Kicking off in 1989, the Puppet Master franchise has earned 12 installments, as well as the crossover film Puppet Master vs Demonic Toys. The latest entry, Puppet Master: The Littlest Reich, serves as more of a reimagining of the series than as an official sequel, despite co-creator Charles Band giving the production the go-ahead and serving as an executive producer. The film delivers audiences an open ending, with Band detailing the directions in which the beloved franchise could go.
"I started in the late '70s, but you hope that it does well enough that you can find a way to make another one," Band shared with ComicBook.com. "If I had really had a really great crystal ball back in '89 and I knew we'd be making, putting aside the reboot, 11 Puppet Master films, I would've plotted it out a little better because we sort of just went one at a time and there were reasons why creatively and financially some of the Puppet Masters took a turn here and there."
Even if horror fans hadn't seen each entry in the franchise, the Puppet Master brand has become incredibly recognizable, with many studios reportedly looking to capitalize on the name recognition above all else. It wasn't until the concept for Littlest Reich came around that Band gave his blessing for another production company to move forward.
"What made this really unique is, because Puppet Master is the most well-known franchise, I had had some offers over the last six, seven years, and one was really substantial by a major studio for basically taking over and doing the remake and that puts you out of the Puppet Master business," Band noted.
"Because the way these deals always work is someone comes in and says, 'Hey, we wanna make a big remake on your lower budgeted series, we're gonna give you a bunch of dough. We're gonna spend a lot of money. And we're gonna essentially own the franchise. You can keep your movies. You can still distribute your old Puppet Masters but you can't make any new ones because we don't want you competing with our big-ass Puppet Master film.'
"When Dallas [Sonnier] came to me from Cinestate, and I already knew Dallas for a few years for just 'cause we were hanging out, he says, 'You know, Charlie, I wanna do a Puppet Master remake. We have a really cool idea. It's gonna be very dark and unlike those other offers you've been telling me about, we'll make you an offer, we'll make this movie and it's gonna be on its own separate track. It's gonna live in its own world. You can continue making all your Puppet Master movies and we'll keep making these if they're successful.' So it was very unique."
What this essentially means is that not only can Band develop his original franchise as he sees fit, but Cinestate can continue the events of Littlest Reich and essentially create its own franchise.
"I don't know if it has existed anywhere else where someone comes in makes a bigger budgeted reboot and lets the original filmmaker keep making his own Puppet Master movies," Band pondered. "But that's what's really unique about this deal and why I'm happy they've gone gonzo and did some crazy stuff, 'cause I think it'll bring attention, if nothing else, to the Puppet Master world. But their Puppet Master is inspired by ours, but different. In terms of the merchandising, which we're very heavily into, they'll keep making theirs if it goes well and we'll be able to keep making our Puppet Master series, so it is kind of unique."
As far as Puppet Master fans are concerned, the more films, the better, no matter who is producing them.
Fans can check out Puppet Master: The Littlest Reich on VOD and Digital HD on Friday, Aug. 17th.
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