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The Puppet Monster Massacre


Let your funny bone be strung along.

Rod Lott August 1st, 2011

Like Peter Jackson’s “Meet the Feebles” grafted Frankenstein-style onto William Castle’s “House on Haunted Hill,” writer/director Dustin Mills’ ingenious “The Puppet Monster Massacre” deserves to stand alongside Trey Parker’s “Team America: World Police” as a gleefully profane, puppets-only movie that’s more than mere gimmick.

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Mad Nazi scientist Dr. Wolfgang Wagner invites a handful of people to participate in a most interesting experiment for a chance at $1 million: Survive a night in the infamous Wagner Mansion, which will prove more problematic than they ever could guess, what with the ferocious creature he’s created and whatnot.

Among the game players are our protagonist, young Charlie Hawkins, who’s so scared he once peed his pants in a corn maze; a crude, drunken Irish hooligan and his slutty Goth girlfriend, who are introduced to us mid-copulation; and, best of all, a know-it-all horror nerd/virgin with a face full of zits and a pronounced lisp.

The story structure allows for a maximum amount of gags in 70 minutes, including funny bits on parasite incubation, the occult arts, flatulent rabbits, and digs at “The Shining,” “Psycho” and “Alien.” Not all of the humor, thankfully, depends upon the scatalogical for easy laughs; however, a lot of the raunchy stuff is inspired just enough to work: "Did I ever tell you about the time I punched Adolf Hitler in his ding-ding?"

With what I presume is a tiny budget, “Puppet Monster Massacre” makes the most out of what it has, relying on good ol’ fashioned imagination to get the job down. In an age where Hollywood spends hundreds of millions just to crap out a two-hour commercial for toys, it’s nice to see a film that’s actually — literally — been crafted. I absolutely love the fact that something like this exists.

As “Sesame Street”-friendly as Charlie and the gang look, this one’s not for the kids. Enjoy it now, so when its inevitable cult following forms, you can say you were there first. —Rod Lott

 
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