We’ve been over how Brian Henson’s R-rated puppet-noir is criminally bad. Now, let’s dive into The Happytime Murders spoilers to discuss the ending that makes even less sense than puppets jizzing silly-string and pissing purple glitter.
Spoilers for The Happytime Murders below.
Set in a world where puppets are treated as a marginalized group, the titular homicides of The Happytime Murders seem like they could be racially motivated as they target the stars of a groundbreaking puppet TV show “Happytime Gang.” But race relations is just a red herring. Ultimately, this savage serial killer who reduced pervy puppets to ribbons and fluff is Sandra White, the vengeance-seeking daughter of the innocent bystander Detective Phil Phillips accidentally gunned down 12 or 20 years before. (The movie inexplicably offers both dates.)
Sandra first comes onto the scene as a bookish but busty puppet seeking help from Phil with a blackmail case. In a typical femme fatale fashion, she’s painted as a damsel in distress and also a sultry sexpot. (She says she suffers from “Ima” as in “If I’m next to something, Ima fuck it.”) It’s her note from an alleged blackmailer that leads Phil to the puppet porn shop where the bunny Bumblypants is gunned down. This kicks off Phil’s involvement in the Happytime murders case. Next, his TV star brother Larry will be murdered. And then (seemingly) every other member of the cast, each when Phil is suspiciously nearby.
It seems that Sandra set out to frame Phil for the murders of his brother and Larry’s former cast members. Forget that he has no motive. (A slight tweak of the script could have given him one, say if the “Happytime Gang” syndication deal included next of kin getting a cut of the payout.) The FBI asshole (Joel McHale) still likes Phil for the crimes. But it’s not enough for Sandra to frame Phil for a string of murders. She also wants all that sweet syndication money. And this is where the plot falls to pieces, much like Phil’s dog-bit brother.
At the end of act two, The Happytime Murders reveals that Sandra is actually the wife of human “Happytime Gang” star-turned-exotic dancer Jenny (Elizabeth Banks). And because all the cast members are dead, Sandra is entitled to the whole of the syndication payout. But if this was a part of her plan, she’d have had to have predicted that a ’90s TV show would get a high-price rerun deal, and that its contracts would include spouses, but not next of kin like Ezra and Cara’s shrieking incest babies.
In her final villainous monologue, Sandra taunts Phil that she set out to hurt him. So maybe she learned that he used to date Jenny, and set out to make him jealous by seducing and marrying his old flame. And then maybe the syndication deal came up, making for the perfect time to finally enact her long-sought revenge. But her booby-trapped secret room—complete with yarn walls—suggests that these two plans were entangled for years ahead of execution. Maybe Sandra saw that curse-spewing psychic on the beach? I’m kidding. It just doesn’t make any damn sense.
Then, her final speech makes all of this even more confusing. She tells Phil she started killing people to hurt him, but then discovered she liked killing people. So, presumably, her initial plan was not to murder every “Happytime Gang” castmember. But if her initial plan was less about the money or the killing and more about hurting Phil, why start her killing spree with a porn-addicted bunny who was—at best—an old, casual acquaintance of Phil’s? If she wanted to really hurt him, wouldn’t Jenny or Larry have been the first to die? And why did Jenny—who somehow escaped unscathed from the massive car explosion that happened moments after her kiss goodbye to Phil—go along with the serial killings? Was she truly seduced or so greedy she was complacent in the merciless murdering of her co-stars?
The Happytime Murders offers no answers. Just head-scratching questions about Sandra’s convoluted plan and contradictory explanations, and repeated shots of her velvety, purple-pubed vulva.
Header Image Source: STX Entertainment