As we all plan to enjoy Paul Rudd contract to an infinitesimal size this weekend, let’s take a look at another film where our protagonists view the world from shrunken proportions. ‘Attack of the Puppet People’ (1958) is a low-budget cookie-cutter sci-fi/horror flick but one that explores the colossal destruction loneliness can cause. The B movie is today’s Throwback Thursday, a look at sci-fi of the past.
If we’re really being critical, ‘Attack of the Puppet People’ is a very misleading title. First of all, there’s really no “puppet people” attacking. If anything, it’s more of an attack on puppet people. And if we really want to split hairs, technically the people aren’t really puppets but more like living dolls. In fact, they’re actually referred to as dolls throughout the movie not puppets, but now I’m just rambling about one of perhaps many inconsistencies.
American International Pictures churned out ‘Attack of the Puppet People.’ Co-founded by James H. Nicholson and Samuel Z. Arkoff, AIP manufactured cheap double-features aimed at scaring or titillating your average 1950’s teenager. Vincent Price and Roger Corman created their slew of Edgar Allen Poe-inspired films with AIP.
Bert I. Gorman, commonly referred to as Mister. B.I.G. for making movies that often have giant monsters, directed ‘Attack of the Puppet People’. Gorman often used rear-projection in his movies, where foreground action took place in front of pre-filmed backgrounds.
John Hoyt stars as Mr. Franz, a seemingly affable doll maker who works at the aptly titled Dolls Incorporated. After his receptionist mysteriously disappears, a young woman named Sally (June Reynolds) takes the position. Things go swell until she suspects that Franz may be turning people into dolls, one of whom ends up being her fiancée (John Agar). Although it doesn’t take much convincing to have Sgt. Paterson (Jack Kosslyn) investigate Franz, there still isn’t much of a cause to make an arrest. Unfortunately for Sally, she soon becomes another one of Franz’s playthings.
‘Attack of the Puppet People’ is definitely for late-night viewing but worth it for B film enthusiasts.