Tunneler is one of Andre Toulon's puppets that he had created during the second World War in Berlin, Germany. Tunneler's soul was of a German man that was a friend of Toulon's who disagreed with Adolf Hitler's movement and was forced to work in the Nazi salt mines and eventually starved to death. Tunneler's personality is that of a cold-blooded killer. He's intelligent and capable of carrying out complex orders.
Tunneler's main weapon and namesake is a cone-shaped power drill replacing his scalp; he usually kills his victims by charging them head-on with his drill running. Tunneler is more of a follower than a leader, rarely acting first. Tunneler is one of the more deadly puppets and falls into the same category as Blade and Pinhead. These three are the muscle so to speak.
Tunneler was supposedly killed in Puppet Master II by Lance. In the scene, he was thrown at the wall, before being smashed with a lamp. He was later dissected after his killing. Despite these occurrences, he returns in later films.
Tunneler has a permanent smirk carved into his face and his eyes are black and are able to blink. He has puffed out cheeks, a squared-off chin and a hairless head with a chrome drill extending out of it. He wears a blue (or sometimes green) soldier uniform with gold linings and a golden star (or sometimes a circle) medal on his left pocket. He wears long black military boots and a black belt.
In Puppet Master: The Littlest Reich, there were multiple Tunnelers. Their face looked slightly different, it was much more thin and they no longer had a smirk. Their uniform was either black or blue and they also wore black gloves. Some of them had a red Swastika patch on their left arm and instead of a medal they had silver German Iron Cross buttons. There were other variants that looked like humanoid groundhogs with long claws, red eyes and wore a brown jacket with a blue scarf and a top hat that hid the drill.
Puppet Master III
Shortly before the events of the movie, Tunneler was a German man named Joseph Sebastian. Joseph was a slave that was forced to work in the Nazi's salt mines before he died. He was a good friend of Andre Toulon, who built a soldier puppet with a drill on its head in his honor and put the soul of Joseph inside of it so he could carry on living and be able to take revenge. Tunneler is first seen in Berlin in 1941 hiding in Toulon's workshop during one of the puppet performances. While Toulon is feeding Tunneler with the elixir to give him more strength he commented on how he is always the first puppet in line for feeding and that his appetite is bigger than theirs, possibly referencing that Joseph may have been starved to death by the Nazis.
A Nazi Lt. Eric Stein spied on Toulon's workshop and took photos of the puppets moving around on their own. He handed it into Major Kraus who ordered Toulon to be arrested for mocking Hitler and to reveal the secrets to his magic. After arresting Toulon and killing his wife in the process the Nazis left with Tunneler and Pinhead with the intent of experimenting on them. While Toulon is being driven away by the Nazis, Pinhead strangled one of them to death and Tunneler drilled through the driver's seat and into his back and out the front of his chest. The car crashed and Toulon escaped back to his house to reunite with the other puppets.
When Toulon arrived back to his house to find it partially burnt down and his wife's body moved to the morgue. Toulon then realized it wasn't safe there as he was an escaped fugitive and took the puppets to an old bombed out building to hide while the whole of Berlin were trying to track him down. At the hideout Toulon plotted revenge on all of the Nazis that were responsible for the death of his wife and gradually took the puppets to their locations to get revenge on them one by one.
At the hideout there were two other fugitives Mr. Hertz and his son Peter who were also hiding from the Nazis. Toulon used the help of Peter to sneak back to his old house and get him supplies for fixing up the puppets. While looking for the parts Peter was caught by Dr. Hess who lead him to where Toulon was. Hess informed Toulon that he had betrayed the Nazis and would help him escape, he also asked him how the magic worked. Toulon explained to him that all of his puppets use to be humans and were all given a second chance. When the other Nazis stormed the hideout, the puppets fought them while Toulon escaped. Tunneler drilled into the ankle of one of them which caused him to fall down allowing Leech Woman to spit leeches into his mouth and choke him to death.
