“The Final Chapter” of the Puppet Master series isn’t the final Puppet Master movie, but it’s definitely the final installment of the true series for me. I consider the rest of the installments nothing but filler and greatest hit clip compilations. In the first two films, we watched the evil puppets and their master Toulon wreak havoc, part three was the origin of how Toulon became evil and how the puppets were once capable of good, and the final two installments are Toulon and his puppets redeeming themselves by saving the world from interdimensional demons.
“The Final Chapter” does really hurt itself by including a ten minute clip montage of the events from part four, but thankfully picks up once we meet hero Rick Myers. After the terrible deaths in part four, Rick is accused of murder. The police have no footage of the demons, or the puppets, so Rick is now an accused murderer. After being released from prison, Rick re-unites with his girlfriend and receives odd visions urging him to return back to the hotel to protect the formula. Meanwhile the evil Sutekh sends another of his totems back to Earth to fight the puppets. This new totem is more powerful than ever and can suck souls from its victims. As this war begins to occur, Rick’s boss, a powerful CEO for a robotics corporation, decides to break in to the hotel with three thugs to steal the formula in hopes of helping him achieve success for his technology.
Now the saps are stuck in the middle of the puppet throw down, and the bodies begin to pile up. It’s a shame that we never saw more from this premise. And if they didn’t want to serve us more of this idea, at least end it altogether. “The Final Chapter” strays more from the horror roots of the original series and dives head first in to more fantasy adventure roots. While the new Totem is a violent monster that mutilates its victims, the puppets begin using their weapons against their foes and not on innocent people. And for the most part we see the majority of the fan favorite puppets, save for Leech Woman. This would be the final appearance of many of the great characters for a very long time.
And it’s a shame since the characters Six Shooter and Torch are infinitely more entertaining than the new puppets Full Moon served us in future “Puppet Master” installments. This time around, Toulon plays the virtual equivalent of Obi-Wan Kenobi, appearing as a puppet’s head to guide the puppets and hero Rick to fight Sutekh and his totem, and then pops out to return to whatever world he’s inhabiting. The battle between the puppets and the Totem is exciting, and the puppet wars that ensue really do add a new dimension not only to the series, but to the world Charles Band helped invent. I would really have loved to see Sutekh eventually build new monsters for the puppets to battle, and explore the possibility of the characters from “Goobers” or “Demonic Toys” inhabiting the same canon or dimension the puppets serum did. “The Final Chapter” is a great capper to a really entertaining series from Full Moon, and it’s one of the final nods to the fun era of the company where they used their budgets wisely and inventively.