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Puppet Masters, The
Victory over VHS oblivion! After 35 weeks among CineSchlock-O-Rama's Most Wanted the unyielding vigilance of all CineSchlockers has been rewarded with another capture! Not only that, when this and a crush of other so called B-titles were slated for el cheapo pan-and-scan releases, fans made it abundantly clear such plans were unacceptable. Thankfully, our fervent cries were heeded in the case of The Puppet Masters (1994, 109 minutes)!
The movie: Take Invasion of the Body Snatchers, that "Star Trek" when Spock got attacked by space-alien omelets, squish them together and out pops this sucker. Donald Sutherland is an icy spymaster out to eighty-six extraterrestrial stingrays who figure IOWA is the best place to launch a world domination campaign. These critters latch onto the backs of locals, shoot dart-like antenna into their brainpans and make 'em do really MEAN stuff. Pasty comic Richard Belzer plays a government goon who goes nutzoid when he's taken over by the critters. What's scarier, though, is that the script actually calls for The Belz to TAKE OFF HIS SHIRT!!! Speaking of wardrobe. Unfortunately, beefy Eric Thal won't keep his on either. While comely Julie Warner hangs on to her bra like the Titanic's last life jacket. Together they're the flick's designated E.T. wranglers who might be mighty helpful in putting the kibosh on the invasion if they'd ever stop making googly eyes at each other. All in all, there's lots of great footage of slimy aliens and Don being a real badass. CineSchlockers will spot genre fave Andrew Robinson as a Secret Service agent destine for a splitting headache. Mr. Robinson starred in Hellraiser and, coincidentally, his made-for-TV Liberace is also among CineSchlock-O-Rama's Most Wanted.
Notables: No breasts. 30 corpses. Baseball bat to the brainpan. Telephone booth bowling. Copter skid dangling. Gratuitous MALE shower scene. Chimp abuse. Caning. Multiple tazer attacks. Windshield diving.
Quotables: Any fragment of Sutherland's mumbled dialogue.
Time codes: Actual subject of most flying saucer photos (:55). Predictably brutal outcome when car and foot chases intermingle (15:35). Hallmark of any creature feature -- the "What the heck are these things?" slideshow (22:00). Closeup on the spiked tentacle to the cerebral cortex (33:55). B-regular Yaphet Kotto as an army honcho (52:22). Alien hive or world's largest loogie? (1:32:19). Always a crowd pleaser -- the two-man brawl aboard a helicopter in flight (1:37:37).
Audio/Video: Glorious anamorphic W-I-D-E-S-C-R-E-E-N (2.35:1) transfer certain to dazzle insomniacs who've only perused this gooey epic on the tube! Hearty Dolby Digital 2.0 track.
Extras: Not even a stinkin' trailer.
Final thought: Sutherland provides a refined luster for this underheralded gem of the alien invasion genre. Highly Recommended.
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G. Noel Gross is a Dallas graphic designer and avowed Drive-In Mutant who specializes in scribbling B-movie reviews. Noel is inspired by Joe Bob Briggs and his gospel of blood, breasts and beasts.