Attack of the Puppet People (1958)

With the totally awesome working titles The Fantastic Puppet People and I Was a Teenage Doll, as well as the provocative UK title Six Inches Tall, this Bert I. Gordon auteur project — he wrote, directed and produced — was rushed into theaters by AIP to capitalize on the success of the previous year’s The Incredible Shrinking Man. It was paired with War of the Colossal Beast, which is ironic, as this film features that movie’s first installment, The Amazing Colossal Man.

Mr. Franz (John Hoyt, who was in everything from Cleopatra to Flesh Gordon) owns a doll factory and seems quite nice, but the lifelike dolls stored in glass canisters — his special collection — seem quite odd. That’s because they’re all real people transformed into dolls!

June Kennedy (Teenage DollSorority Girl and the incredibly named The Saga of the Viking Women and Their Voyage to the Waters of the Great Sea Serpent) plays Sally Reynolds, who takes a job with Mr. Franz. Before long, she’s gotten all into salesman Bob Westley(John Agar, who has a vast career from John Wayne films to tons of B movies and science fiction films all the way to Miracle Mile; he was also the first husband of Shirley Temple), which seems to upset her boss. Before long, the guy is gone — just when they were about to get engaged and move away!

Soon, the twosome finds themselves part of Franz’s doll collection, forced to act out Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Keep an eye out for Laurie Mitchell (who played Queen Yllana, the ruler of Venus, in Queen of Outer Space) and Susan Gordon, the daughter of the director. She’s also in his films Tormented and Picture Mommy Dead.

This movie is part of American history, believe it or not. On the evening of June 17, 1972, Alfred C. Baldwin III (in a nearby hotel as a lookout for the Watergate burglars) became so interested in the film that he didn’t notice the two plainclothes detectives who made the historic arrests that led to the event known as Watergate.

You can watch this on Amazon Prime. It’s also available with Rifftrax commentary on Tubi. You can also get the Shout! Factory blu ray release with a 2K scan if you’d like.

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