In Nazi Germany, an elderly doll maker crosses paths with a special book the SS is looking for and discovers the book has the power to bring his dolls to life.
Judging a Book by its Cover
-Is the bookshelf going through his head? Maybe it’s just me.
-That’s an ugly doll, I’ll give em that. Who would make an ugly doll, though?
-There’s a tagline on the box that says, “There’s a new puppet master in town.” Is this movie seriously challenging Puppet Master? I gotta see what this is going to deliver.
There’s a new puppet master in town!
Directed by Andrew Jones
Starring Lee Bane, Erick Hayden and Rik Grayson
The film opens with a pair of Nazis giving chase to a man gripping a book to his chest as he tries to escape. The man comes upon a home of a small family sympathetic to his plight and they let him hide out in their home. The Nazis arrive to search the home, indicating that the man they are looking for is a danger to national security. After a thorough search, the Nazis leave the family alone. The father, Christophe, tells the man that he can stay for a short period of time as long as his family isn’t in danger and asks why he’s clutching a book to his chest. The man, Benjamin, tells Christophe that it’d be safer if he didn’t tell him anything.
A few days later, the pair of Nazis return with their commander, Colonel Ludolf Von Alvensleben, who is more or less trying to emulate Christophe Waltz’s Colonel Hans Landa from Quentin Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds. With his special skill of sniffing out liars, Von Alvensleben determines he’s being lied to and shoots everybody dead, except for Christophe’s teenage daughter, who manages to escape with the book that Benjamin was trying to keep from them.
Elisabeth lands on the doorstep of Amos, an elderly toymaker, who lets her in just long enough for her to pass on the book before she passes away. The toymaker buries her in his backyard in order to hide the body. Other than an assistant he can barely pay, the toymaker is alone and passes time away talking to the dolls he makes. One night, he looks at the mysterious book that was brought to him and after a few flipped pages, decides to recite a passage from the book and brings Robert, one of his admittedly ugliest dolls, to life.
After being attacked by Robert, Amos’ assistant goes to Von Alvensleben when a large reward is posted. She tells him that Amos has used the book and is killed by the Colonel. Amos brings a few more vintage dolls to life to make himself a little family but is arrested not too long after and is tortured while Robert and the other dolls attempt to rescue him.
To read all the marketing on the box along with the write up, you would actually think this movie was attempting to swoop in on Full Moon’s own Puppet Master franchise — particularly Puppet Master III: Toulon’s Revenge with the setting being in Nazi Germany — but it fails at every step. Anything that this film could offer me was disappointing and I wasn’t expecting that much in the first place hoping that maybe the film could surprise me at some point. The film is very boring, relatively bloodless and the puppet effects lack any visual punch, insisting on minimalist movement when needed. Is that puppet floating across the floor? Yup! Is that tiny knife just glued to the puppet hands? Yup! Way to push that…PG-13 rating?? Ugh. Robert and the Toymaker was not a fun watch and is an easy recommendation to avoid. But you probably already knew that.
Story: 2 – In Nazi Germany, an old doll maker has a voodoo Nazi book given to him and he uses it to bring his dolls to life.
Blood: 1 – There’s a couple of bloody puncture wounds but that’s it. Boo!
Nudity: 0 – Thanks for nothing.
Overall: 2 – The film is barely watchable — I have seen worse — but I was kind of looking forward to someone giving Puppet Master a run for it’s money. If that sounds like you, look elsewhere, you’ll thank me later.
-The film is also known plainly as The Toymaker.
-Evidently this is the third part in a series of Robert movies? Seriously??
-The clown doll features make up similar to real life serial killer John Wayne Gacy.