Toulon took the puppets and hid at his house and put on the uniform of a dead Nazi soldier that Six-Shooter had shot. He then used this disguise to sneak into the Gestapo Headquarters and take his final revenge on Kraus. The puppets assisted Toulon in killing him by putting hooks into his body and stringing him up like a human puppet, then dropping him onto an axe. After this Toulon and Peter took them onto a train to Switzerland to escape.
Retro Puppet Master
Tunneler appeared briefly in the 1941 wrap around segments (although wrongly titled 1944 in the movie). While hiding out in Switzerland after the events of the third movie, Andre Toulon is telling the puppets a story of how he discovered the magic and how he met Elsa. He also explains how he made his original puppets, one of them being Drill Sergeant, an unrelated puppet that Toulon would later design Tunneler after.
Axis of Evil
Shortly after Toulon's suicide in the Bodega Bay Inn, Danny Coogan a disabled carpenter had inherited the puppets from him. After taking the puppets home he discovered the elixir and decided to test it out by injecting it into them and bring them to life. Danny quickly learnt that one of the Nazis that tried to kill Toulon was working as a spy at a weapons factory his girlfriend Beth was working at. Danny tried to tell her but she didn't believe him so he followed the Nazi to his secret hideout in Chinatown. Danny discovered that the Nazis were working with a Ozu, a Japanese saboteur who were planning to blow up the factory that Beth was working at.
After the Nazis caught Danny spying on them he ran away but they tracked down his address and killed his mother and brother and kidnapped Beth and took her back to their hideout as a hostage. Danny took the puppets to the hideout and unleashed them on the Nazis and Japanese saboteurs. Tunneler killed one of Ozu's guards by drilling directly into the top of his head. The puppets killed all of them apart from Ozu who stole Tunneler inside of a sack and escaped. Danny untied Beth and took the puppets back to his house to decide what he would do next.
Ozu was shot and killed shortly after escaping the hideout by Commandant Heinrich Moebius, the leader of another group of Nazis that were also hiding out in Chinatown. Tunneler poked his head out from the sack and killed one of the Nazis by drilling into his forehead but Moebius kicked him and took him back to his hideout. At the hideout Moebius handed over Tunneler to Dr. Freuhoffer, who was working on a machine that could resurrect dead soldiers. Freuhoffer was fascinated by Tunneler and how he was alive but his device would not work correctly so he extracted all of Tunneler's elixir out of him and used it in the device to make it work better but it still failed to work.
Freuhoffer then built four evil Nazi related puppets and injected the elixir, along with blood of four dead people into the puppets and bought them to life. Danny with the help of an American soldier Sgt. Stone would eventually track down the location to the hideout and rescue Tunneler. The puppets then fought and killed all of the Nazis inside and temporarily knocked out Freuhoffer's puppets. Stone was killed during the infiltration of the hideout and Freuhoffer explained to Danny that he was a hostage and forced to work under Moebius's control so he let him go unharmed. Freuhoffer escaped with the elixir he extracted from Tunneler inside a vial.
One year later Danny and Beth arranged to meet Captain Brooks in a secret location so that they could hand over the puppets and the elixir to him so that it could benefit the American military, but when they arrived they were both shot and killed by a Nazi spy. Shortly after this Brooks arrived and killed the spy and took the puppets to General Kip Hansard. Hansard then assigned Brooks to join Dr. Ivan Ivanov and a group of psychics working for the American military, who were using their powers to track down the location of a special unit of psychic Gestapo Nazis that were hiding out somewhere in California.
After finding a trace of the Nazis at a local power-station, Brooks decided to take two of the psychics with him along with Tunneler, Leech Woman and Blade so that they could investigate, but when they arrived they met the leader of their enemy's group, Sturmbahnfurher Krabke, who used his strong psychic energy to put two of the puppets into a slumber and turn all of their fears against them. Shortly after this Leech Woman vomited a leech into Krabke's eye which allowed everyone to escape and regroup.
In Brook's final mission he took Tunneler and Blade to ambush the Nazi's hideout where all three of them worked together to drill, stab and shoot seven guards and meanwhile Ivan used his powers to fight and kill Krabke and his assistant Doktor Gerde Ernst. After this the puppets were returned back to their trunk to rest as their mission was a success.
