Existing in a parallel universe to the original Puppet Master series, the film makes minor tweaks and modifications to the series’ lore and thematic approach. Some have compared this film and its arguably more callous attitude as closer to a Troma production than a Full Moon Feature, which I think is grasping at straws for a comparison’s sake. Unlike the original series, which featured the dolls conceive by Toulon, an individual who greatly opposed The Third Reich, this film follows Andre Toulon as a Nazi who animated the puppets as weaponry for The Third Reach, sternly affirming Toulon and the Puppets as antagonists, whereas, in the original series, they were more flexible. The film follows the main-character played by Thomas Lennon, an actor I’m surprised to say I recognized, who moves back in with his parents after divorcing his wife, and attends a convention, looking to sell a puppet he uncovers in his deceased brother’s bedroom. He, alongside his best-friend and recently acquainted girlfriend, soon find themselves caught off-guard when their puppet, as well as the many puppets at the convention, come alive and look to start back where they left off.
The sentiment and attempt at seriousness feel like the worst aspect about the film in my opinion. The main-character’s friend and his heroics feel jarring and have a sentiment that is difficult to take seriously in a film with such an outlandish premise that it makes for a tonally disheveled flick.
On the bright-side, the central crux of Puppet Master: The Littlest Reich is a lot of fun. Having the characters all together at a convention alongside many others, being snuffed out by a wide-range of colorful, silly puppets, makes for a wild, slasher-like vibe. It’s an idea that writes itself, and while The Littlest Reich doesn’t have a lot of innovation to the craft, it does have some enjoyable scenes as well. Refusing to scamp out on gratuitous nudity and violence, The Littlest Reich is a thrill-ride of nonsense, propped up with decent camera-work, special-effects, and acting, as well as a more meticulous production-value than what we’ve ever seen in earlier Puppet Master entries.
While I think the film could’ve afforded to simplify certain seriousness in-favor of a more light-heart approach for the betterment of its own tonal consistency, I think that what Puppet Master: The Littlest Reich amounted to is a guilty-pleasure film that checks off more marks than its predecessors and, honestly, pleasantly impressed me in that regard. It’s a fun film with fun scenes and fun special-effects, and, while I won’t say it’s necessarily a good film, I think it’s what I wanted from the eleventh Puppet Master.