Puppet Master : Axis of Evil (Part 9) title

Tag line : The legends of horror have returned!

Puppet Master : Axis of Evil (Part 9)It's been a few years since the last Puppet Master movie. This instalment, which happens to be the ninth in the series (10th if you include the crossover movie with Demonic Toys), turns out to be yet another prequel film, this time set in 1939 directly after the prologue to the first movie. Yes, just when you thought the series lineage couldn't get even more confusing.

Recapping the events from the start of part 1, we see puppet master Andre Toulon shooting himself in his hotel room at the Bodega Bay Inn, to prevent being captured by the German agents who had traced him there. But, in a departure from the original film, the incident is witnessed by the young caretaker, Danny (Levi Fiehler), who manages to retrieve Toulon's Puppets from their hiding place after the German agents leave.

Discovering that the puppets are in fact alive, he goes to share the news with his girlfriend, who works for a local munitions factory. However, he recognises one of the workers there as being one of the German agents from the hotel and suspects something is going on at the plant. Unfortunately, no one believes him, so decides to use his new found miniature friends to help him uncover what they're up to and stop them, resulting in more bloody mayhem as the killer puppets take on the German agents and their Japanese collaborators at their hideout in the towns Chinatown area.

A respectable follow up to the other films, pretty much all the original puppets are there, Jester, Blade, Leech Woman and Pinhead etc, though there's also now a Ninja puppet, which provides a couple of interesting kill scenes with an oversize samurai sword. Though, having followed the series closely, I will say that whilst this film takes place in 1939, as the prologue to the original did, this actually only adds further confusion to the series, as the date of Toulon's death was changed in parts 2 & 3 to 1941, which is to say nothing about the intro to part 7 erroneously taking place in 1944, but perhaps I'm reading too much into this.

I did think it was amusing though that the Japanese agents were hiding in Chinatown as they said Americans can't tell the difference, though as their leader spends most of the film dressed as a Japanese Geisha girl, I'm not sure how they didn't get discovered sooner.

But anyway, as far as killer puppet films go, this was pretty enjoyable and if you haven't seen the other films, no need to worry as you can watch this as a standalone film as, being a prequel, the events of the earlier films have yet to happen.

Overall marks : 5.5/10.

Terrifying Trivia.

  • The Ninja puppet in this came from an unused idea for the first film for a six armed Ninja. Whilst that design eventually became the cowboy puppet six-shooter, they still liked the Ninja idea, so they used it for this film, albeit with 2 arms.

  • With the exception of the scenes re-used from the first film, the movie was shot entirely in China, at the state run studios in Guangzhou.

  • For the new scenes in Toulon's hotel room, the crew had to painstakingly reconstruct the room by analysing scenes from the original movie.

  • Fourth Puppet Master film to be Directed by David DeCoteau.

  • Producer Charles Band and Director David DeCoteau filmed a series of daily status updates during production, which were uploaded to the Full Moon Pictures website each day. These 'webisodes' were included on the US DVD as an extra and can also be viewed on You Tube..

  • The Auschwitz extermination camp is mentioned in the film, however this did not become operational until 1942, some 2-3 years after this film takes place. There was another camp close to the site of its more infamous namesake, but this would have only just opened and was an internment camp, and was not the same one mentioned in the film.

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