You really have to hand it to Full Moon Features, they sure know how to make effective low budget horror movies. And PUPPET MASTER X: AXIS RISING works as a great popcorn movie, although so many cost-cutting methods are used to produce a low budget horror flick like this. AXIS RISING is also the most outrageous and fun Nazi sci-fi and horror flick since NAZIS AT THE CENTER OF THE EARTH, from The Asylum, another low budget horror brand that is also highly skilled at producing effective low budget films.
AXIS RISING is supposedly set in 1940’s California, where some Nazis have infiltrated the U.S., and have set up a base with a lab that is working on a regeneration method to bring back dead soldiers who can fight again. This involves a few elements that remind you of THE RE-ANIMATOR, as German scientist Doctor Freuhoffer is forced to labor under the cruel oppression of Nazi General Moebius, while the sexy and seductive Uschi remains the viewer so much of some character from the infamous ILSA THE SHE WOLF OF THE SS film from 1975, a truly great exploitation classic if ever there was one.
And, while the puppets from this latest installment in the endless PUPPET MASTER franchise are once again very cheaply animated, they are the good guys here, fighting a crew of evil new puppets created by the German scientist. This latest episode in the series seems to pick up fairly well from the previous episode. Blade, Leech Woman, Pinhead and Six Shooter are back again. But, Tunneler who kills by drilling into people’s heads, appears to have been killed in this latest installment, as his magic green fluid has been drained to be recreated to create a new crew of Nazi puppets that include Bombshell, Blitzkrieg, Weremacht and Kamikaze. But, at the end of the show, there is a strong suggestion that the German doctor will only create more new puppets as he saved a syringe full of the magic green fluid. You can also look for the likely resurrection from the dead of Tunneler as well. You can see another installment in the series coming all the way up Broadway here.
But, yet another installment is a good thing here. This series still has plenty of life, and this particular outing was pretty entertaining for such a cheaply produced film. Just from the previews, this looked like an entertaining and good film, and it certainly was.
Full Moon Features has now produced just under 260 movies, and along with KILLJOY GOES TO HELL, this is the biggest recent major release from this company, and one of their best recent films as well, even a little bit better than the latest KILLJOY film. Full Moon’s films are mostly effective and seemingly well produced despite their very obvious tight budgets. But, Charles Band, the founder of Full Moon Features has become an effective filmmaker, making films that are cult classics for some, and just plain entertaining to many others. Band was once a full time producer at Paramount, so he certainly has the experience working for a major film company to produce decent quality movies, and he certainly does. He should be proud of PUPPET MASTER: AXIS RISING. It’s a pretty good movie considering how cheaply it appeared to be produced.
The Bottom Line: An effective enough, and highly entertainly bit of sci fi and horror film genre trash cinema that makes for great popcorn entertainment. ** 1/2(Two and a half stars, or nearly a three star good film. But, that’s really saying something for this cheaply made, but effective enough trash entertainment film, that’s simply a delight to watch. Charles Band is a great filmmaker in this trash film genre of low budget horror flicks. I only want to see the next installment in this series. I can hardly wait. I sure wasn’t disappointed this time out, and will likely be just as happy at the next outing as well).