Puppetmaster (1989)

35mm film, colour, 1.85:1
Ultra Stereo, English

An American horror film directed by David Schmoeller. Originally intended for theatrical release in the summer of 1989, the film was instead released straight to video in the USA on 12 October 1989.

Plot Summary

Puppet maker Andre Toulon appears to kill himself before his secret can be stolen by the Nazis. Fifty years later that secret is discovered by Neil Gallagher the ability to bring his murderous to life.


Directed by: David Schmoeller
© MCMLXXXIX Full Moon Productions
Full Moon Productions presents a David Schmoeller film
Executive Producer: Charles Band
Produced by: Hope Perello
Screenplay by: Joseph G. Collodi [real name: David Schmoeller]
Story by: Charles Band, Kenneth J. Hall
Director of Photography: Sergio Salvati
Edited by: Tom Meshelski
Music Composed by: Richard Band
Sound Mixer: William Fiege
Costume Designer: Robin Lewis
Makeup Artist: Valerie McKnight
Hair Stylist: Lisa Lowe
Visual Effects Supervisor: David Allen
Puppet Effects Created by: David Allen Productions
Production Designer: John Myhre
Casting by: Vivian Levy

Paul Le Mat (Alex Whitaker)
Irene Miracle (Dana Hadley)
Matt Roe (Frank Forrester)
Kathryn O'Reilly (Carlissa Stamford)
Merrya Small (Theresa)
Jimmie F. Skaggs (Neil Gallagher)
Robin Frates (Megan Gallagher)
Barbara Crampton (woman at carnival)
William Hickey (Andre Toulon)
David Boyd (man at carnival)
Peter Frankland (assassin #1)
Andrew Kimbrough (assassin #2)
Ed Cook (voice of Pinhead)
Linda Cook (voice of Leech Woman)
Tim Dornberg (voice of Tunneler)
Bert Rosario (voice of Blade)
Michael Laide (voice of Jester)

Alternative Titles

Bonecos Assassinos – Portugal
Bonecos da Morte – Brazil
Gyilkos bábok – Hungary
El juguetero del diablo – Mexico
Puppet Master – alternative title
Puppet Master – Il burattinaio – Italy
Puppet Master – La venganza de los muñecos – Spain
Puppet Master I – USA (DVD)
Tappajanuket – Finland

Puppet Master II (1990)
Puppet Master III: Toulon's Revenge (1991)
Puppet Master 4 (1993)
Puppet Master 5: The Final Chapter (1994)
Curse of the Puppet Master (1998)
Retro Puppet Master (1999)
Puppet Master: The Legacy (2003)
Puppet Master vs Demonic Toys (2004)
Puppet Master: Axis of Evil (2010)
Puppet Master X: Axis Rising (2012)
Puppet Master: Axis Termination (2016)
Puppet Master: The Littlest Reich (2018)
Puppet Master: Doktor Death (2022)

See also
Puppet Master: Blitzkrieg Massacre (2018)


Cinefantastique vol.20 no.4 (March 1990) pp.50-51
Puppet Master is a slight, rather perfunctory film which is all the more disappointing because there are indications that it could have been developed into an interesting, adult work of supernatural horror. Instead, the filmmakers present a variation on the standard slasher genre, with gimmicky multiple murders and the by now mandatory “twist”ending. [….] There are numerous loose ends in Puppet Master‘s plot, and its gimmick of animated puppets is just that – a blatant gimmick. Unlike the recent Child's Play (1989), Puppet Master fails to advance either the technological presentation or the overall concept of living puppets, a common genre theme since 1933's Devil Doll. […] lt's not surprising to see that Schmoeller took a pseudonym for his script. His choice of Collodi as a nom de plume, however. is an insult to the creator of Pinocchio. Though Schmoeller's script bears the lion's share of the blame for the film's failings, there is also little of distinction in the direction, production design or special effects (although Sergio Salvati's photography is at times effective). The film wastes the germ of a good idea (or, more accurately. a good situation) and several sharp performances, and winds up as just another mediocre horror entry. – from an illustrated review by David Wilt



  • Cinefantastique vol.20 no.4 (March 1990) pp.50-51 – illustrated article (Puppet Master: puppet tricks by David Allen Productions by Dennis Fischer); credits, review (Puppet variation on standard slasher formula by David Wilt)
  • Starburst no.347 (March 2007) pp.66-67 – illustrated article (Top 10 Living !)
  • Variety 16 August 1989, pp. 21 – credits, review