‘When good puppets go bad’
Puppet Master III: Toulon’s Revenge is a 1991 American science fiction horror feature film directed by prolific David DeCoteau (Swamp Freak; The Killer Eye; Creepozoids; et al) from a screenplay by C. Courtney Joyner (Lurking Fear; Prison; From a Whisper to a Scream) based on an original idea by Charles Band. The Full Moon Entertainment movie stars Guy Rolfe, Richard Lynch, Ian Abercrombie, and Walter Gotell.
Berlin, 1941: Doctor Hess (Ian Abercrombie) is working on Operation Death Corps, a Nazi project designed to bring recently deceased soldiers back to fighting, battle-ready life. Unfortunately, his colleague Major Krauss (Richard Lynch) is unimpressed.
Meanwhile, Krauss’ driver and protege, Stein (Kristopher Logan), a keen puppeteer in his spare time, has discovered that marionette master Toulon (Guy Rolfe) has seemingly brought his puppets to life with a secret serum…
“Expect some revelations regarding the nature of the puppets reanimation, but also expect them to come hand in hand with a few lapses in logic and series continuity (Didn’t Toulon commit suicide in 1939?). Actually, it plays more like a series reboot than a prequel, ignoring the first 2 movies and forging its own mythology and tone. As with the others, pacing a still an issue here…” Digital Retribution
” …for all its faults, Puppetmaster III is a film in which a depressed looking wooden Hitler doll is blown to smithereens by a (sort of) sentient puppet called Six Shooter. There are scenes of period puppet carnage, goose-stepping galore, and the return of the series’ wonderful score. It’s a decent, if workman-like close to the trilogy…” Horror Talk
“Less care has been taken with the puppet effects than in previous entries and these are only so-so. On the plus side is Guy Rolfe, who also played a toymaker in the Bands’ Dolls (1987), who gives a dignified performance as Toulon. Richard Lynch also makes for a convincing Nazi.” Moria
“Puppet Master III: Toulon’s Revenge is the best sequel in the entire series, arguably the best entry in the entire franchise and possibly one of the best films Full Moon ever made. Whilst that’s not a total badge of honour given some of the poor sequels which followed, it’s at least a fitting testament to a film from an era in which low budget horror films like this had a bit of spunk and fight about them.” Popcorn Pictures
“The pace is brisk, the gore is mild but effective, and we get occasional boobies. The stop-motion puppet FX is great as expected, and it’s nice to hear Richard Band’s original score play over the opening titles. But the real strengths of Puppet Master 3 are its aforementioned strong actors (and their well-written, easily identifiable characters), a decidedly darker tone than its predecessors and the shift from portraying Toulon as a megalomaniacal psycho to a hard-done-to antihero.” Sex Gore Mutants
“Its only genuine brilliance lies in the stop-motion puppet special effects courtesy of Full Moon effects regular David Allen, which look much better than they deserve to given the film’s clearly low budget. Puppet Master III is as silly as you would expect, with horrendous acting and the cheesiest Nazi impressions you’ll see in a while.” That Was a Bit Mental
“Despite the obvious lack o’ funds, the overall production values are quite good, and the quality of the acting better than average. Much care has been lavished on the puppets, and their scenes are always adequate and occasionally remarkable. Six-Shooter’s displays of marksmanship are particularly impressive…” TV Guide
“David DeCoteau does a competent job behind the camera for the most part. A few sequences are robbed of their potential though, due to some shoddy editing (especially during Lynch’s comeuppance scene). And since this is a Puppet Master movie, you know there’s gonna be some flashbacks to help pad the running time.” The Video Vacuum
Cast and characters:
Guy Rolfe … André Toulon – Dolls; Mr. Sardonicus; The Stranglers of Bombay
Sarah Douglas … Elsa Toulon
Richard Lynch … Major Kraus
Ian Abercrombie … Doctor Hess – Jack Frost 2; Army of Darkness
Kristopher Logan … Lt. Eric Stein
Aron Eisenberg … Peter Hertz
Walter Gotell … General Mueller
Matthew Faison … Hertz
Michelle Bauer … Lili
Jasmine Touschek … Prostitute
Eduard Will … Soldier on Stage
John Regis … Morgue Attendant
Neal Parlow … Young Driver
Kenneth Cortland … Pharmacy Soldier
Lenny Rose … Airport Agent
Laurie Mateyko … Little Girl
Rhonda Britten … Mother
Michael Lowry … Hess’s Guard
Michael Leroy Rhodes … Hess’s Guard
John Cann … Young Dead Soldier
Ivan J. Rado … Cairo Merchant
Djinn the Homunculus (flashback)
Audio: Ultra Stereo
Aspect ratio: 1.33: 1
The laughter for the Six-Shooter puppet was supplied by Albert Band, father of producer/Full Moon CEO Charles Band. Albert had escaped France during the Nazi regime, which means every time the viewer hears Six-Shooter laughing after he had gunned down a Nazi, that it is the actual voice of a man who had really escaped from them.
The surgery scene in the opening had to be toned down to make it less intense upon request from producer Charles Band and Paramount Pictures.
Location scenes of Nazi Germany were originally set to be filmed in Romania but were cancelled because of political instability in that country. The second choice was Hungary, but weather conditions during winter were judged too harsh for filming. Eventually, the “location” footage was shot on the back lot at Universal Studios.
The film’s trailer features a scene not kept in the final cut of the film.
Herbert Lom was originally considered for a role in the movie but was too expensive.
Ralph Bates was considered for the role of Major Kraus but died shortly before production began. Director David DeCoteau then wanted Christopher Neame, a friend of Ralph Bates, for the role of Major Kraus but Charles Band insisted on Richard Lynch. Had Neame been cast, he apparently would have donated his entire paycheck from the film to Bates’s family.