Attack of the Puppet People (1958) – Friday Night At The Home Drive-In

Poster for Attack of the Puppet People (1958)Attack of the Puppet People (1958) by #BertIGordon
#JohnAgar #JohnHoyt #JuneKenney

A lonely, deranged doll maker invents a way to shrink people and turn them into living dolls.

“Terror Comes In Small Packages!”

“Doll dwarfs versus the crushing giant beats!” (huh??)

#Horror #SciFi

I’ve written about a number of movies by Bert I. Gordon, but Attack of the Puppet People (1958) isn’t one of them. How have I never seen this movie before? It’s the kind of delightful B-movie that I used to love watching late at night on Not Quite Classic Theatre all those years ago.

Bert I. Who?

Bert I. Gordon specialized in movies about giant creatures like dinosaurs, which he famously achieved by shooting normal sized lizards and making them look big. Attack of the Puppet People (1958) is kind of the opposite situation, but yet it makes perfect sense for Gordon to have done it.

Attack of the Puppet People has Gordon’s trademark touches all over it. I would actually say it’s one of his better movies. It’s a very satisfying story, and for the most part, it makes sense. That’s not to say that it isn’t full of campy, inadvertent humour – the so-bad-it’s-good effect, if you will. But you actually care about the characters, and you don’t feel like the movie insults your intelligence, repeatedly, the way you do with some delightfully bad movies.

What’s It All About?

A group of brownies visits a business called Dolls Inc., and one girl is told not to touch a particular set off dolls…

Later, a young woman answers a want ad for a job at Dolls, Inc.. Her name is Sally Reynolds (played by June Kenney), and she is immediately hired almost against her will. The old man who makes the dolls, Mr Franz (played by John Hoyt), seems to really like her – and we can’t help but suspect that he is already having visions of what she might look like as a tiny doll in his collection…

Sounds intriguing so far…

It’s hard to resist a movie about people who get shrunk down to the size of dolls and then have to figure out a way to defeat a giant, or rather, normal sized human being.

But why is it called Attack of the Puppet People?

The title is a bit of a misnomer… The puppet people (or living dolls) are not monsters. They do not really attack anyone. It is the giant (or normal sized) doll maker who is the monster, but he is actually kind of sympathetic in his own way. I’ve heard that the movie was called

What else do we need to know about Attack of the Puppet People?

Fascinating fact: On the evening of June 17, 1972, a man named Alfred C. Baldwin III was acting as a lookout for the Watergate burglars. He was watching TV in a nearby hotel when he became so engrossed in a broadcast of Attack of the Puppet People that he failed to notice the police arriving and warn his colleagues. The rest, as they say, is history.

So What’s The Final Word?

Attack of the Puppet People (1958) is without a doubt, #NotQuiteClassicCinema. But it’s that special kind of #NotQuiteClassicCinema which can be enjoyed multiple times over the course of a lifetime. I will undoubtedly be watching it again (and again), and I encourage anyone with the taste for this kind of B-movie madness to give it a shot on their next #FridayNightAtTheHomeDriveIn.

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