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...
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...
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.
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
Full Moon Entertainment
Director: Peter Manoogian
David S. Goyer
Richard Speight Jr.
Pat Crawford Brown
June C. Ellis
producer: Charles Band
Original Music: Richard Band
Design: John Carl Buechler
Stop motion animation: