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(aka "Puppet Master 2" )

 

directed by David Allen
USA 1991

 

A quartet of investigators from the US Office of Paranormal Claims head up to Scarab Mountain to the abandoned Bodega Bay Hotel to investigate the events of PUPPET MASTER (we learn that the only surviving psychic went insane and the hotel's previous owner was mummified). The team consists of serious Carolyn (Elizabeth Maclellan, CRASH AND BURN), her jerky brother Patrick (Greg Webb, THE LORDS OF DISCIPLINE), slinky Wanda (Charlie Spradling, MERIDIAN), hunky Lance (Jeff Weston, AMERICAN NINJA 2), and tabloid psychic Camille (Nita Talbot, DAY OF THE LOCUST). While investigating the property, Patrick comes across the open grave of puppet master Andre Toulon (who killed himself to avoid capture by the Nazis who were after his secret of giving life to inanimate objects) and Camille immediately senses an evil presence. The first murder leads to the team's discovery of Tunneler, a drill-headed puppet that dissection reveals to be made up of a series of gears but no motors or any other indication of how it moves on its own. Camille's disappearance of another member of the team coincides with the arrival of the MAD LOVE-garbed Errique Chanee (Steve Welles, HOLLYWOOD CHAINSAW HOOKERS) who claims to have inherited the hotel but allows the investigators to stay as his guests (so long as they never enter his private quarters). It should come as no surprise that Chanee (pronounced "Chaney", get it) is actually Andre Toulon (resurrected when his puppets dig him up and give him a dose of the life-giving Egyptian formula) and he has plans for the remaining investigators including Carolyn who resembles his late wife Elsa (MacClellan plays her in a 1912 Egypt flashback in which Toulon is offered the secret formula by a merchant [Ivan J. Rado, SUBSPECIES] with Lugosi/Karloff hypnotic eye spot lighting). Of course, his plans are complicated when Camille's son Michael (Collin Bernsen, DOUBLE TROUBLE) arrives to find his missing mother (and become Carolyn's love interest).

After a dull set-up, PUPPET MASTER II parcels out its stalk and kill set-pieces well enough between a less predictable story that allows director David Allen (an accomplished stop motion artist whose work appeared in THE THING, THE HOWLING, and THE HUNGER as well as a handful of producer Charles Band's pre-Full Moon offerings) and Band can indulge in references to Universal classic horrors as well as Band's own producer filmography with nods to Stuart Gordon's DOLLS and
PUPPET MASTER director David Schmoeller's TOURIST TRAP. In addition to Richard Band's title theme from the original, some matte paintings and miniatures of the hotel are also recycled (although the interiors seem to be from a much smaller although not uninteresting location from the original's Bodega Bay hotel), and the photography of Thomas Denove (THE LAST HORROR FILM) often looks cheaper. Less forgivable is the transformation of Toulon from William Hickey's paternal puppeteer in the first film's prologue to a villain no better than the last guy that earned his comeuppance by exploiting and then mistreating the puppets to his own end (although we can be thankful that the sequel idea set up in the film's epilogue was abandoned in favor of a prequel). Sage Allen (SERVANTS OF TWILIGHT) and exploitation mainstay George "Buck" Flower (THEY LIVE) play hillbilly farmers whose livestock are victimized by the puppets before they themselves become victims. Two of Band's children appear as extras in the Egypt flashback, and David DeCoteau (who would helm four entries in the PUPPET MASTER series including the third installment) serves as producer here.

Eric Cotenas

Posters

Theatrical Release: 7 February 1991 (USA)

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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 - LEFTP vs. 88 Films - Region FREE - Blu-ray - RIGHT)

Box Covers

 

 

Distribution

88 Films

Region 0 - PAL

88 Films - Region FREE - Blu-ray
Runtime 1:24:54 (4% PAL speedup) 1:28:34.809
Video

1.78:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 6.71 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

1080P Single-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 21,282,025,388 bytes

Feature: 16,404,344,832 bytes

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

Total Video Bitrate: 21.54 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 Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo

DTS-HD Master Audio English 1579 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1579 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)
Commentary: 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 executive producer Charles Band
• Introduction by Charles Band (16:9; 2:28)
• Videozone Making of PUPPET MASTER II (4:3; 21:37)
• Trailer (16:9; 2:01)
• 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 III, TOURIST TRAP, ZOMBIES VS STRIPPERS, THE PIT AND THE PENDULUM, PUPPET MASTER, MERIDIAN,
• 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: 21,282,025,388 bytes

Feature: 16,404,344,832 bytes

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

Total Video Bitrate: 21.54 Mbps

Edition Details:
• Audio Commentary by executive producer Charles Band
• Introduction by Charles Band (2:35 in 1080P)
• Videozone Making of PUPPET MASTER II (21:37 in 480i)
• Trailer (2:07)
• Rare Toy Commercial I (2:16 in 1080P)
• Rare Toy Commercial II (1:30 in 1080P)
• Trailers for PUPPET MASTER, PUPPET MASTER III, 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 3.) 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: Producer Charles Band goes solo for this commentary, and seems much more at ease than on the commentary for the first film. Although he is credited with the story, he talks more about GHOULIES, his first self-distributed film through Empire Pictures (which is actually quite interesting since MGM didn't bother to engage him or anyone else to do a commentary for their DVD), but he does pause for the feature's set-pieces, and to admire David Allen's stop-motion effects (he mentions that he hopes to finish up PRIMEVILS - the production Allen was working on when he died - with Allen's associate Chris Endicott).

The vintage VideoZone featurette gives all of the plot turns away (however, the VideoZones always appeared after the feature on the original VHS and LD releases). The making-of actually runs just under twelve minutes, but it also includes a "Director's Spotlight" with Stuart Gordon discussing THE PIT AND THE PENDULUM as well as trailers for that film, the original PUPPET MASTER, SHADOWZONE, MERIDIAN, and CRASH AND BURN as well as a merchandising segment hosted by Charlie Spradling (who appears in PUPPET MASTER II). Also included are some more Full Moon merchandising commercials, the film's trailer, and trailers for other Full Moon titles (note that some trailers differ on the Blu-Ray edition).

 - Eric Cotenas

 


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

 


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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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