After escaping from Switzerland, Andre Toulon arrived in America at the Bodega Bay Inn hotel in California. Toulon used this hotel to hide from the Nazis and even cut a hole in the wall and made a secret hiding place for him to put his puppets in emergencies. He had a marionette poster on his wall which showed Tunneler and Jester being performed live on stage which must have occurred during his time in Berlin. The puppets then spotted Nazis arriving at the hotel and warned Toulon. He then hid them in the secret hiding place then he proceeded to shoot himself in the head so that the Nazis couldn't steal the information from him. Many years later in the late 1980's, a group of psychics worked together and tried to trace down the location of Toulon's puppets with their mind powers but they gave up as the task was too difficult for them. However Neil Gallagher, the leader of the group didn't give up, he traced Toulon to the Bodega Bay Inn and there he tricked Megan, the owner of the hotel into falling in love with him and marrying him so he could get access to the hotel and search for the puppets.
When he finally discovered where they were he bought them to life and gained their trust. He then invited his former colleagues to the hotel and gave the puppets instructions to kill them all and then he killed himself but first told the puppets to revive him with the elixir after they were all dead. He did this so that the other psychics couldn't pick up on the fact that he had discovered the secret with their mind powers as he didn't want to share it with them. Tunneler is first seen when the puppets are carrying out Neil's last order of killing the psychics. Tunneler and Blade spied through a keyhole on Frank Forrester and Carlissa Stamford, two of the psychics who were conducting a sexual experiment to see if they could contact the spirit of Neil in the process. Tunneler entered the room and hid under the bed which made Carlissa to look under it to see what it was, at first Tunneler hid but the second time she looked under the bed he ran at her with his spinning drill, killing her by drilling directly into her mouth.
Leech Woman then killed Frank, who was tied to the bed and blind folded. When all the psychics were dead apart from Alex Whitaker, the puppets revived Neil who told Alex and Megan the truth about what he had done. He threw Jester across the room which caused his head to become distorted then he explained how he was bored of experimenting with puppets and wanted to use the dead psychics as new test subjects. The puppets were furious after learning the truth and after seeing how he treated Jester. Tunneler spun his drill and growled at Neil, then the other puppets got together to take revenge on him. Neil had a fight with Alex which ended with Neil being locked in an elevator by Pinhead. In the elevator Tunneler drilled into his leg which caused him to ask why they are betraying him before throwing Tunneler at a wall. The other puppets then arrived in the elevator and tortured him to death slowly, Tunneler drilled deep into his neck. It is unknown what happened to the puppets after this, it is possible Megan became their new master or she sold them at an auction. The Action Lab Comics touch on it very slightly.
Curse of the Puppet Master
Many years after the events of the first Puppet Master movie, the puppets were bought at an auction by Dr. Magrew, a sideshow exhibitor in California. Magrew kept the puppets in cages and used them in performances on his ranch, in one of them he would demonstrate how powerful Tunneler's drill was by letting him drill a hole through a block of solid oak wood. One night Joey Carp, the leader of the local gang of bullies broke into Magrew's daughter's bedroom and attempted to rape her but Pinhead protected her by jumping on him and gripping his hands around his neck.
Joey managed to pull Pinhead off and threw him onto the floor where he proceeded to stomp on him which knocked him out and damaged his leg and broke his hand off. After this Joey got in his car and drove back to his house. Magrew took Blade and Tunneler out of their cages and followed Joey to his home. Magrew broke into Joey's house and released Blade and Tunneler into the hall where they walked towards a window and looked out to see Joey working out on a bench.
Blade accidentally knocked down an ornament which caused Joey to investigate, but the puppets hid and he didn't find them so he went back to working out. Tunneler then drilled him in his crotch while Blade stabbed him in the face repeatedly, killing him. When the local police found Joey's mutilated body they decided to raid Magrew's house to arrest him under suspicion of murder as a witness claimed Joey was heading to Magrew's house the day before he died. Magrew ordered the puppets to kill them. Blade and Jester stabbed the sheriff to death, while Six-Shooter threw his lasso around the neck of the deputy, Pinhead then pulled the lasso tight which allowed Tunneler to drill into his face.
