Meet Robert live

Check out
Robert Hood's
Shades series

Buy Immaterial:
Ghost Stories by Robert Hood at Australian Online Bookshop


Police operation gone wrong due to unbelievable incompetence. Dumb gun-runners. Shoot-out. Chase. Pregnant police woman. Old toy warehouse. Spilled blood reviving ancient evil. Demonically animated toys. Security guard. Chicken delivery guy. Run-away girl cannon-fodder. Toy attack. Gore. Naked breasts (one pair). Demon seeks corporeal re-birth. Violent climax...

Full Moon once again pursues the low-budget "small-thing" horror market, but with less success under director Manoogian than under David Schmoeller (Puppet Master), David DeCoteau (Puppet Master III: Toulon's Revenge) or Jeff Burr (Puppet Master 4, Puppet Master 5: The Final Chapter). And it is the direction that is the problem, I think (with help from a haphazard script). Miniscule budgets you can get away with, but Demonic Toys rarely achieves decent narrative flow, there are abundant examples of unintentionally idiotic behaviour, frequent awkward exchanges occur between characters who appear unsure what they're supposed to do next, and too often the action is simply clumsy. Don't you just love it when an otherwise agile character stands stock still and doesn't thrash about too much when attacked, just so the puppet eating his/her throat can get its teeth into the soft flesh and awkwardly hang on long enough to induce bloody death? Or when the heroine hides from flying bullets behind open shelving? Or when the demon taunts her by taking the form of her clearly-deceased boyfriend and (for the second time) she is fooled by the illusion enough to reach out to him pathetically? Need I go on...

To me, the scenario has reasonable potential. The claustrophobic setting -- calculated for cheapness, no doubt -- is nevertheless an effective one for horror. The actors are OK ... in bits (the bits where they know what they're doing). The toys are well designed, though there doesn't seem to be much that suggests Dave Allen's involvement, despite his credit. Allen's excellent stop-motion animation is, of course, a highlight of the Puppet Master series, and its limited presence in this film is definitely an inhibiting factor. (I do like the evil-clown jack-in-the-box though -- but he's the first one to get blown to bits!) OK, the dialogue stumbles all over the place and throwing in Miss July just so the naked-breast quotient can be met doesn't induce one to think that the script is under control -- not when her nude presence could so easily have been given some sort of narrative purpose, in particular by playing on the chicken-delivery guy's silicone implant obsession in order to lead him to a suitably sordid death (or near-death). But the story ... well... manages to achieve some sort of tentative logic regardless.

However, the whole thing feels flat and stupid and doesn't generate much suspense. It's a pity really. There are sufficient nicely atmospheric moments to suggest that something could have been made of this raw material. Unfortunately the material remains too raw, and even fans of low-budget Full Moon horror will likely be disappointed that it isn't a lot better than it could easily have been.

20 May 2004



Country: USA

Language: English


Length: 86 min

Ratio: 4:3 (?)

Production Date: 1992

Company: Full Moon Entertainment

Director: Peter Manoogian

Writer: David S. Goyer


Tracy Scoggins
Bentley Mitchum
Daniel Cerny
Michael Russo
Barry Lynch
Ellen Dunning
Peter Schrum
Jeff Weston
William Thorne
Richard Speight Jr.
Larry Cedar
Jim Mercer
Pat Crawford Brown
Christopher Robin
Kristine Rose
Robert Stoeckle
Crystal Carlson
June C. Ellis

Executive producer: Charles Band

Producer: Anne Kelly

Original Music: Richard Band

Toy Design: John Carl Buechler

Stop motion animation:
Dave Allen
Yancy Calzada
Chris Endicott

Effects: Allen Gonzales

Rating: 4/10

copyright©Robert Hood 2004

home - the latest - new projects - faq - bio - biblio - scribblings - obsessions - links

Contact Robert Hood: