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The Strange Things Boutique





The Puppet Monster MasscareThe Puppet Monster Massacre retreads a fairly familiar horror movie template, with five irritating (for one reason or another) horny teenagers visiting a mysterious old house – in this case the home of Nazi mad doctor Wolfgang Wagner, who has invited them all with the promise of a million dollars for anyone who lasts the night. Before you can say ‘House on Haunted Hill’, the kids are being picked off by Wagner’s hungry mutant monster, and in the end it’s down to wussy boy Charlie – and half the US army – to stop Wagner and his rapidly growing beastie.

A pretty typical Eighties horror movie, in other words. Except that this film is entirely performed by puppets. That’s right, it’s not just a puppet monster, but a puppet cast, as these muppet-like characters have sex, swear and are gorily despatched.

Filmed with mostly off-the-shelf CG sets and effects, this is surprisingly entertaining, even after the novelty of the puppets has worn off. As a pastiche of Eighties horror, it’s fairly spot on – although that also means that the film has some ropey dialogue and a rather sluggish opening act. But, existing somewhere between satire and loving tribute, the film works more effectively than you might think, with better performances from the voice actors than you would normally find in this sort of zero budget stuff (the film cost $3500), and with a genuinely fantastic monster to go on the rampage at the end.

Obviously, this is a novelty film, but once it establishes its own little universe, it works quite well. The crude CG sets actually give the film an oddly distinctive quality, and the puppets actually do seem to have a degree of personality. The humour, while not exactly sophisticated (there are a LOT of fart jokes) works well within the film, and the whole project has a rather good-natured feel about it.

While I couldn’t honestly say that this is an essential purchase, The Puppet Monster Massacre will probably make for a great party film, and Dustin Mills – who did more or less everything on the film – deserves credit for having the imagination and the nerve to do something different in the DIY movie genre.





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