There’s a new puppet introduced in “Puppet Master 2”: The Torch. He’s a bullet toothed flame throwing foot soldier of Toulon and he’s a force to be reckoned with. For the so-so “Puppet Master” there’s the even better sequel, a mixture of murder mystery and the paranormal that teams a bunch of paranormal investigators with the puppets whom seek to undo their work at every turn. For this sequel’s faults (Toulon was buried outside the famous hotel, why?) there are a lot of pluses, the one being that the puppets are given much more screen time thus much more screen time that allows them to stomp around the hotel and commit their misdeeds.
Alongside that we’re given a glimpse at the making of the puppets and the origin of Andre Toulon, a traveling puppeteer who demonstrated his skill for thousands until seduced by evil to animate his puppets for the worse. “Puppet Master 2” is slow moving but for what it promises it’s a damn fine romp with the puppets, all of whom get their spotlights as they re-animated Toulon to roam free again among the confines of the hotel allowing them a new master and a new victim. When the team goes up to investigate the history of the hotel, the body count begins to rise and in a very violent manner. Driller, Jester, Blade, all of my favorites are here and they’re about as entertaining as ever. This is when the series really began to gain some momentum before it turned in to a series of clip shows and montages.
There’s some effort in the puppetry and the animation and it shows with Pinhead’s meaty hooks, and the expressions on the Jester. There’s even a Harryhausen moment where the evil wizard shows off his machination for Toulon in a flashback sequence with a small puppet of his own. While most of the sequels would rely on editing to complete the work on the low budget sequels, the puppets really get a chance to flex their personalities here and aren’t quite as stock. Torch even gets a Frankenstein monster moment where his own curiosity puts him at the feet of a mischievous young boy he torches before our eyes. “Puppet Master 2” is infinitely superior to “Puppet Master” and works as an exploration in to the characters motives and history before sinking in to the abysmal.