Puppet Master IV – 1992 Version

seedpeople-paramount1 (VHSCollector.com)

Courtesy of vhscollector.com

These pages are filled with nostalgia.  It’s not that I necessarily want to live my life always looking in the rearview mirror, but I look back so fondly on my childhood that I’m just not willing to let it go.  I don’t want to be unrealistic either.  It wasn’t all perfect but all the uncertainty and anxiety is gone simply due to an adult perspective.  That’s great, but I’m not willing to let go of the wonder and excitement I felt.  I want to bottle that stuff up.  That’s sort of the point of this site – a collection of moments that have brought me great personal joy.

This entry comes in a roundabout way and isn’t even from a movie that ever happened this way.  In the early 90s, I fell in love with Charles Band’s Full Moon Entertainment.  It started with Puppet Master, Subspecies and a few other quality titles.  What kept me coming back, even when the quality started to wane, was the video magazine they put on after every feature, VideoZone.  I would rent movies that I was only marginally interested in without hesitation because of these.  I would scan Video Paradise’s new release wall for that little notation on the bottom of the box that advertised an all new edition of VideoZone.  They did such a fantastic job of making me feel like an insider.

By the time Seedpeople rolled around in 1992, the movies were starting to feel like the product of an assembly line.  It’s safe to say, that at this point, I was renting them primarily for the VideoZones.  I was still interested in the flagship Puppet Master franchise though and so when I caught this little doozy in the merchandise section of the Seedpeople VideoZone, I was chomping at the bit.

Screen Shot 2014-11-29 at 6.42.25 PM

This was part of a 1992 calendar that Charlie Spradling (at her most attractive) was selling.  The camera then moves down to reveal that this is the image on top of the October page of the calendar.

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It goes without saying that this was in the days before the internet.  I took this as a guarantee that we’d be seeing Puppet Master IV by October.  Not only would we be seeing Puppet Master IV, but we’d be seeing the puppets fight the toys from Demonic Toys.  It all made perfect sense to me.  After all, part III was advertised as “When Good Puppets Go Bad” and the teaser after the credits for part IV promised we’d be seeing “When Bad Puppets God Good”.  They were obviously the heroes of the series by now anyway since they were killing Nazis the last time around.

Any doubts I had about Full Moon were now gone (how many times has someone ever said that with a straight face?) and I was ready to roll.  What would any impatient kid do at this point?  I started calling every video store that wasn’t long distance.  A lot.  I would usually call about once a week and ask if they had a release date on Puppet Master IV.  Most would humor me and clack on the keyboard a bit and tell me that they didn’t have anything yet.  I told I’d check back later, and I did.  I wonder how annoying I was to the clerks.  I’m betting that if they had caller ID back then, they would’ve stopped answering my calls after a while.

At first, I wasn’t worried at all. It was still a few months from October.  I’d just keep checking.  As summer grew to a close though, I saw nothing new.  No mention in Fangoria, and more importantly, no mention on Full Moon VideoZones.  By the time October rolled around, I was crestfallen.  Looking back, this was only about five or six months, but at that age, it felt like years.  No exaggeration there, this was even more frustrating than when I called all the local toy stores looking for the Nightmare On Elm Street game where you got to control Freddy.

I include this piece in my curious collection even though it ended in heartbreak.  I feel slightly pathetic even typing that, but it’s true.  Those few months where I thought it was going to happen were pretty amazing though.  I imagined possible plots and fight scenarios endlessly.  It’s important to me that I don’t lose sight of the trivial things that really mattered to me as a kid, and this version of Puppet Master IV really mattered to me.

The epilogue to this story isn’t much happier.  Puppet Master 4 (not IV) was released toward the end of 1993.  This one had Friday the 13th Part VIII alumnus Gordon Currie as the new puppet master.  Try as I might, even I had to admit that the glory days of Full Moon were firmly in the past.  This was only reinforced by Part 5 that was shot simultaneously.  These only really look good in comparison to the non-Full Moon Puppet Master Vs Demonic Toys which was finally unleashed in 2004.  This one featured Friday the 13th Part IV alumnus Corey Feldman as the new puppet master.  No way to sugarcoat this one – it was terrible!

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8 Responses to Puppet Master IV – 1992 Version

  1. markmc2012 says:

    I knew a guy in college liked these films and showed me some of them. They all kind of blended together after a while.

    Liked by 1 person

    • drhumpp says:

      They do. The first three have a similar feel and they’re entertaining enough, but after that there is very little for me to enjoy.

      In fact, if you weren’t watching Full Moon closely around 1990, I could see how pretty much all of them could blend together.


  2. Tony Parsons says:

    I remember seeing these on my late lamented video library’s shelves … and never delved into them. Would Puppet Master and Subspecies be a good start with these? Seedpeople always fascinated me as a VHS cover.


    • drhumpp says:

      I’m not sure how much of my enjoyment of them is due to nostalgia. Personally, I would recommend Puppet Master 1 & 2. My favorite Subspecies movie was 2, but they all feel a little soap opera-ish.

      Seedpeople had some very early low budget CGI – proceed with caution!

      Castle Freak isn’t bad either.

      Let me know when you see one. I’d love to hear what you think.


  3. Fringe Void says:

    I too wonder what this would have been like! Full Moon and their family-friendly alter ego (Was it Moonbeam back then? Whichever made the Josh Kirby series and Prehysteria! trilogy) were staples of my childhood. Full Moon had a bad habit of coming up with elaborate posters or clever titles first, then working backward from there. Here’s a really cool site that may have already known about: http://tomboftheunproducedhorrormovie.blogspot.com/

    Everyone shits on Puppet Master vs Demonic Toys. Say what you will about me, I liked it!


    • drhumpp says:

      I have never seen that site – thanks for sharing!

      I haven’t watched Puppet Master vs Demonic Toys, so maybe I’m not giving it a fair shake. I will say that I hated it about 10 years ago, but maybe I wasn’t going in with the right expectations.

      I do have a soft spot for Dollman vs Demonic Toys. I even have the Quiet Riot CD Terrified that was released on Moonstone Records. I love that CD.

      I remember Band talking about Moonbeam on the Videozones, but I don’t remember ever actually renting one. Was Shrunken Heads Moonbeam? I thought it was still Full Moon, but I remember thinking it felt like it was aimed at a younger audience.


      • Fringe Void says:

        Wikipedia says Shrunken Heads was Full Moon’s first theatrically released movie and that Danny Elfman provided part of the score. Huh, never knew any of that.

        Moonbeam was amazing. Your childhood wasn’t complete without this:

        Holy mother of… The whole movie’s on YouTube. I know what I’m doing after work.

        Liked by 1 person

      • drhumpp says:

        I remember reading that Shrunken Heads was theatrical, but I never heard of it playing anywhere near me. I’m guessing it was a small run. I do remember Elfman being advertised though.

        Have fun with Prehysteria! The trailer was cute. I do like the stop motion and other puppet techniques. Maybe I’ll show my kids someday. They might get a kick out of it.


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