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Puppet Apprentice

Since 1989, Texas housed a Nazi refugee who proceeded to murder undesirables using grisly puppets. Or, so goes the lore of Puppet Master: The Littlest Reich.

Still, Texas is the proper setting even in this horror fantasy, a state with often stalled social progress and where Littlest Reich’s depiction of lesbianism, gay alcoholism, middle aged comic book artists, and others don’t often feel welcomed. Littlest Reich doesn’t subscribe to subtlety given these characters.

From a geeky script featuring geeky people who sell comics to other geeky people, Littlest Reich reboots the lore, turning from a story where Toulon (Udo Kier) fights against Nazis to one where he celebrates Nazism.

That’s a shift, and this crass script isn’t sure of itself. Tonal footing is messy. Littlest Reich spends time with humor as much as it does referencing the Holocaust for drama. Meanwhile, puppets tear open the womb of a pregnant woman and take her unborn baby. Another decapitates a Mexican man, the head falls into a toilet, and the body urinates on the head. It’s a creatively violent venture, at least.

… a cheapie where the sensationalized gore effects act as a highlight

The loss in being disjointed comes from the casting of Thomas Lennon. His dry performance and comically timed humor counters the abrasive, show-it-all messiness of this mini-monster series. If there’s reason to watch, it’s him. In a script more conducive to comedy and wit, Lennon’s comic store clerk Edgar would fit. Instead, he’s an odd, far too calm protagonist with the mind to reply with sarcasm when needed. Also, given the anti-Nazi sentiment, an average white guy in the lead role is a grossly missed opportunity.

All of this comes with multiple instances of female nudity. It’s a throwback to Puppet Master and a pre-equality era. While Littlest Reich takes out its anger on Nazi puppets, the story itself is a male-led, pop culture & nostalgia-exploiting tale.

Littlest Reich is absurd, of course. Creaky puppets walk around the sets, incinerating Jews, stabbing them, or ripping off their limbs. It’s done with roughly half of the energy as any of the Child’s Play sequels; that’s not much. This is a cheapie where the sensationalized gore effects act as a highlight, weirdly turning the audience for the Nazis, so Littlest Reich can reach the next kill faster. How uncomfortable.

Video (4K UHD & Blu-ray)

Since the UHD lacks an HDR pass and Littlest Reich wasn’t shot at 4K, the difference between formats is negligible. There’s no reason to purchase the UHD aside from slightly improved compression parameters.

Littlest Reich offers a clean digital source, lightly dotted by noise if with limited effect. High clarity produces only marginal detail. Low budget cinematography doesn’t show off much in the way of texture.

Contrast saves this transfer. Deep, satisfying black levels meet up with a bright contrast for exceptional range. Shadow detail stays visible.

It’s a colorful production too. High saturation exaggerates blood effects. Other primaries reach comparable peaks and flesh tones stay neutral.


Confined to the front soundstage, a flying puppet will dash between the stereo channels as it kills. A few other discrete cues pop up as the puppets move about. Typically though, Littlest Reich stays in the center channel.

Both discs share a DTS-HD 5.1 mix. Restrained dynamics and limited scale action keep things quiet. Subwoofer use is non-existent.


A short, concise behind-the-scenes featurette covers the totality of the film, running for six mnutes. A look at the cast runs seven minutes. Two concept-to-screen features detail the puppets and the in-movie comic. There’s a photo gallery as well.

Note the features show up on both the UHD and Blu-ray.

Full disclosure: This Blu-ray was provided to us for review. This has not affected the editorial process. For information on how we handle review material, please visit our about us page to learn more.

Puppet Master: The Littlest Reich
  • Video (4K UHD)
  • Video (Blu-ray)
  • Audio
  • Extras


A reboot of the direct-to-video series, The Littlest Reich is a sordid throwback with an inconsistent tone that misses potential.

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