Movie Review: ‘Puppet Killer’ is Hilarious 80’s Horror Fueled MayhemNovember 21, 2019
The Blood in the Snow Canadian Film Festival
Teenagers, drinking, sex, and a killer puppet might not sound like much but Puppet Killer is pretty slick with its in-jokes and knows exactly what kind of audience will appreciate this part of the horror genre. This is 80’s slasher horror/comedy through and through and it’s a fun ride from start to finish.
The setup is pure horror gold. Jamie (Aleks Paunovic) is a high school student whose troubled past includes his mother bringing him up watching horror at a very young age, losing his mother at a young age and believing his lovable childhood puppet killed off his nasty step-mom. So how do you deal with this stress, plus the regular stress of high school? Jump in a van and go to an isolated cabin, which of course was the last place his step-mom was seen alive.
Joining Jamie at the cabin are a wonderful group of characters, including his love interest Jessie (Lisa Durupt) Rick (Richard Harmon) Rick’s girlfriend Brooke (Gigi Saul Guerrero) Curtis (Lee Majdoub) and Curtis’s brother Lee (Kyle Cassie). This gang of misfits is a great collection of everything you want in this kind of film, jock, sexy women, goth boy, weed lover…it’s beautiful. The question then becomes, is Jamie losing his mind, trying to deal with his childhood traumas, or is there something else going on here?
Director Lisa Ovies does a great job mixing the comedy and gore, which is not easy to do. The laughs are played well, as are winks and nods to the horror community, and there are some good blood and gore moments to offset that. Neither overwhelms the other and that’s a credit to Ovies and the cast she is directing. For instance, no one is trying to hide the fact that older actors are trying to portray teenagers, it’s just a fun in-joke to share with the fans.
The first half of the film builds quite nicely and while the second half seems a bit all over the place at times, to be fair, there is no other way I’d like to see it all play out. There were times I thought the puppet itself might steal the whole film but for the most part, it was there just enough that it made for a great combination of giggles and gore.
There were also some nice nods to the horror community, with appearances by director Gigi Saul Guerrero, directors Jen and Sylvia Soska and horror actress Jessica Cameron. It’s like the whole horror community is in on the joke and the great vibes make it that much more entertaining. Embracing the insanity doesn’t always work but Ovies and company manage to do it well, making it come across as very natural and fun.
In the end, Puppet Killer gives us a taste of the 80’s horror/slasher genre but never makes the mistake of taking itself too seriously, making it a great piece of nostalgia and a fun time at the movies.
Four stars out of five