Jamie may not have had a conventional childhood but he had a loving one, his mother whom he adored having started the Christmas tradition of watching horror films, his best friend Simon who stayed by his side through his mother’s illness and decline, and who, when Simon was seven years old, killed Janet, his bitch of a stepmother who wanted to throw out his horror videocassettes.
Ten years later, his father Robert unable to sell the cabin, Jamie and his high school friends Jessie, Brooke, Curtis, Rick and Lee decide to spend the festive season away from the city, in the trees and under the stars, campfires, hot tubs, beer, drugs – though not Jamie’s prescription medication which he accidentally dropped – and of course Jamie’s favourite horror movies. Not invited is Simon, yet there he is, in a cardboard box in the cellar where he was abandoned all those years before…
Written by Kevin Mosley and Lisa Ovies and directed by Ovies who also appears briefly as Jamie’s mother Susan in the opening scenes, is fluffy pink Simon the Puppet Killer or is someone else pulling the strings? With direct nods to Friday the 13th, A Nightmare on Elm Street, Hallowe’en, The Shining and others as well as the broader play on the more generic killer puppet genre, the game is a slashed foot and played entirely for fun.
Curtis (Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency‘s Lee Majdoub) making the joke about a creepy gas station owner telling them they’re all going to die, it is Jamie (Sinners‘ Aleks Paunovic) himself who serves as the herald, warning them that Simon is dangerous, Cassandra foretelling doom only to be dismissed as his friends, surprisingly mature for teenagers, who understandably believe that this is just another prank of a weekend without adult supervision.
Teen slashers having a long history of casting performers markedly more developed than the characters they play, Puppet Killer is no exception; is this extreme version of the same intended as a commentary that children are exposed to facets of adult life sooner than is appropriate, that some people will never grow up – especially in the horror genre – or is it just intended to be hilarious, a bizarre and bloody spin on Dennis Potter’s Blue Remembered Hills?
Fully aware of the genre and how it should be played to best effect, with practical effects and copious blood, and sufficiently self-aware to never take itself seriously, the cast of Puppet Killer, which includes a twisted pair of uncredited cameo victims, play naïve teens and dead meat with equal enthusiasm in an enjoyable seasonal horror which wraps up in an efficient eighty minutes.
Puppet Killer will be available on Digital Download from Monday 29th November