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Puppet Master: The Littlest Reich trailer teases a uniquely crazy horror sequel

Either this is a trailer for the new Puppet Master movie, or Toy Story 4 is taking an unprecedentedly dark, disgusting turn. We've gotta watch it again, because y'know what? We're not sure.

On second glace, this does indeed appear to be the first trailer for Puppet Master: The Littlest Reich, the twelfth movie in the Puppet Master franchise of horror movies. In retrospect, all the blood and murder on display should've been a bit of a clue.

In case you're not all caught up on your Puppet Master mythology, the basics of the tale are pretty simple. The story focuses on a renowned puppeteer named Andre Toulon whose creations have been gifted life thanks to a magic spell. Sometimes they kill people, and sometimes they're cool — but it looks like they're definitely killing people in this one. Also, the toys are Nazis.

Considering that the Nazis have previously been villains in the Puppet Master series, this would seem to be a plot turn that stands in opposition to established Puppet Master canon. We all know this. But that seeming defiance of established series lore is apparently the point. 

The Littlest Reich is being pitched as a reboot of sorts to the Puppet Master franchise, taking place in an alternate reality to the other films in the series, the continuity of which has become something of a contradictory mess — the way of all horror franchises, truly. 

The story of The Littlest Reich specifically focuses on a recently-divorced man returning to his childhood home where he discovers an eerie old doll, which he decides to sell at an auction after a road trip with some friends. When they reach the convention where the auction will take place, they discover that their doll — as well as many, many others — are effectively alive, driven by an ancient evil to slaughter everyone in sight. It sounds fun! And unlike just about every other movie in the Puppet Master series to date, it's actually notching some pretty enthusiastic reviews.

Puppet Master: The Littlest Reich stars comedy mainstays like Thomas Lennon and Charlyne Yi, as well as Udo Kier, Michael Paré, and Barbara Crampton. It was written by Craig Zahler, who previously wrote and directed Brawl in Cell Block 99 and the cult favorite horror western Bone Tomahawk, and co-directed by the filmmaking team of Sonny Laguna and Tommy Wiklund. It's being produced in part by the revived Fangoria brand, and looks fittingly to be a quite self-aware new take on the typically straight-to-VHS Puppet Master series. It might look trashy, but it seems that it's trying to be trashy. We kind of like that sort of thing.

Puppet Master: The Littlest Reich will be released simultaneously in select theaters and on streaming on August 17.