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(aka "Puppet Master III: Toulon's Revenge" or "Puppet Master 3")

 

directed by David DeCoteau
USA 1991

 

Rather than terrorizing teens in a school for disturbed children, the third installment of Charles Band's PUPPET MASTER series takes us back to Nazi Germany where Dr. Hess (Ian Abercrombie, ARMY OF DARKNESS) has been engaged for the Death Corps Project - under General Mueller (Walter Gotell, the Bond series General Gogol) - which seeks to use reanimated soldiers as human shields, but his experiments have thus far been unsuccessful. When undercover officer/amateur puppeteer Lt. Stein (Kristopher Logan, DEMOLITION MAN) discovers that the puppets of Andre Toulon (Guy Rolfe, MR. SARDONICUS) can move on their own, Gestapo agent Major Kraus (Richard Lynch, BAD DREAMS) is more concerned with wiping out dissidence than the puppeteer's value to the Death Corps Project. When Kraus kills Toulon's wife Elsa (Sarah Douglas, SUPERMAN), Toulon goes on the run and marshals his puppet friends - Tunneler, Strongman, Six Shooter, and Elsa (reborn as The Leech Woman) - to wreak vengeance on the Nazis.

PUPPET MASTER III is a definite improvement over the first sequel. Rolfe's Toulon is once again a sympathetic character ("When I call them my friends, it is no mere affectation" as he reveals to Hess why the latter's attempts with the reanimation formula has been erratic) rather than the sadist of the second film. Rolfe had already served as a puppet master of sorts in Stuart Gordon's DOLLS for Band's Empire Pictures; and, while there are som nods to that film, there are also quite a few RE-ANIMATOR-isms - the prologue's attacking corpse, various shots of Toulon wielding a syringe full of green liquid, and the convulsive re-animation of Toulon's wife (albeit in puppet form) - that do take away from the film. It also fortunately eschews the grim exploitative potential of Nazi atrocities (details of the Death Corps Project remain vague, but David Barton's make-up effects may have been curtailed by the MPAA). Most horror films exploit violence and supply more gore than a cleaning company NYC could handle. The cinematography of Adolfo Bartoli (who had already shot Gordon's THE PIT AND THE PENDULUM for Full Moon) is slicker than in the previous film, but the mix of Universal Studios backlots and stock footage are not particularly convincing. There's less stop-motion animation this time around - and what there is is less ambitious - but the puppets get a bit more screentime, and are more endearing than terrifying (appropriate since their victims are Nazis). Scream queen Michelle Bauer (from director David DeCoteau's SORORITY GIRLS IN THE SLIMEBALL BOWL-O-RAMA) appears as a prostitute.

Eric Cotenas

Poster

Theatrical Release: 17 October 1991

Reviews        More Reviews       DVD Reviews

Comparison:

88 Films - Region 0 - PAL vs. 88 Films - Region FREE - Blu-ray

Big thanks to Eric Cotenas and Gary Tooze for the Screen Caps!

(88 Films - Region 0 - PAL - LEFT vs. 88 Films - Region FREE - Blu-ray - RIGHT)

Box Covers

 

 

Distribution

88 Films

Region 0 - PAL

88 Films - Region FREE - Blu-ray
Runtime 1:18:39 (4% PAL speedup) 1:22:03.793
Video

1.78:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 6.88 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

1080P Single-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 23,759,013,770 bytes

Feature: 18,548,348,928 bytes

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

Total Video Bitrate: 24.46 Mbps  

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate:

 

88 Films

 

Bitrate:

88 Films Blu-ray

 

Audio English DTS 5.1; English Dolby Digital 5.1; English Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo

DTS-HD Master Audio English 2072 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 2072 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)
DTS-HD Master Audio English 1572 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1572 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)
Dolby Digital Audio English 224 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 224 kbps

Subtitles none none
Features Release Information:
Studio: 88 Films

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.78:1

Edition Details:
• Audio Commentary by director David DeCoteau and writer C. Courtney Joyner
• Introduction by Charles Band (16:9; 2:28)
• VideoZone Making of PUPPET MASTER III (4:3; 25:20)
• Trailer (16:9; 2:10)
• Rare Toy Commercial I (4:3; 2:15)
• Rare Toy Commercial II (4:3; 1:29)
• Trailers for SORORITY BABES IN THE SLIMEBALL BOWL-O-RAMA, CASTLE FREAK, THE DEAD WANT WOMEN, PUPPET
• MASTER II, TOURIST TRAP, ZOMBIES VS STRIPPERS, THE PIT AND THE PENDULUM, PUPPET MASTER, MERIDIAN,
• and CANNIBAL WOMEN IN THE AVOCADO JUNGLE OF DEATH

