Puppet Master III: Toulon's Revenge (1991)
Starring: Guy Rolfe, Richard Lynch, Ian Abercrombie, Kristopher Logan, Aron Eisenberg, Sarah Douglas and Walter Gotell
Director: David DeCoteau
Rating: Eight of Ten Stars
When a vicious Gestapo commander (Lynch) murders his wife Elsa (Douglas), Andre Toulon (Rolfe), a puppeteer with the ability to bring his puppets to full and independent life, turns his creations from instruments of mirth and entertaiment into tools of hatred and revenge.
"Puppet Master III: Toulon's Revenge" takes viewers back to a time fifty years before the events of the other films to fill in some of the backstory of the magic puppets that are the main monsters of the film, and to explain why they and their creator is so hate-filled and driven by an urge to destroy.
(It's not quite in step with "Puppet Master II", but then it doesn't seem to fit well with anything else in the series. As a matter of fact, none of the various Puppet Master movies are perfect fits for each other as far as continuity goes.)
The film has a cast that's each perfect in the role that they play, with the classical-featured Guy Rolfe as Andre Toulon and ferret-faced Richard Lynch as the dispicable Major Krause being giving especially noteworthy performances, and a script that actually feels like it could been lifted from a horror movie set during the time the film takes place. (In fact, the pacing of this movie and the style of the dialogue is one of the things that makes this movie so good... it has a classic 1940s-era horror film feel to it, while still delivering all the Full Moon stop animation and creepy puppets that we expect. Leech Woman is as gross here as she ever was. That we witness her tragic origin makes her even grosser in some ways' I wonder if Toulon ever had a lucid moment in which he asked himself, "Why in God's name did I do that to what was supposed to be an immortalization of my wife's beauty?!")
"Puppet Master III" forms a bridge between the horror world inhabited by the likes of Bela Lugosi, George Zucco, and Lionel Atwill, and the modern B-movie horror era of Full Mooon regulars Jeffrey Combs, Tim Thomerson and Robin Sydney. It's a film I think any lover of cheesy horror flicks can find something to like in. (Plus, we get to watch Nazi Ubermenchen be killed by tiny puppets while shreiking like schoolgirls. How can you not love a movie like that?)