The Puppet Monster Massacre DVD Review
Written & Directed by Dustin Mills
2010, 70 Minutes, Region 1 (NTSC), Not Rated
DVD released on July 26th, 2011
Steve Rimpici as Wolfgang Wagner
Bart Flynn as Iggy / Gramps
Ethan Holey as Charlie
Erica Kisseberth as Mona
Dustin Mills as Raimi / Sarge / Hunter / Monster / Squiggums / Soldiers
Brandon Salkil as Wilson / Soldiers
With the new Muppets movie coming out soon, I thought to myself "Hey, wouldn't it be awesome if they made a horror flick with these characters?" The Puppet Monster Massacre isn't quite up to par with the likes of Kermit, Miss Piggy, or even Fozzie Bear, but it does give it the old college try. Shot entirely with puppets, the film is all set in front of a green screen with some lackluster CGI thrown in as background. You have to give writer / director / voice Dustin Mills some credit there as he clearly put this together based around what he had available. In this case, it was some puppets, a green screen, and some rudimentary knowledge of graphic design.
The premise of The Puppet Monster Massacre is a unique spin on the old haunted house story. A group of teenagers are given the shot at a million bucks but they have to spend a night up at the Wagner residence. Mr. Wagner is actually an old Nazi scientist who's engineered a monster that needs to feed on human...err...puppet flesh to grow. The teens feature some stereotypes, but this time they're all made of felt and have hands up their asses..
The novelty of hearing puppets curse or see some hot puppet-on-puppet action wears off pretty quickly. In a world where Avenue Q is a hit musical on Broadway featuring marionettes singing and dancing with foul mouths, this kind of thing just isn't as funny. The Puppet Monster Massacre pokes fun at almost everything else except for the fact that everyone is played by a doll. You'd think that when one of them gets murdered that felt and stuffing would fly out but it's just blood splatter like any other death.
There are plenty of jokes to be had and certainly the potential for loads more, but Mills wastes a lot of the humor on poop and dick jokes. He also seems to subscribe to the Family Guy method of ruining comedy by taking a gag and then running it into the ground until the viewer is sick of it. There are farts that go on for a good 30 seconds and spraying blood that looks to never actually stop. The movie is just over an hour long and I have a feeling if these jokes were trimmed down to a reasonable length, it would be hard pressed to hit the hour mark.
The Puppet Monster Massacre has a great setup but a poor execution. It's tough to make the puppet thing work outside of children's movies. Aside from maybe Greg the Bunny and the seemingly never-ending Puppet Master franchise, I can't think of anything off the top of my head (of course now you can flood the comments with brilliant puppet movies that I'm forgetting. Pinocchio? Does that count?) and certainly none that branch into the horror genre. This is a blood soaked film with some funny elements, but most of the jokes drag on for too long or are just too immature. Yes, I just described the jokes as being immature in a movie shot entirely with puppets. To put it in perspective, if you're a 13 year old boy or enjoyed the last couple Scary Movie sequels, then The Puppet Monster Massacre is right up your alley.
Video and Audio:
The video quality isn't bad, but since it was all shot in front of a green screen with the background filled in later, some scenes look a little awkward. This is especially true whenever Raimi Campbell (Get it?) appears as he has this big poof of hair on top of his head with the background images struggling to get through the different strands. The audio quality was alright, but there are times when the dialogue is blown out.
There are two commentaries included on the DVD: One with director Dustin Mills and one with him and the assistant director. There are also two screen tests for unused monsters.