Written by Old Bluffer 19th Mar 2009
Written by Mr. Briggs Inc.
Neil Gallagher is the typical "man in the shadows" type character: A love for women, a love for power, and an obsession with discovering an ancient formula for resurrection prompting him to employ a group of fairly eccentric researchers to search for the thing and later marry someone for the sole reason of coming into ownership of a hotel where that secret may reside... It is also notable that Neil has been a corpse for the course of the film, and his former grunt researchers have been drawn to his funeral at the hotel he married into through sensing "foul play" (In this case, visions of being tormented by leeches and strangled by unseen attackers).
Seemingly totally unphased by and in fact expecting such morbid visions from their boss, the researchers drop various hints to the grieving widow Megan Gallagher that her unattached husband was probably not the good man she assumed he was. If his known obsession with his work, flashbacks of rape, and drunken smearing from a streetwise witch were not enough, the fact his corpse appears wearing a sardonicus at the same places where people are murdered should be a good indicator that the man was (or is) up to no good.
Before a major plot point is totally left out, said murders were committed unbeknownst to the hotel-guests by a group of puppets, brought to life by "the last living alchemist": an old man named Andre Toulon who used the formula to battle the Nazis. This was the secret Gallagher had been searching for, and it seems he found before his death. Despite some very strong suggestion by the film pointing to a zombie Neil, the audience is left to wonder whether the sinister events at the hotel are his doing or if the creations are somehow responsible themselves...
Megan, along with the final researcher, Alex Whitaker, a pudgy psychic too generic to want to see killed, discover Toulon's journals which suggest that he was quite simply a benevolent old man. A bit on edge from various recent dreams he has had of Gallagher wanting to kill his ex and his associates being dead, Alex frantically leads Megan into the hotel's dining room (Now eerily aligned with candles), where the two find exactly this: The corpses of the other researchers seated at the table with the killer puppets, and the more alive "corpse" of Neil smugly walking up to them.
"You're dead", Mrs. Gallagher cogently states.
"Yes I am," responds her husband, "I put a gun in my mouth and blew away my vast knowledge, and here I am: 'Dead'"
Neil realizes Megan does not understand the "metaphysics" of this, and asks his final colleague to explain it, only to find he is "getting slow" on him as well. With this, Gallagher explains that he killed himself, but somehow used the techniques of the puppet master to bring himself back to life, quite simply for the old motive of wanting to live forever.
Alex understandably does not want a person like Gallagher to acheive such a goal, though the villain makes it known that it would take "the total destruction of this body, something that you are not capable of".
At this point, Gallagher further cements his sleaziness, beginning with his kissing of the dead Dana Hadley (q.v), the witch who had denounced Neil earlier, and continuing with Alex asking the further motives of Gallagher's murders. Apparently Neil wasn't about to make the old mistake of letting one of the others learn of his discovery only to stop him in the middle of one of his surely evil exploits.
"Besides, I'm tired of experimenting with silly little wooden puppets". As if suggesting he was planning to experiment with his dead employees wasn't enough, he accentuates this with chucking the pacifist "Jester" puppet away, hard enough to break the cute little mechanism that spins his head parts around!
Naturally, this is enough to shock and offend poor Jester's murderous friends, though Gallagher goes on to explain that he himself was not the first human experiment, it was in fact Megan's parents, whom he explains he killed when they disapproved of their daughter's marriage to the "quick with women" Gallagher.
Not able to take anymore, Megan runs to attack her ex, only for him to shamelessly slug her hard enough to knock her to the ground. By this point, even the puppets are pissed at Neil, though Alex makes his move first. Unsurprisingly, this move is as easily countered as Megan's, only in this case Gallagher follows up by getting on top of Alex and repeatedly beating his face to a pulp. After a few more blows, Megan herself intervenes, smashing a flower vase over his head. This time, it actually stops Neil temporarily, giving our heroes enough time to get up and run. It's not long however, until he catches up and continues his virtual deluge on Alex's face. This time though, Alex manages to get a few strong hits in, with which he manages to kick Gallagher into the hotel's old-timey elevator.
This would be a minor setback in most cases, but here the door to the thing slams shut, not by Alex's hand, but by that of "Pinhead", a well-built, small-headed puppet, who Gallagher swiftly dismisses and throws to the side. The zombie tries to escape the lift, but realizes that the thing is locked, and that he is trapped with the big guy.
This is only a minor setback for Neil though, as he notes "I am the master... and you are the puppet", pulling off the stringless marionette's tiny head and tossing it away for his huge body to paw around for. Little does he know another puppet is in the elevator with him, the Tunneler with a drill on his head, who runs into Neil from the behind and tears into his foreleg!
Falling to the floor, Gallagher becomes more than a bit worried, asking the thing "why?" before painfully tossing it and getting back to his feet. Seeing Pinhead and Tunneler recover as well, Neil jumps up, grabbing on to the elevator hatch, out of reach of the two. However, despite this, Gallagher is not out of danger, as he finds "Blade", a skull-faced puppet equipped with a knife and a hook for wrists, the former of which he uses to hack the fingers off Neil's right hand, sending him falling to the floor, squirting the green resurrection formula from the stumps.
Now the torture begins; Pinhead holds Gallagher's head between his two beefy hands, Blade jumps from the hatch to impale Neil's other hand to the floor (Releasing the knife from his wrist), and Tunneler starts up his drill again, this time pushing it into Gallagher's neck.
By this point, Neil is feebly begging to "Talk this over", as Alex begins to feel a bit of pity for his ex-boss and attempts to pull open the elevator, to no avail.
With the baddy vainly promising that "Things will be different", the dolls continue their assault on Gallagher, now with the leech-regurgitating female puppet joining in. Blade uses his hook to pry open Gallagher's jaw, prompting Leech Woman to conjure up an especially large and juicy beast to shove in his maw, stopping his pleas and threats.
Despite being an unattached, murderous rapist, Neil getting drilled, bound, and force-fed evokes a quantum of pity (Or maybe just disgust) from his "widow", who tormentedly screams whilst crumpling into a crying heap, for the puppets to stop it! With their job virtually done, and wanting to satisfy their former master's innocent widow's request, Pinhead cocks back and with what sounds vaguely like bones crunching, brings Neil Gallagher's dead head to creepily face the camera.
Mr Briggs' Comments
I give this death a low score for the fact that despite the various things going on it does look a bit fake: Why wouldn't Neil use his other hand to bludgeon with? Why not flail his legs? I sure would have. Plus with all that going on it still was a far cry from "completely destroying" Gallagher's body. Was Neil exaggerating his own condition or was the budget just not high enough for anything more? :P