Puppet Master III: Toulon's Revenge (1991)

The third entry in the “Puppet Master” series is by far my favorite. It’s my strongest memory of Full Moon in the nineties, and it made me a Full Moon fan boy for life. Back in the mid-eighties to late nineties, Full Moon was a bold studio. While their titles were hit or miss, even when they missed they were still very courageous in delivering some truly off the wall and creative genre pictures. “Toulon’s Revenge” is my favorite of the “Puppet Master” series and one I truly love to watch again and again.

“Toulon’s Revenge” is the wonderful introduction of the beloved puppet Six Shooter. What’s the highlight of “Toulon’s Revenge” is the masterful puppetry which adds to the personalities of the puppets of Toulon’s and makes for some of the most mesmerizing scenes in the entire series. There’s also a great supporting performance from the late great Richard Lynch who is the film’s despicable Nazi villain Major Krauss as Toulon struggles to keep his puppets and his puppet theater alive in the midst of the Nazi occupation, and much of the film is devoted to Toulon’s exploits before he committed suicide and became a seemingly mad monster in “Puppet Master II.” Much of “Toulon’s Revenge” is very compelling and often times absolutely entertaining as the puppets become anti-heroes for this outing, fighting against the Nazis in an effort to protect and save their master Toulon.

Meanwhile writer C. Courtney Joyner introduces new protagonists to the fold. One of whom is a brilliant doctor named Hess who is fascinated by the secrets of Toulon’s potion involving the puppets, as played by the great Ian Abercrombie, while Aron Eisenberg is empathetic as young Peter who seeks to support Toulon, even if it means defying his own father, in the process. “Toulon’s Revenge” is primarily a film that excels at featuring the puppets as a more dominant force in the film series and soon they’d take center stage as the major characters and the heroes of the series. They’re not only given much of the focus for the film, but become the centerpiece upon which much of the characters struggle to battle the Nazis with. And in the end, they also become wicked devices for revenge against the evil Krauss in one of the more memorable death scenes in the series.

His hanging from hooks as he’s tortured by the puppets is still one of the more memorable movie moments from childhood. Thankfully, “Toulon’s Revenge” holds up well without the virtue of nostalgia as it’s a tightly written and very dark horror film with strong performances and a good eye for fleshing out the puppets in to interesting characters. This is where the series peaks and it’s still a very re-watchable dose of revenge cinema. My favorite entry in the “Puppet Master” series, “Toulon’s Revenge” is a dark, engrossing, and violent sequel with great puppetry, strong performances, and a very interesting narrative that takes a new turn with Full Moon’s iconic killer puppets.

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