An Average Movie-Goer’s Review
Spoilers! If you don’t want spoilers – check out the Spoiler-Free post
I love horror movies and if I’m going to watch them anyway, why not write an entertaining/funny review from the POV of an average movie-goer and not a professional critic.
Today we’re looking at the sequel to 1989’s Puppet Master, the aptly titled Puppet Master 2
After the events of Puppet Master, a group of paranormal researchers search for clues on what killed the psychics from the first movie. Meanwhile, the puppets have their own plans.
Is Puppet Master 2 (1990) Scary?
Puppet Master 2 is only scary if you already fear dolls because, unlike Puppet Master, the puppets in this movie do feel more alive. Interestingly Puppet Master films don’t appear to like jumpscares so you won’t be jumping in fear but you might be disgusted by some gore involved in the kills as the level of gore as stepped up, not a huge step though.
Overall you won’t leave Puppet Master 2 scared of the dark unless you live in a room full of puppets and you swear they definitely moved last night.
Puppet Master 2 Plot Summary:
The film opens at the Shady Oaks Cemetery where the puppets from the first movie dig up their original puppet master, Andre Toulon’s grave and drop some liquid onto his corpse. Skeletal arms then reach out DUN DUN DUNNN
Sometime later a group of paranormal researchers sent by the government break into the Bodega Inn Hotel in California which has been condemned by the state. The group is led by Carolyn (played by Elizabeth Maclellan), her brother Patrick (played by Greg Webb), and couple Lance and Wanda (played by Jeff Celentano and Charlie Spradling respectively).
Carolyn and her team have been sent to the hotel to find out what happened to the previous owner and discover what visions Alex Whitaker saw that drove him insane. If you didn’t read our synopsis of Puppet Master, Alex Whitaker is one of two survivors from that film who was able to see visions of the future in his dreams. The other survivor was the hotel owner, Megan, who is now dead, though we don’t know how yet.
The last of Carolyn’s team, Camille (played by Nita Talbot) gets lost on her way to the hotel and comes across a farmer, Mathew, and his wife, Martha, who are putting up an electric fence. Camille asks for directions but not before they tell her they put up the electric fence because some “critters” have been killing their livestock and taking their brains.
Martha points Camille to the road but warns her about going to the hotel as the rumors say the devil has a “suite of rooms there” and honestly, who are we to judge if the devil needs a break sometimes?
That night we learn that Camille is a genuine psychic and while everyone questions her abilities, especially Patrick, Carolyn hopes she can actually help. The next morning Patrick heads out to the cemetery which is literally in the backyard of the hotel for some reason and finds Andre Toulon’s grave.
This is weird for a couple of reasons, first because the grave says Toulon died in 1941 but the opening of the first movie, when Toulon dies, takes place in 1939. Second, a big plot point of the first movie is that no one was able to find where Toulon died for 50 years and yet the hotel has him buried in their backyard cemetery like it’s no big deal.
That night while the group has dinner we learn that the last hotel owner, Megan, was found dead after her brain had been extracted from her nose. Meanwhile, the revived Toulon is in the house in a secret room where he is seen working on a new puppet.
The next day Carolyn and Patrick discuss Toulon after they find a newspaper article about his death but are interrupted when Camille screams and comes rushing downstairs. She tells the group that she saw two puppets walking around in her room and the group rush to investigate but finds two small raggedy Ann dolls.
Camille says the dolls aren’t what she saw and warns the group they’re in great danger. She then states she’s leaving that night despite the fact that she can just leave now instead of waiting hours for no reason.
Later as Camille packs her bags she’s attacked by Pinhead and the Jester who drag her away. After the group finds Camille missing, they assume she just left her without telling them and I guess no one decided to check if her car is still outside.
That night as Patrick and Carolyn sleep, Lance and Wanda watch the cameras and notice Patrick’s bedroom door is open despite it being closed moments ago. Rewinding the tapes, they see the Tunneler puppet walking into Patrick’s room.
