DEMONIC TOYSMOVIE REVIEW
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Head Production Designer
JOSEPH CROSS, BRIANA EVIGAN,
Special Effects Make-Up
A SIERRA NEVADA
(MICHAEL MADSEN & JOHN SAVAGE).
Quirky is the best way to describe DEMONIC TOYS. Quirky is as quirky does and it can work well in comedy, but here it goes nowhere.
A woman has a dream where two young boys in a roomful of clocks play a card game. They both claim to win and then both declare war. It really makes no sense and the boyfriend of the woman tells her so. Then the couple, sitting in their car and waiting for someone, get in a light argument about their relationship. Then it turns out that the woman is pregnant. Then everything is wonderful. Then the person they're waiting for shows up and there is a gunfight.
And this could have all been done really well, but it isn't. The action is nearly static; the bad guys are giggle-y idiots, the cops go into a sting bust alone, without wearing vests, and without letting their department know. To make matters worse, when one is shot the other doesn't call for backup; doesn't call for an ambulance; doesn't do anything to help her partner, who is also her boyfriend, who is also the father of her child. Instead, while said boyfriend bleeds to death in the parking lot, the woman, Judith Gray (Tracy Scoggins: WATCHERS II, PLAY MURDER FOR ME, DEAD ON, DOLLMAN VS. DEMONIC TOYS, A CRACK IN THE FLOOR, ASYLUM OF THE DAMNED, THE STRANGE CASE OF DR. JEKYLL AND MR. HYDE, MR. HELL), goes running after two men into a storage warehouse.
This all happens in the first 10 minutes, so there is an awful lot of unbelievable nonsense thrown at us in a pretty short time.
One of the two bad guys, who Judith shot, crawls to a certain area of the floor bathed in spotlight and bleeds, causing Merry Mishaps to occur.
The next thing we see is a morbidly obese security guard (Peter Schrum: TERMINATOR 2) reading a magazine. It's his warehouse that all the action is taking place in, and he is wholley immune to the situation - he didn't even hear the prolonged gunfight outside. This is an early 1990s movie so as any Horror fan knows, this guy is going to get it. He's also a loser, and a foul mouthed eating machine, so he is REALLY going to get it. Big Time!
His food is served from a friend of his, Mark Wayne (Bently Mitchum: SOMETIMES THEY COME BACK, THE BORROWER, DEADLY EXPOSURE, FIRESTORM, BLOOD MONEY, HELL MOUNTAIN, NIGHT OF TERROR, SHARK ATTACK, NICE GUYS FINISH DEAD) who is also a local chicken delivery guy.
Meanwhile, Judith has caught one of the bad guys, Lincoln (Mark Russo: THE TOXIC AVENGER, JACOB'S LADDER, BODY SNATCHERS, THE BONE COLLECTOR), and finds herself locked inside a room - even though the locking door handle is clearly on the inside.
It keeps going on like this as foul mouthed dolls come to life, thanks to an issue that is never made clear until a smarmy kid (Daniel Cerny: CHILDREN OF THE CORN III), goes into way overlong monologues to explain everything that really doesn't need that much explaining.
There is an overwhelming load of silliness here as one ridiculous situation is trumped by the next; more than ample enough room for fun. Yet the fun never really materializes.
Who to blame?
Well, the movie was based on an idea by Producer Charles Band (LASERBLAST, TOURIST TRAP, TRANCERS, CRAWLSPACE, FROM BEYOND, DOLLS, PUPPET MASTER, SUBSPECIES, CASTLE FREAK), who is one of the kings of fun horror trash, having produced over 200 films in his lifetime. It's not like Charles hasn't produced crap - he has. But he is also one of the very few people out there who, like Roger Corman and Lloyd Kauffman, gives fledgling directors and writers a chance. The script was by David S. Goyer, who went on to write THE PUPPET MASTERS (Robert Heinlein's story, not Band's), DARK CITY, BLADE, and BATMAN BEGINS to name a few. He too has had his misfires, but overall the man knows how to write. Which leaves director Peter Manoogian (ELIMINATORS, ARENA, SEED PEOPLE), who, through a career spanning three decades, has never figured out how to direct a flick.
In a nutshell, all the good that could come from DEMONIC TOYS: creepy dolls coming to life, blood and gore, nudity, is all overwhelmed by a film that can't decide if it wants to be funny or scary and winds up being neither.
2 Shriek Girls.
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