Review: The Puppet Man brings sonic shocks to the Florida Film Festival


  • Image via Puppet Man Official Site
Short horror film The Puppet Man, currently making the film festival rounds (including a recent Sundance engagement), is part of this year's round of "Midnight Shorts" at the Florida Film Festival

The film directed by Jacqueline Castel (known for video work with Zola Jesus and Soft Moon) and produced by Sacred Bones Records, has the irresistible hook of a cameo appearance by legendary director John Carpenter. It even features a soundtrack largely built around the director's distinctive synth work.

The film is equally heavy on the atmosphere as it is tension, with lurid colors that wouldn't be out of place in an Argento film, and a finely-paced dread that builds before a bloody explosion. However, what really stood out to me is the film's use of the entirety of Bob Morrison's juvenile delinquent garage rock jam "Hey Puppet Man" during a pivotal scene of the film. The snotty primitivism of Morrison's voice and riffs meshed with the total slasher chaos on a level with the Cramps' "Surfin' Dead" perfectly soundtracking a zombie home invasion in Return of the Living Dead. And I mean that as the highest of praise. (Listen to both songs below.)

Puppet Man screens this Saturday, April 16th, at midnight (naturally) at the Regal Winter Park Village A.

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Orlando Weekly. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Orlando Weekly, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at

Orlando Weekly works for you, and your support is essential.

Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of Central Florida.

Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.

Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep Orlando’s true free press free.