Later that night Magrew then attempted to turn his second assistant into a puppet with hope that it will not fail that time. After successfully doing it the puppets disapproved of Magrew's method of transferring a living person's soul into a puppet and they turned on him. Tunneler drilled into his leg while Blade, Pinhead and the newest puppet Tank finished him off. It is unknown how the puppets got away from that area after this but they would end up at the Bodega Bay Inn.
Puppet Master II
During this time the puppets had no master and were extremely low on their elixir so they returned to the Bodega Bay Inn and used the last of it to revive Andre Toulon from the dead. When Toulon returned from the dead however he had turned insane and pure evil. During this time a team of parapsychologists were staying at the hotel to investigate. Toulon sent Tunneler out to kill one of them by drilling them in their brain so that the brain matter could be used to create an alternative elixir to keep the puppets alive longer. Tunneler sneaked around the hotel at night looking for an easy target but didn't realize that the parapsychologists had set up hidden surveillance cameras around the halls of the building.
Tunneler was caught on tape as he was entering the bedroom of Patrick Bramwell, a photographer working for the team. Patrick was passed out asleep in his bed from drinking too much wine and Tunneler climbed up onto the bed and drilled him in the middle of his forehead, killing him. Lance and Wanda, two other members of the team entered and were shocked to see a living puppet. Lance pulled Tunneler off of Patrick and threw him against a wall, he tried to climb away and escape but Lance hit him with a lamp numerous times which caused him to get knocked out and his insides damaged which lead to the elixir spilling out onto the carpet.
The parapsychologists then took Tunneler to a lab and began dissecting him and tried to figure out what he was and how he was alive. While analyzing the footage from the surveillance cameras Toulon entered the room and introduced himself to them. They asked if he knew what Tunneler is and he lied to them and told them he didn't. Tunneler remained dead for the rest of the movie.
Puppet Master IV & V
Several years after the events of Puppet Master II, the Bodega Bay Inn was under new ownership and on an off season. A boy scientist Rick Myers was staying at the hotel as a caretaker while he worked on his artificial intelligence project. Rick invited his girlfriend Susie to stay with him but she took her two friends with her, Lauren and Cameron. Lauren was a psychic that was able to lead the others to a storage room with the puppet trunk with her mind. Rick broke open the lock and took out the puppets. He had read Andre Toulon's diary about the puppets coming to life and decided to inject the puppets with the elixir to see if it was true. Rick woke all the puppets up apart from Tunneler, who seemed very weak and needed some extra assistance from Pinhead to finally be able to wake, possibly due to his injuries from Puppet Master II.
After he woke Pinhead patted him on the back as if he was happy to see him alive after so long. Rick quickly gained their trust and he chose Tunneler and Pinhead to test out some of his robotics equipment to see how intelligent they were. Rick attached a mini laser gun to Tunneler's hand and gave Pinhead a small laser gun to hold, then the three of them ran around the hotel shooting at each other with the harmless lasers for fun. During that night a strange delivery man took a package to the hotel. Inside was a Totem demon sent by Sutekh to kill everybody in the hotel for discovering the secret. Cameron and Lauren also unleashed two more of these demons by holding a seance.
The puppets fought the demons to protect Rick, and Cameron was killed in the process. Six-Shooter killed the first demon and another one was pinned up against a wall by Pinhead and Blade while Tunneler drilled into its stomach killing it. The last demon seemed to be the most powerful so Jester and Pinhead lead Rick to a hidden box under a shelf, inside was Decapitron, an unfinished puppet that Toulon had been working on. The puppets worked together to transport Toulon's ghost, which was roaming the hotel into Decapitron. Tunneler worked on attaching wires to Decapitron that were hooked up to a satellite on the roof so that it would be struck by lightning during the storm and bring life to him. After Decapitron was bought to life he killed the remaining demon.
