Posted in Slashley Reviews by Neal at 05:11, Jan 05 2023
Film Review by Ashley Turner
Synopsis: “The most malevolent marionette in the Puppet master universe comes crawling out of his trunk in this shocking sidebar to Full Moon's most beloved franchise! The scalpel-wielding Doktor Death is unleashed in a ramshackle nursing home and once the terror begins it refuses to stop…”
Doktor Death is the latest installment in the Puppet Master Series. With the creators of Puppet Master now offering a streaming subscription on their individual platform, the content is scheduled to be released on a consistent basis with 60 minutes of horror stories based in the world of Full Moon Features. The film takes place in less than a 24-hour period; so this is truly a moment in time within the expanding Puppet Master world.
In Doctor Death, we are treated to the killer retro puppet dressed in a lab coat ready to wreak havoc on an unsuspecting and, for some reason, extremely isolated elderly home. The setting is a mansion converted to an elderly home that I strongly suspect will be the creative location for quite a few of these movies moving forward. This is clearly the ideal location for Doktor Death to be able treat the residents to their gory demises.
Technically, the film is edited with a heavy glow layer that gives the entire film an almost dreamlike quality, reminiscent of the dream world in the Elm Street series. The SFX is solid and helps enhance the horror aspects of the film. Unfortunately, the acting felt over delivered and the character tropes too on-the-nose. The sound suffered a bit in this film. I found I was having to replay scenes to understand the dialogue at times. Given the amount of, “Eh? What did they say,” I was doing, they inadvertently helped me relate to the plights of the elderly residents in the film.
With that said, the Puppet Master series is meant to be campy. It’s meant to be over-the-top, not taking itself too seriously; a mix of horror and the absolutely absurd. That’s what makes the Puppet Master series so damn fun. Would I subscribe to a streaming service of 60-minute Puppet Master universe movies? I’m not so sure… Would I jump at the opportunity to watch them when offered? Absolutely. They’re the weird, quirky, absurd movies of the horror world and I love their oddness.
Doll movies have never done it for me. It’s hard to make pint-sized murderers scary to me. Regardless of their origins (demon, rituals, curses, etc…) killer dolls are still borderline comedic to me. To me, if you’re going to make movies about killer dolls you have to be able to have fun with it and lean into the absurd so you land exactly on your mark. Make your tiny terror pack a punch. Doktor Death does exactly that. The deaths are gory (apropos to the type of puppet represented) and at times flirt with the surreal. The filmmakers tie this film in just enough to be connected to the thread of the Puppet Masters world, while also throwing in a fun little twist at the end to help propel the universe forward.
I repeat: Doktor Death is all things gory and absurd. It’s everything a film within the Puppet Master universe should be. If this sounds like your kind of movie night, give this movie a go! You might just find yourself dying laughing…