DVD Release Date: 22 October 2012
Amaray

Chapters 24

Release Information:
Studio: 88 Films

Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1

1080P Single-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 23,759,013,770 bytes

Feature: 18,548,348,928 bytes

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

Total Video Bitrate: 24.46 Mbps

Edition Details:
• Audio Commentary by director David DeCoteau and writer C. Courtney Joyner
• Introduction by Charles Band (2:35 in 1080P)
• VideoZone Making of PUPPET MASTER III (25:20 in 480i)
• Trailer (2:16 in 1080P)
• Rare Toy Commercial I (2:15 in 480i)
• Rare Toy Commercial II (1:30 in 480i)
• Trailers for PUPPET MASTER, PUPPET MASTER II, CASTLE FREAK, THE DEAD WANT WOMEN, GINGERDEAD MAN 2,
• GINGERDEAD MAN 3, KILLJOY GOES TO HELL, SKULLHEADS, TOURIST TRAP, and ZOMBIES VS STRIPPERS

 

Blu-ray Release Date: October 22nd, 2012
Standard Blu-ray case

Chapters 24

 

Comments

NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

ADDITION: 88 Films - Region FREE - Blu-ray - October 12': (Comments are duplicated for the Blu-ray of Puppet Master 2.) The SD looks impressive for that format but the 1080P is a typical advancement in the expected areas of colors (skin tones), depth and detail. Some nice textured grain shows through hinting at noise but generally the image quality offers sharp visuals with some pleasing depth. Colors - notably reds, gets a shade richer and tighter in HD. It is in the 1.78:1 aspect ratio. The lossless 2.0 channel audio had no flaws and supported the film well with effects bringing forth some substantial depth. Eric describes the extras below which are duplicated on both disc formats. Some of the Blu-ray supplement videos are in 1080P.

Both Puppet Master 2 + 3 are a little too gruesome for my tastes but there is some keen revenge aspects that are appealing. I think these are pretty cheesy horrors but often that is what you might be looking for. The single-layered transfers are not technically dynamic but offer solid a/v for a late Friday night in the Home theater.  

 -Gary W. Tooze

 

***

ABOUT THE EXTRAS: Whereas the first two entries featured audio commentary by producer Charles Band, PUPPET MASTER III features a lively commentary by director David DeCoteau (who has recently moderated a few commentaries himself) and writer C. Courtney Joyner (who had previously scripted Renny Harlin's PRISON for Band during the Empire Pictures days). DeCoteau reveals that Band wanted him to shoot the film in Romania but that he had heard the horror stories behind the shooting of SUBSPECIES (PUPPET MASTER III ended up being shot partly on the Universal Studios lot and then utilized the abandoned Pacific Stock Exchange building as a shooting stage). Joyner says he wanted to make it the "WHERE EAGLES DARE of the PUPPET MASTER series", and that he wanted Ralph Bates for the Kraus role (the actor was terminally ill at the time and fellow Hammer vet Christopher Neame was a second choice) and Herbert Lom for the Mueller role (the budget of the entire film was a third of Lom's salary for the last PINK PANTHER film).

Only the first eleven or so minutes of the VideoZone featurette focus on PUPPET MASTER III. After that, there is a "Director's Spotlight" on David Schmoeller (he directed the first PUPPET MASTER film, but the spotlight focuses on his other Full Moon production NETHERWORLD), followed by a Full Moon model kit merchandising piece, coming attractions for DOLLMAN, ARCADE, THE PIT AND THE PENDULUM, and SUBSPECIES, and another Full Moon merchandising piece with Charlie Spradling (PUPPET MASTER II). The film's trailer, Full Moon toy commercials, and ten Full Moon trailers round out the package.

 - Eric Cotenas

 


Menus
(88 Films - Region 0 - PAL - LEFT vs. 88 Films - Region FREE - Blu-ray - RIGHT)
 

 


 

CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION

 

Screen Captures

(88 Films - Region 0 - PAL - TOP vs. 88 Films - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM)

 


(88 Films - Region 0 - PAL - TOP vs. 88 Films - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM)

 


(88 Films - Region 0 - PAL - TOP vs. 88 Films - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM)

 

 


(88 Films - Region 0 - PAL - TOP vs. 88 Films - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM)

 


(88 Films - Region 0 - PAL - TOP vs. 88 Films - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM)

 


(88 Films - Region 0 - PAL - TOP vs. 88 Films - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM)

 


(88 Films - Region 0 - PAL - TOP vs. 88 Films - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM)

 

More Blu-ray Captures

 

 


Report Card:

 

Image:

Blu-ray

Sound:

Blu-ray

Extras: tie

 
Box Covers

 

 

Distribution

88 Films

Region 0 - PAL

88 Films
Region 0 - PAL

 




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