I knew they’d be small, but I wasn’t prepared for how frickin’ adorable these figures would be.
About I-don’t-know-how-long-ago I bought the Puppet Master DVD set that collected the first 9 Puppet Master movies and made my way through them, dragged in by the idea of killer puppets, which never fails to be a creepy premise. Plus, I was aware of the overall designs of all the puppets and wanted to see things like a puppet guy with a drill on his head kill people.
That just seemed nuts.
The movies are that special mixture of 90s-era low budget horror and straight to video cultishness that won’t be winning any awards but is filled to the brim with entertainment if you’re in the right mindframe for such a thing. The stat attraction is, of course, those puppets, who carry out their murderous rampages in creepy, staccato stop-motion movements that is way creepier than if they had been full-on CGI creations. Something about the unnatural movement of a stop-motion animated thing ratchets up the weird factor.
There have been Puppet Master figures before, but these are the first ones I’ve picked up. NECA’s track record with horror properties is second to none, so I’ve been looking forward to them ever since they were announced.
I mentioned that they were tiny, but they are tiny. They’re smaller than the already small Chucky and Sam from Trick R treat, and those were already pretty diminutive. The fact that they managed to squeeze in such a high level of screen accurateness relative to size is very impressive.
For small figures, the articulation is for the most part excellent. If you’re familiar with usual NECA articulation then nothing here is going to be a surprise, it’s just going to be on a much smaller scale. A full-on 18th scale action figure might have more articulation, but it feels like the combination of needs-to-do and can-do here is appropriate. I’m a guy that likes his toys to move, and these have essentially all the feel of shrunken NECAs.
The standout articulation points are the neck range—both have massive amount of motion due to the ball jointed necks—and Pinhead’s elbows. They have that slightly odd oversized double joint that NECA has been utilizing in some of their most recent figures. I will admit it isn’t the most fluid and sculpt-saving type of joint, but Pinhead can get into some convincing two-fisted brawler poses with ease, and at this scale it works.
Tunneler’s articulation is a little more basic, with swivel hinge elbows and knees. He has a ball-jointed waist, where Pinhead has a ball jointed wobble joint up underneath his big sweater. Both setups allow them to get a pretty good range, although balancing them on their tiny feet is an issue. Especially top-heavy Pinhead.
The sculpting is fantastic. From the ribbed sweater on Pinhead to the detailed uniform on Tunneler, everything is sharp and precise. I especially dig the likenesses. Tunneler’s stylized squinty head with actual moving drill looks screen accurate, and Pinhead’s pin head is as close as it can get while being about the size of a regular action figure’s thumb. For an already small figure to have an almost absurdly small head that still looks like it’s supposed to look like without looking like a blob of plastic is not too shabby.
They come with plenty of accessories, most of which were used to kill people with. Tunneler comes with a pickaxe, a harpoon, a pair of hooks a beaker and a submachine gun. He comes with a spare fun hand to hold the gun.
Pinhead comes with a wrench a beaker and a pair of grab hands to replace the pair of fists he comes packaged with. They hold the wrench nice and tight, and you can even use it to keep him balanced.
In addition to all of that, Tunneler comes with an extra squintier head with blood on his drill, which will be my default head for him, as if he just got done burrowing his way through some poor shmuck’s guts.
I love this set, and I love these figures. Any time we can get a toy based on a classic cult movie feels like a huge check mark in the awesome book, even more so if it’s a niche horror franchise like Puppet Master. It makes me want something like The Leprechaun even more.
Pinhead and Tunneler will soon be joined by Blade and Torch when that set shows up, which means we’ll be on our way to a very respectable Puppet Master assortment. Hopefully it doesn’t stop there, because Leech Woman and Jester are still needed. And Six-shooter.
And then Decapitron.
Definitely need a Decapitron.