I always found the dead body in Puppet Master much scarier than the actual puppets. There was something about a person that is dead, that somehow finds itself moved around to a spot it shouldn’t be in, only to spring to life in the final reel and scare us all. It’s this irrational fear of mine that led me to being scared to death when I watched The Fear as a teen. Some people are scared of spiders. Snakes. The dark. Heights. For me, it was Morty. Now that I’m *cough* middle aged *cough* past my prime *cough* years old, let’s see how the movie holds up, shall we? Will I still be scared of a life-sized wooden mannequin? Or “wood” I be better off watching Puppet Master?
Earlier in the article, I mentioned Puppet Master and the similarity to Morty and Neil Gallagher, but that’s interestingly enough, not the only one. We have a character here, Mindy, who is psychic, or at least on the spectrum of witchery, as she constantly makes comments about “feeling something wrong.” Of course, that is the main connection between the four main characters in Puppet Master. Finally, some of the musical themes or cues are very reminiscent of the score by Richard Band. Now, the writer has no connections to Full Moon that I am aware of, instead, writing titles like Camp Blood, Natasha Nighty’s Boudoir of Blood, and Witchcraft XI. So, either it’s coincidental, or I’m reading too much into a forgotten horror film that no one cares about but me.
The 90s were such an odd time for horror. Somewhere between Shocker and Scream we get The Fear. It’s not a wise cracking franchise serial killer. And it’s not a meta teen whodunnit slasher. It’s a supernatural psychological horror film. It’s smart, yet has annoying paper-thin stereotypically dumb 90s horror film characters. It features a villain who lies dormant for the majority of the film, not springing to life (unless you count him randomly popping up in weird spots at inopportune times) until 1:13 of the 1:41 runtime. At times it feels like an episode of Silk Stalkings or The Red Shoe Diaries, not necessarily in content, but in the way it’s filmed and lit. It has that 90s straight to video late-night Showtime movie look about it.
I enjoy parts of it, as it truly has some unnerving moments. Morty on a cross is creepy. Morty jumping out of a hot tub is a good jump scare. The kills aren’t impressive, but I keep telling myself that this isn’t a slasher, and gore isn’t a key component here. The possessed stuff with Mindy is weird and feels like it’s from a different movie, which sucks because it happens during the climax of the film. The added nudity is apparently from a rando in a flashback, not who I expected, so it’s cheap. As noted earlier, parts of the film just seem sleazy and low grade. The Morty costume and the effects involving him coming to life are very impressive, as are the sounds he makes when he moves. It’s not Shakespeare, but it’s in the upper half of the shit pile that is 90s horror. Just ignore that crappy cliche dated rap song that plays like 3 times in the film!