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Puppet Master; The Littlest Reich (2018) poster.jpg

Puppet Master: The Littlest Reich is a 2018 horror comedy film directed by Sonny Laguna and Tommy Wiklund, and written by S. Craig Zahler. The film is the twelfth entry in the Puppet Master franchise, and is the first film produced by Fangoria under their "Fangoria Presents" label, following their acquisition by Cinestate. It is a reboot of the series, and stars Thomas Lennon, Jenny Pellicer, Nelson Franklin, Barbara Crampton, and Udo Kier. It was released on August 17, 2018, by RLJE Films. As of February 2019, the film has grossed over $600,000 through video sales.

Plot

In Texas of 1989, escaped Nazi war criminal André Toulon attempts to engage a bartender in a sexual relationship; he responds with disgust upon learning that she is a lesbian. Later that night, he induces his sentient puppets to attack and kill the woman and her lover. Rookie police officer Carol Doreski follows Toulon to his mansion, where she shoots him to death after he pulls a gun on her.

In 2019, slacker Edgar Easton moves back in with his parents following a divorce. Attempting to put his life back together, he reconnects with his childhood crush, Ashley Sommers, and unearths his deceased younger brother's prized possession, a disturbing puppet he discovered at summer camp shortly before his death. Googling the object, Edgar learns that its name is "Blade" and that it's based on a design by Toulon, who performed puppet shows before the rise of the Third Reich. Discovering that an auction dedicated to original Toulon creations is scheduled at the nearby Brass Buckle hotel, Edgar, Ashley, and Edgar's misanthropic boss Markowitz disembark on a road trip to sell the doll.

At the hotel, Edgar and Ashley experience supernatural phenomena such as disturbing phone calls and the Blade puppet moving on its own; the pair also participate in a tour of Toulon's mansion, hosted by the retired Carol Doreski, who now makes her living as a tour guide for Toulon-related media; Doreski informs her guests that Toulon routinely abducted, raped, and tortured Jewish women upon his arrival in America. She also explains that Toulon is now entombed in an adjoining mausoleum, funded by a distant relative and built to architecturally bizarre specifications left behind in Toulon's will. Their first night at the Brass Buckle, Edgar and Ashley realize that his Blade doll is missing and report it to hotel security; their complaint corresponds to a number of inexplicable murders carried out in the hotel the same night. Recognizing the names of several victims from the tour he and Ashely took, Edgar notes that all of the victims were either people of color, Jews, or Homosexuals, and suggests that the deaths are hate crimes.

The police gather the hotel guests in the lobby, where the Brass Buckle's bartender, "Cuddly Bear," leads a revolt against the authorities and orchestrates an escape into the parking lot. There, the guests are attacked by sentient puppets, who slaughter most of the people who fled; Edgar, Ashley, Markowitz, and Doreski flee back inside and survive. Based on Edgar's intuition that the puppets are fueled by racist ideology, Markowitz recites a Hanukkah prayer, summoning a puppet to the hotel kitchen; the survivors set upon it an disable it, discovering it to be filled with amethyst. Failing to understand the threat, the survivors split into groups and hide in the hotel. Hearing a guest praying in Hebrew, Markowtiz convinces Edgar to help him stage a rescue attempt. The plan fails, and Markowitz is killed; as he dies, he suggests that Edgar and Ashley jump into a dumpster below their window, using the detritus inside as padding.

Taking Markowitz's advice, Edgar and Ashley jump to safety; meanwhile, the puppets slaughter the remainder of survivors, including Doreski. Edgar intuits that Toulon's mausoleum is integral to the puppet attacks and crashes his truck into it. The attack disables the puppets but results in Toulon's corpse reanimating as a zombie, which attacks and kills Ashley before wandering into the wilderness.

Sometime later, Edgar has achieved success as a comic book artist, documenting his experience at the Brass Buckle. After a fan asks if Toulon has truly been stopped, a visibly disturbed Edgar fails to respond.

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