The next day Rick was arrested for suspicion of murdering Cameron but he was quickly bailed out by the owner of the company he worked for Dr. Jennings. After Rick told Jennings about the living puppets, Jennings secretly formed a group of three thugs to break into the hotel and steal one of the puppets so he could use it in his robotics company and get rich. The puppets hid out of sight from the men but Sutekh had also arrived at the hotel in the form of a powerful Totem. That night Rick had a nightmare involving Susie being drilled in the head by Tunneler, he didn't understand what it meant but it reminded him to go back to the hotel to get the other puppets. While the Totem killed the men at the hotel the puppets attempted to track it down. Tunneler and Torch searched the downstairs of the hotel together, but did not find it.
Dr. Jennings then found Rick and hit him over the head with a flashlight so that he could not stop him from stealing the puppets, but the puppets caught him doing this so they surrounded him. Tunneler pointed his drill at him and began to spin it, then Torch shot out his flames towards him which made him fall back down an elevator shaft to his death. Susie returned to the hotel to look for Rick and to gather the puppets but the hotel had turned into a big battle ground. The puppets and the Totem were fighting in the main lobby, the puppets were being lead by Decapitron, who spoke to them from beyond the grave, giving them tips on how to defeat the Totem. After the long battle Decapitron used all of his energy to kill the Totem which caused the entire lobby to explode. Tunneler did not participate in this battle. All of the puppets were damaged in the destruction but were taken back to Rick's house to be repaired.
Puppet Master: The Legacy
Tunneler was very weak and barely alive by this point and was running out of his magic elixir. He was hanging up dormant with the other puppets at the Bodega Bay Inn's basement with Peter Hertz. Tunneler would swing from side to side briefly while he was hanging indicating that he was still conscious but didn't have enough energy to move.
Puppet Master: The Littlest Reich
Action Lab Comics
One year before the main 1989 events of the first Puppet Master movie, Neil Gallagher had recently uncovered the hiding place of the puppets at the Bodega Bay Inn. On Halloween Neil took the puppets to Pi Kappa Sig sorority house where he commanded the puppets to kill the college girls that were staying there so that he could see how effective each puppet was and also use the girl's corpses as new human test subjects so that he could perfect the elixir to work on humans.
The puppets then followed Neil's orders and started to kill all of the girls there one by one.Tunneler was found in a dark room with a note that said 'boo' on his lap by Skip, who was a boyfriend to one of the girls and then drilled through his stomach killing him. Neil was angry at how they carried out the murders and because all of the bodies were too badly mutilated, he couldn't use them for his experiments so he told the puppets that they would have to do it again another day
A few months after the main events of the first Puppet Master movie, Megan Gallagher had taken over as the puppet's new master and she let them roam free around the hotel and act as guards for her. During Halloween a teenage boy had broke into the hotel dressed as a demon to play a prank on her. The puppets attacked him and killed him as they thought he was a real monster coming in to kill Megan.
Then the puppets unmasked him and realized it was just a boy, so they dragged his body down into a cavern below the hotel to hide it. In the cavern were four of the boy's friends who witnessed the puppets dragging his corpse, so the puppets were forced to kill them too, Tunneler killed one of them by drilling through his chest. The next morning Megan woke up and had no idea about what had happened.
- Tunneler's original medal was circle shaped, but in the 2nd film onward it was a star.
- Although his uniform looks dark green in many of the movies, the original prop actually had blue uniform. He did however wear green uniform in the Axis trilogy.
- He has the ability to blink as seen in the original film.
- According to a trading card released by Fullmoon features and Action Lab Comics, Tunneler's soul is Joseph Sebastian, a soldier who was forced to work in the Nazis' salt mines until he died. (which is never revealed in the movies).
- Jester and Tunneler share the same hand shape.
- It is not known what artist Dennis Gordon based Tunneler's design on, a Fangoria article claimed that he was based on Benito Mussolini.
- Black tape or clay was placed onto his eyes on some scenes to give him more expression. One Tunneler head used in the movie even had the ability to close it's eyes when the puppet was leaning down.
- It took Rick Myers and Pinhead longer to wake Tunneler up in Puppet Master 4, this could be because of his injuries in Puppet Master II.
- In Puppet Master 6: Curse of the Puppet Master, Tunneler didn't wear his belt but Blade wore it instead.
- The action figure of Tunneler has a machine gun and a pickax, but he never uses them in the movies.
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