BITS 2019: Our Review of ‘Puppet Killer’

BITS 2019: Our Review of ‘Puppet Killer’

One of the more legendary gags from Arrested Development features a puppet named Franklin. The logical conclusion is a hilarious moment in which the camera zooms into three faces in a state of panic, the last of which is Franklin’s, a deeply ironic use of camera movement to undercut all of the tension. It’s a puppet after all.

This is the spirit upon which Lisa Ovies’, somehow against all odds fun, Puppet Killer is built upon. The same sort of childish irony oozes out of the frame. This story of a killer puppet (voice of Lee Majdoub), who returns to a traumatized High School Senior’s life (the comically too old for the role Aleks Paunovic) in order to stalk him and his friends while they spend a Christmas vacation at a backwoods cabin, is one that you’ve seen before in different permutations. Yes, this time it’s the one with the murderous puppet.

Puppet Killer is a clear example of how far horror cinema can deviate from the pure concept of “provide horrific images,” to, “provide horror as a pastiche.” There’s little in the way of actual scares in the film, but that’s not exactly a negative here. I’m certain that a group experience, replete with spontaneous jeering at the innumerable instances of characters decrying horror films in a “but what about the children” vein, will offer a better experience than a solo outing, but I enjoyed said solo outing nonetheless.

It’s a deeply silly film, filled with TV movie stars in their early 30s playing what is possibly least convincing group of High Schoolers in the history of cinema. The film has a delightfully trashy quality to it. But it’s meant to be that way; homicidal puppets were unlikely to ever be the basis for high art.

At the Blood in the Snow Festival, Puppet Killer will also play alongside two short films. One is Lee Chamber’s Copenhagen Road, a film that’s part Nordic noir, part horror film. It’s got a high enough production quality to coast for the most part, but also, the twist is too easily telegraphed and there’s some strange blocking used. It’s a bit of a mixed bag. The second is a music video for classic Canadian indie group, The Spoons and their song “The First and Last Time.” Peter Sacco directs, and it is generally a pretty fun time all around, the story of a paranormal investigation set to upbeat new wave styled jams. The enjoyment for most music videos though begins and ends with the music itself, and take my recommendation with a grain of salt. This is very much what I listen to on a Friday night.

  • Release Date: 11/21/2019
This post was written by
Thomas Wishloff is currently an MA student at York University. He is new to the Toronto Film Scene, but has periodically written and podcasted for several now defunct ventures, and has probably commented on a forum with you at some point. The ex-Edmontonian has been known to enjoy a good board game, and claims to know the secret to the best popcorn in the world.
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