Wanda and Lance rush to the room but are too late as we see the Tunneler climb onto Patrick’s bed and drill a hole into his forehead. Lance throws the Tunneler across the room and smashes him with a lamp while Carolyn enters the room to find Patrick dead.
Sometime later Lance and Wanda have taken the Tunneler apart and discover he doesn’t contain a motor meaning he was powered by some kind of life force. Carolyn suspects the green fluid in their body gives them some kind of chemical life force. The three then put Patrick’s body in storage in the hotel’s freezer.
The next morning while reviewing the footage the three get an unexpected visitor. A man (played by Steve Welles) who has just seen the film The Invisible Man and copied the wardrobe introduces himself as Eriquee Chanee. Eriquee claims to have just arrived from Bucarest and is the real owner of the property.
Eriquee allows the group to stay under the condition they never enter his room which means they’re totally going to enter his room at some point. As he heads upstairs the group hears a motorcycle outside and welcomes another visitor, Camille’s son Michael (played by Collin Bersen).
After Camille’s disappearance, Carolyn called Michael to inform him and he is now searching for her. Carolyn decides to tell Michael that Patrick was just killed a few hours ago by a puppet and even shows him the dissected Tunneler which feels like a lot of information to take in from someone you just met.
Michael immediately believes her without even looking at the tapes and then decides to head out to search for his mother. Carolyn offers to let him stay in the hotel, despite her not bothering to ask the supposed real owner, and Michael accepts.
That night we catch up with our not-so-lovable farmers Martha and Mathew while they’re asleep in bed. Martha wakes up to hear sounds of Mathew snoring or gasping and when she turns discovers it’s actually the Leech Woman puppet cutting out a part of his brain.
Martha grabs a gun but the Leech Woman is too fast and avoids getting shot. Turns out that the Leech Woman is not faster than Martha’s hands though because Martha catches the puppet and throws her into the furnace as Blade watches from a hiding spot.
A new puppet Torch enters the cabin and shows off why his name is Torch by lighting Martha on fire.
Back at the hotel, we get some exposition with
Andre Eriquee talking to the puppets. We learn the puppets are cutting out pieces of brain referred to as the “digeneral lobe” which can be found in the “does not exist” center of the brain. With those pieces and the secrets of Osiris, Eriquee can create a green liquid that will give the puppets 50 more years of life.
Turns out the reason Eriquee is rushing to puppets to get more brain pieces is that time is running out for the Jester puppet who is growing weaker by the day. After the puppets go back into their case, we learn that Eriquee believes Carolyn is the reincarnation of his wife, Elsa (played by Elizabeth Maclellan).
This is told to the audience through a flashback to 1912 when Eriquee, as Andre, and Elsa first learn how to reanimate puppets in Egypt. Nothing else of note happens in this flashback except that the man who offers Andre the secrets of Osiris can perform magic and doesn’t give a reason why he gives the secrets away.
The next day Michael and Carolyn head to the city to check records in an attempt to verify Eriquee’s claim that he owns the hotel. Meanwhile, at a nearby campsite, a child finds Torch the puppet and whips him with a whip because this kid doesn’t understand how to properly play with toys. It ends up not mattering when Torch kills him by presumably lighting him on fire.
Back with Michael and Carolyn, Michael can’t find any information on where his mother might have gone and Carolyn can’t find any record that Eriquee owns the hotel. Because this movie has to shoehorn in a romance between two people with no chemistry,
Michael takes Carolyn to the beach where they look at the ocean. Romance! Carolyn laments her career decisions and Patrick’s death and Michael sees this as the best opportunity to kiss her. So that happened.
Back at the hotel, Eriquee monologues about his plans because apparently, Eriquee thinks he’s in a one-man play. We learn that the puppets used the last of the green liquid to bring Eriquee (Andre) back to life so he can make more as the Jester is dying, and each puppet will need more soon. We also learn that Elsa was killed decades ago and Eriquee promised to one day bring her back. Now having seen Carolyn, he believes he was brought back at the perfect time.
