This review is part of Nevermore Horror’s coverage of the Blood in the Snow Film Festival
When I was 9 or 10 years old, my dad sat me down in front of the TV and showed me what would be my very first action/horror movie. It was the Predator with Arnold Schwarzenegger. I had never seen anything like it and I think it had changed me on a fundamental level. Shortly after than I was introduced to Alien, and Aliens and then the Terminator. I was hooked, and to this day I will sit down and watch these movies and they never get old to me.
I was pretty young, and it makes me wonder. If I had a kid, at what age would it be appropriate to show them a horror movie? This is one of the themes in Puppet Killer (2019) directed by Lisa Ovies. Puppet Killer is about a kid who is shown slashy B grade horror movies as a baby and is constantly exposed to these kinds of films by his mother. He even watches them alone in his room with his trusty friend Simon the Puppet.
Ten years later as a high school student, he decides to go with his friends on Christmas vacation to his family cabin. Where the puppet awaits. You can probably guess the rest of the story cause you all have been watching horror movies for some time now.
This movie is pretty much your run of the mill horror story with its fair share of plot holes and inexplicable series of events that leads to a lot of death and mayhem. A little deeper and its plain to see that this movie is a tongue in cheek satire version of that tired old line of thought that kids who see violence in movies or video games will eventually act it out. If you show horror movies to your baby, it might not be a good idea, but neither is Caillou. If you are the kind of person who accepts anecdotal evidence, I can tell you that I grew up watching some pretty scary shit, and the only effect it had on me is that I had few nightmares from time to time.
I expected to see bad acting and low budget stuff in Puppet Killer and frankly, I love that kind of thing in my horror movies. There was one aspect of it that really stood out to me. Someone thought it was a good idea to cast Aleks Paunovic as Jamie, the plucky teen who has to struggle with his dark past and puppety adversary. In one scene, Jamie is a 7-year-old kid, and in the next scene, Jamie is a 50-year-old grown-ass man with hair up to his knuckles. All of his friends are in their 40s!
This could have been an easy writing fix. Instead of teenagers on Christmas break, make it grown adults on a friends’ Christmas getaway. Seriously, Paunovic was born in 1969, he’s 50 years old and trying to act like a 17-year-old.
Maybe that is the real message of Puppet Killer. No matter how hard we try to hold on to our youth and the memories of the good old days when we were carefree children; the march of time is ceaseless and eventually, our youth and beauty will wither away. Jamie tries to hang on to his youth in the form of a puppet, Aleks Paunovic and the other cast members try to look young by getting cast as teenagers, and I will continue to watch the Predator. However, the end result is the same. Our bodies will one day end up in contorted positions as the last breath passes our lips and we shit ourselves.
Before you die, check out Puppet Killer this week at the Blood in the Snow Film Festival in Toronto!
Born and raised in San Diego California, I grew up loving the action horror and sci-fi genres. The first R rated film I saw was Predator back when I was 8 years old. Aliens blew me away as a youngster and I made a M41-A pulse rifle out of paper towel rolls and rubber bands. I ran around for hours avoiding face huggers and blasting xenomorphs in my back yard and I am bringing that big imagination to Nevermore Horror.