PUPPET MASTER II
Puppet Master II is directed by long-time Band special effects contributor David Allen, who created the puppet effects for the first Puppetmaster and had been involved on other Band-produced films since 1977, including having created the fabulous Transformer effects in Robot Jox (1990). Allen had earlier directed a segment of the Bands The Dungeonmaster (1984) but this was his only full-length outing as a director. (Allen did direct the legendary Band-produced stop-motion project The Primevals, something he began in 1968 and spent an incredible thirty years in production with it still remaining uncompleted with Allens death in 1999).
Here however Allen seems to lack what it takes as a director the puppet scenes lack the outré weirdness they had in the first film and are routine. The latter half of the film is more interesting. Here the script attempts to pump something into the Toulon story. The image of Steven Welles wandering about the hotel in bandages, black fedora and dark goggles is a resonant one that echoes classic films like The Invisible Man (1933) and Mad Love (1935). The film becomes slightly more interesting at its ending with the image of Steven Welles slashing his own throat into a funnel that runs down into the mouth of his life-size puppet in order to incarnate himself in the puppets body; and the fadeout on Nita Talbot driving off with the puppets to a childrens asylum where they will be able to slot in without being noticed.
The cast are not up to much Elizabeth McLellan fails to convince that she is the leader of a team of parapsychologists. Collin Bernsen, brother of better-known Corbin, fails to convey much in the way of expression. The best player is actually Charlie Spradling, a regular player in the changing Band troupe, mostly known for taking her clothes off in films, who gives a lively and sparkling performance.
The subsequent Puppetmaster films are: Puppetmaster (1989), Puppetmaster III: Toulons Revenge (1991), Puppet Master IV (1993), Puppet Master V: The Final Chapter (1995), Curse of the Puppet Master (1998), Retro Puppetmaster (1999), Puppet Master: The Legacy (2003), Puppet Master vs Demonic Toys (2004), Puppet Master: Axis of Evil (2010), Puppet Master X: Axis Rising (2012) and Puppet Master: Axis Termination (2017).