Puppet Monster Massacre
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A group of teens are challenged to spend a night in the Wagner mansion on the edge of town. Little do they know the owner (Dr. Wolfgang Wagner) has concocted a monstrosity in the basement and plans to make the hapless teens the creature's first big meal. This is The Puppet Monster Massacre, a wild and raucous love letter to the monster films of the glorious 1980's!
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It's movies like this -- made almost entirely by one dedicated, half-crazed guy in his living room -- that remind me the best movies are about personality, love, and dedication... sticking to your vision and creating it to the best of your abilities, even if nobody else thinks it's worthwhile. And Dustin Wayde Mills succeeded in entertaining me more with his screwball movie than just about every other "big" film did this year.
Puppet Monster Massacre has no illusions about itself and makes no attempt to hide any shortcomings behind a glossy wall of CGI or overdone explosions -- it revels in its 80's horror roots and is clearly having a ball doing it. There's an honesty and authenticity to this film you don't see in a lot of big budget films... this movie wasn't made to satisfy the accountants, it was made to entertain the hell out of you!
And boy, does it EVER!
Boobs, blood, profanity, messy deaths, a scheming mad scientist, Nazi references, tanks, rampaging monsters, a perverted grandfather, dead teenagers, revenge -- it's ALL here! PMM runs only a little over an hour, and gives you a lean, hilarious trip back to the days when horror movies didn't take themselves too seriously or tried to be hip with little nudge-nudge, wink-wink moments... it is what it is, and Mr. Mills has succeeded brilliantly in crafting a horror comedy that'll make you go "oh my GAWD! LOOK AT THAT!" and then laugh out loud.
If you're not a fan of 80's horror movies or bloody puppet extravaganzas, this isn't going to change your mind any... but if you like sitting in front of the TV with the lights off while watching old favorites like Fright Night and the Monster Squad (or even Meet The Feebles), this is right up your alley.
What really impressed me was with how sharp, clean, and well-executed the film was... I tend to forgive indie films for being a bit sloppy, because that's the nature of the beast, but PMM is VERY well put-together.
A friend showed me this movie, and I loved it so much I went out and bought it myself -- not only because I want to support this kind of zany, imaginative, and ridiculous filmaking, but also because I'm REALLY hoping for Mr. Mills to visit another beloved 80's horror trope... the sequel.
Watch it, laugh yourself stupid, and remember that a good movie doesn't always have a big budget attached to it... sometimes dudes can make magic in their living rooms with nothing but puppets and a sense of humor. Well-done, Mr. Mills.
PROS AND CONS LIST:
(1) the story was entertaining enough, and for the most part held my interest. The movie was basically about a mad German Nazi scientist who created a monster, and he wanted to feed it people.
(2) All the backgrounds seemed to be done by CG/Green Screen, and it was done very well. In the past I've seen several independent films where green screen was used, but wasn't done well/ didn't look right/ didn't look real. For EXAMPLE the actors might have had a brighter lighting, but would stand out (too much) from the darker settings/backgrounds. However, that is not the same case with this puppet movie. In this film the puppets and the background (lighting/coloring) complemented each other very well. It looked real enough for what the movie was about/contained.
(3) The voices for the puppets (excluding one or two) were done very well. They emoted the proper emotions for different scenes. Most of the voice actors gave their specific puppets their own personalities.
(1) There were a lot of jokes, which revolved around farting and pooping (this can be a pro or a con depending on your tastes). Some of these jokes were funny, but there were also times I had said to myself, "god, another fart joke...really?"
(2) The entire cast consisted of puppets, and not real people, there were very few facial/ body gestures, which expressed emotions...only the puppets' voices conveyed emotions/moods. Due to this fact, I felt that the director should have done more shots from varying angles or close ups, or far shots, or medium shots, etc. This would have at least changed the view for the audience, so that it wasn't so obvious that the audience was just watching a movie about poorly constructed puppets. I hate to say it, but more editing (close ups, far shots, etc) would have helped the believiblity of the puppets/ helped me to stay more focused during certain scenes. Not just watching two puppets having a conversation, while the film would cut back and forth to the two puppets in the same position/camera angle as it was at the beginning of their conversation. AND YES I AM AWARE that this is a movie about puppets/audience is suppose to know they're puppets. However, the changes I had written above would have helped the film in moving along more smoothly.
(3) I felt at times they should have added more sound effects and music into specific scenes. This would have helped the story even more so/ held my attention longer during specific scenes.
There are other pros and cons, but this movie hinges on what is your taste in movies? This movie can be entertaining, but at the same time it can also come across a little boring, aquard, and lacking true charm. However, it's not a bad movie, but not a great one either. Also, there are a couple of sex scene (nothing x-rated) in this film. Pretty much all that was seen were a pair of felt looking breasts, accompanied by the sounds of moaning. If you want to see a true x-rated puppet movie watch "Let My Puppets Come."
Would I buy this movie again???? Yes I would, but not at a high price.
Below are some of the jokes from the movie (SPOILER ALERT) to help you in gaging if this film is right for you:
(1) In one scene the nerdy character continued to say "what is that" and all that could be seen was furniture. However, there was one time where he said "what is that" and the audience saw the monster. The nerdy character then did an elongated fart. The fart was so long, and I guess stinky, that the monster had thrust it's head back ...almost as if he was saying "WTF?"
(2) The main character was stuck in a room full of rabbits (the monster's secondary food). The boy first talked about how cute the rabbits were, but then the bunnies began farting. The boy then said, "Oh, it smells like carrots and poop!"
(3) The boy's grandfather talked about how in WW2 he kicked Hitler in his "ding ding," and also how he screwed the boys grandmother "six ways from Sunday."
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