Depraved puppet lovers unite. This is your weekend to go wild. If you're adventurous enough, you could be enjoying a double feature of The Happytime Murders and Puppet Master: The Littlest Reich, with both playing at a theater near you. For those inclined to stay on the couch, The Littlest Reich is even available on VOD. But for many of you, with limited time or cash, just one of these perverted purveyors of filth will have to suffice. So which R-Rated puppet movie is your best bang for the buck? That perhaps depends on what exactly you're looking for.
Puppet Master: The Littlest Reich is a very gory horror slasher movie with some shockingly funny scenes. Happytime Murders is a raunchy comedy whose needle skips into a gritty crime noir groove. Both are headlined by two very funny people. Melissa McCarthy turns in some of her career best laughs in Happyland Murders, always playing it straight to her Muppet-esque co-stars. Thomas Lennon turns in one of his more dramatic roles in Puppet Master, proving he may be more suited to serious fare in the future, but he still manages to squeak in a few good laughs amongst all the viscera on screen.
Happytime Murders owes quite a bit to Peter Jackson's Meet the Feebles and stage musical Avenue Q. It isn't necessary hitting new territory with its puppet-themed plot that is very reminiscent of Who Framed Roger Rabbit? The story takes place in the seedy underbelly of Los Angeles. Two clashing detectives, one human and the other a puppet, must work together to solve the brutal murders of former cast members of a beloved puppet TV show.
As of this moment, Happytime Murders is certified Rotten on Rotten Tomatoes at just 22%. It has failed to ignite the imagination of most critics with its sex, murder, and puppets creed. The audience score is currently at 51%, which is still a failing grade. So most aren't enjoying Brian Henson's gross-out humor or nasty homicide business. Brian is the son of late Sesame Street and Muppet Show mastermind Jim Henson. He's not necessarily utilizing the muppets in this adults only fare, but he might as well be, as their look doesn't stray too far from what we've known almost our entire lives. Perhaps that's the turn off. Muppets are an innocent, heartwarming piece of nostalgia. And it's hard for some people to watch that get turned on its ass.
Longtime Puppet Master fans won't have that kind of disconnect when it comes to The Littles Reich. This reboot, which will coexist alongside the original franchise, gives audiences exactly what it wants. Pure puppet mayhem at its absolute worst. It's a greasy, big wet red slap to the face. And if you're not expecting what's to come, you'll definitely have the rug pulled out from under your feet.
The Littlest Reich is a pretty simple movie. A man takes a nefarious-looking puppet to a small-town convention for some quick cash. Terror soon strikes when an ancient evil animates the other puppets and sends them on a bloody killing spree. It takes exactly 27 minutes to set up the story, giving Thomas Lennon some comic book backstory and a girlfriend. Once these two, along with their friend, hit the convention scene, this sequel of sorts turns into one of the goriest, most inventive slasher movies ever seen. There's gratuitous nudity, flailing intestines, a baby being ripped from the womb, a kid killed by helicopter robot, and just so much more nasty business, even the toughest horror connoisseur might feel compelled to turn away. It's really something special in today's current social landscape. It has no time for safe spaces as it desiccates everything we know about good taste. It's a juice party.
Puppet Master: The Littlest Reich is faring much better with critics than Happytime Murders. It is currently certified Fresh at 70%. And let's not forget we're talking about a movie where tiny puppets being controlled by a Nazi slaughter various minorities in the most gruesome of ways. The audience was slightly less excited, perhaps because the movie is so offensive, giving the blood-soaked backyard carnival ride just 68%. But we have a feeling a few of those people didn't really know what they were in for.
Back in the day, I vividly remember quite a few R-Rated movies that appealed to my sensibilities as a kid. But I wasn't allowed to watch them, I could only sit at the window, wondering how awesome they were. But in the 80s and 90s we didn't really have these type of movies that look like they should be directly marketed to kids, but are made fora strictly adult audience. Happytime Murders, to a young set of eyes, watching a TV commercial at night, it looks like a kids movie. And Puppet Master, with its killer toys, has that same kind of aesthetic. Just like Ted or Sausage Party. Hollywood is really into making depraved kiddie movies that no one under the age of 35 should really be watching. That's because Hollywood is full of satanists who want to trick your kids into watching the worst stuff.
Trust me when I saw, you should keep your kids far away from both Happytime Murders and Puppet Master: The Littlest Reich this weekend. They are for your adult eyes only. If you're a true puppet person, you should probably find time to watch both movies. But it's easy to see that there is one clear winner here when it comes to which R-Rated puppet movie to see this weekend. That award goes to Puppet Master: The Littlest Reich, which has reignited enthusiasm for not only the franchise but for gruesome shock schlock and bone crunching fun. And in this time of #MeToo and Times Up, it's got a lot of bouncing boobies, which also proves that sex in cinema isn't dead just yet. And oh, that Charlyne Yi dumpster scene during the climax? If I was a chef, I'd be kissing my fingers to the air. True perfection. Happytime Murders just does not reach those kind of heights. The Littlest Reich wins this round, hands down.