In the early to mid 1990’s there was a great little B-movie horror franchise known as Puppet Master. The original story of a Nazi era puppeteer who used some evil magic to make killer puppets that, well… killed, struck a chord with the video market. Puppet Master went on to make several movies of varying quality and right at the turn of the century the puppets became toys!


Puppet Master
Totem
By: Full Moon Toys
1999
$10.99


In the 4th and 5th Puppet Master movies (filmed back to back) we were introduced to new antagonists, the Totems. While the Puppets themselves were originally considered evil, the genre had changed a bit as the films went on because of the increased popularity of the characters. The Totems made excellent foils for the Puppets, offering essentially puppet on puppet violence. The toys from the films turned out to be a big hit and the Totem stands as one of the more impressive models of the characters.

Packaging:
The package is pretty vanilla, but does include a bit of artwork from the film. Charles Band is a notoriously shrewd businessman, but whomever he got into bed with in relation to the toys worked well with the Full Moon company. Toys were just really starting to get collectible and Full Moon seemed to notice that.


The minimalist packages weren’t designed to lure in kids, but to entice collectors. Not only collectors of toys but of general horror/whatever Hot Topic shoppers like. The front shows off the figure well and it is definitely reminiscent of the Puppet Master posters of the era.


The back shows off some of the other figures for sale and includes a cut out trading card deal.

Sculpt:
I always liked the Totem design, but the old VHS movies didn’t exactly show them off to any great detail. Having the figure in hand I can finally really admire some of the smaller, lesser seen qualities of these little evil demon dolls. There is a definite Aztec feel to these characters and it shines through quite well.


The Totems have more design elements than any of the other Puppet Master figures. I don’t recall the Totems being hugely popular, but they do offer a bit of an army builder element. This figure was also cast in a “glow in the dark” variant.


Looking at this guy up close though, I’m really amazed how well the design translated to the toy. This looks like a small scale replica of the actual puppet than say a action figure of it. Some of the puppets themselves tend to look like toys, but this guy looks like he could be on screen.


The paint work is pretty good overall and there’s more paint here than on any of the other figures, but it’s not without a few issues. There’s some slop and some scuffs here and there. In terms of the slop it’s hard to say where the intentional wash slop ends and the unintentional slop begins, although there are a few key cases. Still it fits in with the paint scheme for the most part and stands out only when highlighted.


Even though some of the colors are quite vibrant, this guy definitely looks evil. There’s some neat spikes and ridges throughout that help bring about the demonic element. He also has a pretty nasty hunch which just evokes a sense of nefariousness.


Overall the sculpt and paint and much better than you’d expect from a company that primarily focused on making low budget horror and skin flicks.

Articulation:
The figure aren’t particularly articulate, but they can get in a few poses.


The Totem is cut at the big five, with simple arm, leg and neck cuts. The leg cuts don’t give you much option in terms of posing, as he’s essentially got a V-crotch, but it’s better than nothing I suppose.


He mostly looks good hunched over standing. It works in several contexts, including creeping around.

Accessories:
Accessories were generally pretty mild for this line, but the Totem does get a “power gem” accessory.


As I recall there were several variants on these gems. This one is a fire colored stand with an orange jewel. It’s not the most realistic looking thing, but it works well enough.

Additional Notes:
I’m not sure what it is that ended the Puppet Master line. I’ve heard it had something to do with Full Moon’s financial troubles, but there could be a variety of reasons. The collector market sort of dried up around early 2000 before hitting another boom in the first few years of the new millennium and Full Moon could have been a precursor of what was to come. It could also have to do with the fact that there were far too many variants of the figures that quickly became very costly to try and complete…


It could also be that they simply ran out of cool Puppets to make figures of. I’m guessing the fact that there weren’t any new movies or at least GOOD ones coming out, played a factor too. Still, the Totem while not being one of the more popular characters is a great figure.

Value:
I believe these originally retailed for around $10. They were inflated in price for a few years, but they’ve come back down in recent ones. The Totem has never been too expensive and you can generally get him for about a ten spot if you look around and are patient. For as nice of a figure as he is, that’s not too terrible a value.


Score Recap:
Packaging – 6
Sculpting – 9
Articulation – 4
Accessories – Power Gem
Value – 7
Overall – 6.5 out of 10


There’s nothing particularly bad about this toy, aside from low articulation. It’s essentially a near perfect small scale replica of the Totem from the Puppet Master films. If you liked those movies, you probably should track down some of these figures. If you have no idea what Puppet Master is, you could still probably enjoy a Totem in your figure collection.

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