That night Michael and Carolyn have sex so you know they’re serious. Meanwhile, Eriquee prepares some more liquid after Blade and Torch return with more brain pieces. As he does so, he tells the puppets that everyone at the hotel can now be killed except for Carolyn and that Torch should burn Michael alive.
Downstairs after Wanda and Lance have sex, Wanda reveals that she left the camera room before Carolyn returned meaning there’s no one watching them. Lance freaks out as he thinks there might be killers in the hotel and Wanda elects to go downstairs.
Wanda takes maybe 5 steps into the hallway before she hears Lance being killed. Walking very slowly back to the room, she finds Blade over Lance’s body having cut his throat. Wanda screams and Blade jumps off the bed and kills her offscreen.
A few hours later as the sun rises, Carolyn notices that Eriquee is outside and takes the opportunity to break into his room. There she finds two life-sized dolls just as Eriquee arrives and calls her Elsa. Carolyn’s screams wake up Michael who narrowly avoids the Torch’s flamethrower. With the bed engulfed in flames, Torch mistakenly believes Michael is dead and leaves the room.
In the attic, Eriquee reveals himself to be Andre Toulon (whaaa, no way) and says his plan is to transfer his and Carolyn’s life essence into the life-sized dolls so they could be together for the rest of their lives.
Downstairs Michael runs through the halls checking the various rooms until coming upon Torch. Using a fire extinguisher Michael extinguishes Torch and slams it on its head. Continuing to run, Michael is then attacked by Pinhead and Blade who are easily defeated because Blade for some reason didn’t use his blade.
While struggling with Blade, Michael sees the Jester puppet lifting his mother’s body up a dumbwaiter. Why is the Jester doing this? Who knows there doesn’t appear to be any logical reason as to why.
Back with Andre, he drinks some of the green fluid and cuts his neck allowing his blood to spill into the male puppet. Andre falls to the ground and as his body dissolves the puppet comes to life revealing himself to now be Andre. The rest of the puppets arrive and the new Andre reveals that he is going to use the rest of the green liquid to transfer Carolyn into the other puppet. This means there won’t be enough for the smaller puppets and they will die.
Michael arrives and distracts Andre long enough for the Jester puppet to grab the last cup of the liquid. The rest of the puppets attack Andre for betraying them while Michael and Carolyn escape the hotel. Torch arrives at the attic and sets Andre ablaze causing him to fall out of the window to his death. The Jester puppet then takes the last of the liquid and brings it to Camille’s body before we cut to black.
A short time later Carolyn and Michael visit Camille’s grave and we find out that though they don’t know what became of the puppets, they don’t care. Cut to a puppet Camille driving around with the puppets as they make their next destination the Balderston Institute for the Mentally Troubled Tots and Teens.
This tells us the puppets used the last of the liquid to bring Camille back to life and she is now the Puppet Master. I can only assume they plan on going to the institute to kill children to make more green liquid.
The film ends as their car drives off toward the institute.
Puppet Master 2 is okay. The acting is pretty stiff in a lot of places, especially after Micheal arrives but I blame that mostly on the horrible dialogue he’s given. The movie tries really hard to force a relationship between him and Carolyn and it just doesn’t feel real nor do they have chemistry.
The best parts of the movie are those that focus on Andre and the puppets. You get a real sense that the writers are trying to world build and despite them retconning what year Andre died, you feel like they have a real reason for why they did it.
Andre makes casual remarks about things we haven’t seen or heard before like his marriage to Elsa, her being killed by Nazis, someone betraying him, and the man who showed him how to create the puppets. It’s clear someone realized the first movie was successful enough to warrant several sequels so they laid out plans and plot points for future films. It honestly feels like the paranormal research characters were just an afterthought and there wasn’t a lot of work put into them so you’ll go from very interesting scenes to extremely boring scenes.
Overall I recommend Puppet Master 2 only if you watched the first movie, enjoyed it, and thought “but what’s the backstory on the man who made the puppets?” because this movie will fill in some blanks. Is it worth it? Ehh