Puppet Master: The Littlest Reich Blu-ray Review
Blood, boobs and Barbara Crampton
Puppet Master: The Littlest Reich Blu-ray Review
You definitely seem like a toy that a maniac would makeDuring the nineties, the Puppet Master series of films - mostly direct to video releases - were produced on the cheap to reasonable appreciation and a quick buck. They were never going to win any awards, were aimed at a certain level and generally well-received and decent earners. As such, it seems the franchise is due a soft reboot, of which tonight’s feature, Puppet Master: The Littlest Reich is the one.
Edgar Easton returns to his family home after his divorce, and after finding a doll in his deceased brother's cupboard, decides to sell it at a local convention celebrating the 30th anniversary of the Toulon Murders. Setting off with his new girlfriend and workmate, the trio is soon embroiled in a massacre of unprecedented proportions when all the puppets brought to be sold, suddenly come to life and set about murdering with Nazi ideals. With an idea of who is controlling the murderous mannequins, Edgar sets out to stop them, only to find something much darker lurking in the tombs.
Oh dear. So, as per my opening gambit, these films are not much to write home about: they have a place, and that place is in the decade they were made. The re-imaging has hit the nail squarely on the head when it comes to the same – this is a throwback film, meant to gross out, meant to entertain popcorn throwing teens and meant to be forgettable. It manages all three.
The plot is a device just to get to the next grisly death, the acting is atrocious, the effects are laughable, the whole idea behind the peril is mental and it is badly edited, directed and simply woeful. The whole Nazi agenda thing is daft and painfully handled, the gross out scenes are there to incite a cheer from the intended audience and the fact that it is conceited enough to have a ‘to be continued’ credit just smacks of marketing to the lowest common denominator.
And yet it’s not hateful. In the right mindset, you can get something out of it; it’s aimed at teens and succeeds in that – there is blood, boobs and Barbara Crampton. I didn’t really get on with it, but I can see what they are trying to do: at least they’re having fun!
Puppet Master: The Littlest Reich Blu-ray Picture QualityThe disc presents a theatrically correct widescreen 2.35:1 1080p transfer using the MPEG-4 codec and is Region locked to B.
Filmed digitally with Red cameras and finished with a 2K Digital intermediate, the picture is clean and tidy but lacks any significant punch. Detail is great though, with skin texture, clothing weaves, puppet carvings, wall coverings, wood panelling; all exhibiting sharp, defined edges; indeed there is no hint of softness.
Colours are reasonably bold with good depth, reds fair very well, as do the purples – both used extensively by the force driving the puppets. Flesh tones are natural, with the exception of Barbara Crampton, who looks bleached. Blood is a very sickly deep red and looks great, luckily, as there’s plenty of it.
Black level is deep enough and holds a good level, with the odd bit of shadow detail, but it seldom adds much frame depth, leading to a rather flat image. The white level is strong, with decent enough highlights, though right at the very top end there is the odd clip.
Digitally, there are no real issues, some blink and you miss it banding, but nothing to get hung up on, while the original source is spotless.
Puppet Master: The Littlest Reich Blu-ray Sound QualityThe English DTS-HD MA 5.1 surround track is no slouch, making full use of the sound environment to add ambience, effects and a heavy dollop of bass. Effects are at their best during the hotel attack, when the puppets come from all angles. Subtler effects are picked up by the surrounds adding some very nice ambience: crowds, vehicles, creaking mansions etc.
Dialogue is clear and precise, dominated by the frontal array, but given the odd bit of directionality when required and sounds perfectly natural. Bass is decent, there are numerous LF effects to keep the sub happy, though it never really plumbs subterranean depths, but the attacks benefit from some very nice thumps. The score also makes full use of the speakers.
Puppet Master: The Littlest Reich Blu-ray ExtrasBehind the Scenes – 6 minutes of interviews and behind camera footage.
The Making of – Much the same, also 6 minutes.
Red Band Trailer – Slightly extended trailer for the film.
Lightning Girl Comic – Artwork designs for the comic featured in the film.
Puppets: Concept to Creation – Artwork, animatics and finished images of some of the puppets.
Puppet Master: The Littlest Reich Blu-ray VerdictPuppet Master: The Littlest Reich is a throwback film; it’s meant to gross out, entertain popcorn throwing teens and be forgettable. It manages all three. The acting is atrocious, the whole idea behind the plot is mental, and it is badly edited, directed and simply woeful. The whole Nazi agenda thing is daft and painfully handled, the gross out scenes are there to incite a cheer and it is conceited enough to appeal to the lowest common denominator. And yet it’s not hateful. In the right mind set you can get something out of it; it’s aimed at teens and succeeds in that – there is blood, boobs and Barbara Crampton.
As a Blu-ray set the package is reasonable, the image is clean, detailed, well coloured with good blacks, even if it is a little flat, while the DTS-HD 5.1 surround sound is lively and contains plenty of effects. The extras package is very light, however.
Suggested retail price when reviewed: £11.99
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