that two-time finalist Tate Steinsiek, served as puppet creator/SFX artist. There is the usual comedic and over the top approach to it all, but much like the other films you either love them or you do not.
It takes a bit to really get to the meat of it all, but once it does the blood and guts flow freely in a barrage of no strings attached puppet mayhem. The ending to this one promises this is only the beginning to this new chapter in the cult franchise and I cannot wait to see more of its insanity. If you love the world of Puppet Master then check out this all-new take Puppet Master: The Littlest Reich when it hits 4K Ultra, Blu-ray and DVD on September 25th from RLJE Films.