As fans of marionette-based murder are well aware, we’re now 12 movies deep on the Puppet Master series, the long-running B-movie franchise that started with a direct-to-video installment in 1989, and has since descended into an endless succession of demonic sequels and Nazi-fighting prequels that still somehow managed to scare us pretty badly when we were kids. (The leech-spitting lady puppet probably didn’t help.) Due in part to their typically abysmal budget (and the fact that the knife-wielding murder puppets are the real stars of the show), you don’t usually think of things like “actors I’ve heard of before” when it comes to the cast of a Puppet Master movie; this is a franchise where Corey Feldman—from 2004’s crossover Puppet Master vs Demonic Toys—is a big-name get.
So it’s kind of crazy to see Variety report on the casting of the 13th Puppet Master movie (Puppet Master: The Littlest Reich, ugh), and find that Thomas Lennon, Udo Kier, and Charlene Yi will all be starring in the film. (Admittedly, Udo Kier will be in pretty much anything, but he’s still a caliber of actor way higher than anything Puppet Master can normally field.) Lennon currently stars on CBS’s The Odd Couple, while YI—probably best known for her role in the 2009 romantic comedy Paper Heart—has recurring voice acting roles on shows like We Bare Bears and Steven Universe.
The movie’s getting a weirdly powerful injection of talent behind the camera, too; Bone Tomahawk’s S. Craig Zahler has written the script, which centers on the actually ingenious idea of the Puppet Master puppets invading a collectibles convention. Lennon will apparently star, as a collector who’s lethally excited to get his hands on an original mint-condition “Blade,” the signature puppet of the franchise’s killer menagerie. Sonny Laguna and Tommy Wiklund, who made a name for themselves as the directors of the Swedish zombie film Wither, are set to direct, while series shepherd (and frequent director) Charles Band will executive produce.