Retro Puppet Master

This movie hurts my head.  David DeCoteau is at the steering wheel, but for whatever reason, he opts against using a pseudonym.  If I'm understanding this correctly, he didn't want to be associated with Curse of the Puppet MasterRetro Puppet Master, however, is befitting and commodious enough to bear his family name...?  Look, I'm only assuming.  I'm no soothsayer, but why else would he discard a perfectly splurgy handle like Victoria Sloan?  Was he sued by a character on a soap opera?  He couldn't possibly be proud of this dubitable, gamete-flattening prequel.  Yes, we have another prequel on our hands.  If the Puppet Master saga wasn't amply convoluted before, this goddamn flub is relayed through a flashback.

Do you realize what that means?  Retro is a prequel within a prequel.  Oy, my temples are positively throbbing.  We open in 1944, and Andre Toulon is about to tell his precious pawns a bedtime story, so to speak.  The script immediately fucks itself sideways with a dog-powered turnspit.  If you recall, the original found Toulon committing suicide in 1939.  We're off to a promising start, aren't we?  So the meat of Retro follows a twentysomething Toulon as he first discovers Sutekh's secret to animating inanimate objects.  That's right, dearhearts; Sutekh is back!  The catch is that the viewer is denied an exhibition of his foam latex shell.  Fucking bummer.  This flick doesn't even have the decency to be lame in a side-splitting way.

Long story mercifully short, Sutekh rushes three mummies (!) to Paris in an effort to protect his potent alchemy.  Disguised as The Strangers from Dark City (don't ask), our goons are able to track Toulon down, but not before the sage puppeteer has engineered prototypes of the lethal marionettes we all know and love.  I should go ahead and serve my faint praise while it's weighing on my delicate mind.  The primeval precursors to Blade, Pinhead, Six Shooter and Tunneler (known here as Drill Sergeant) look dope as shit.  I'm also on board with Cyclops and Dr. Death, the new kids on the block.  You might say that they hang tough.  Don't blink or you'll miss a stunning bravura of stop-motion effects.

Brigitta Dau is dependable as Ilsa, the cute daughter of a Swiss ambassador.  She's too talented for this film.  Apart from Guy Rolfe (his role amounts to a glorified cameo), the rest of the players are truly atrocious.  The stilted dialogue doesn't help matters, but Christ in a feather boa, I've seen better acting in shot-on-video amputee porn.  There is no blood to gawk at.  I wonder if that has anything to do with the PG-13 rating.  Argh, I wish I was fabricating that morsel of information, but tragically, Charles Band was angling to mine Full Moon's teenybopper demography.  What the platinum fuck, man?

The pace is slower than slow.  The "action" sequences are crude, and due to confounding administrative decisions, the puppets are mere accessories to the plot.  They don't do much.  I shrug my shoulders in discontent.  I suggest skipping Retro Puppet Master, unless you happen to be reviewing the entire franchise for your website.  Robert Z'Dar says, "No comment."

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