Okay, kids, this entry from the B-movie hive is a real humdinger that has several problems that prohibit it from being a classic example of how to make a great movie with limited funds and less than stellar acting. For one thing, the title Attack of the Puppet People is thoroughly and completely misleading and just plain wrong. The fact is that there is no attack from the puppet people in this movie. But there may well be an attack on the puppet people, so if you read the title in that way, I suppose it could be considered apt. Could be, but not likely.
Remember that classic episode of the Twilight Zone that takes place in a diner and features the mystery of the extra passenger aboard a bus who may just possibly be an alien? The old guy with the overcoat draped over his shoulders plays a dollmaker gone mad. Seems that he has found a way to shrink real people down to the size of a doll and suspend them in animation until he is ready to enjoy their company. For a villain, the dollmaker/mad scientist is surprisingly sympathetic. He’s a much more sympathetic character than, for instance, Dr. Frankenstein. The maker of the puppet people in this B-movie is a very lonely individual and, as such, you can’t help but agree with him a little when he justifies his actions to his group of little people by suggesting that they now live a life free from the stress of everyday agonies and get the chance to party any time he brings them out.
Of course, some would also agree that excesses of the Patriot Act were excusable and justified because–or so these people apparently believed–those excesses made America safer. The fact that Americans directly in the line of fire in Iraq, Afghanistan and when talking on their ATT phones nullifies such ignorance. And for those who would repeat the oft-mentioned justification that America was not attacked on its shores following 9/11 because of the Patriot Act, I would remind you that following the first WTC bombing under Pres. Clinton, America was not attacked again–until Bush ignored warnings–without Clinton needing to resort to extreme actions like passing the so-called Patriot Act.
But back to Attack of the Puppet People. This entry from the B-movie hive is certainly entertaining and is good enough to while away 72 minutes of your time when you have nothing better to do than watch annoying women from New Jersey or thoroughly uninteresting housewives from Atlanta. Give Attack of the Puppet People a break and get past the fact that it “stars” John Agar. When the movie finally reaches the point at which contact is shown between the sympathetic dollmaker and the puppet people, it really kicks into high gear. Entertainment of this sort would cost millions and not look terribly much better if made today. The special effects are 1950s state of the art and almost harken back to King Kong or Mighty Joe Young in their effectiveness. The sight of the curiously appealing if absolutely creepy dollmaker getting his little puppet people to dance and sing and imbibe champagne is most definitely worth putting aside the morons who populate your favorite reality shows. Their attempts at escape are also quite fascinating in the use of oversized objects.
Attack of the Puppet People is hardly a masterpiece even within the world of B-movies. It is, however, at least as much fun as Dr. Cyclops and if it doesn’t come even close to touching on the profundity proffered in the subtext of The Incredible Shrinking Man, it at least offers a creative alternative to two hours of TBS airing repeats of Family Guy ripoffs of The Simpsons or anything on Bravo.