Saturday, 9 June 2012

Puppet Master Vs Demonic Toys

"Puppet Master Vs Demonic Toys" (2004, Ted Nicolau, Terry Kelley) is the 9th film in the Puppet Master series and the first cross over with the Demonic Toys Series. Definitely a made-for-TV film. And it's set at Christmas. And that should tell you all you need to know about it!

Ok, Ok, I'll tell you more :)

Robert Toulon (Corey Feldman) is the great-grandnephew (seriously...) of the original Puppet Master, Andre Toulon from the first movie. Robert and his daughter Alexandra (Danielle Keaton) live in a Doll Hospital, surrounded by toys which they repair. They're both kind of weird, like awkward children. I'm going assume that this was intentional.

Robert seems to have a bit of an obsession with bringing the original Toulon puppets back to life... Why, at this particular second, I don't know... but it's handy that he does because the Sharpe Corporation, an evil toy manufacturer run by Erica Sharpe (Vanessa Angel), are spying on him in order to steal his secrets and his puppets... and unfortunately his blood, because that's the main ingredient in the potion!

Erica is also quite childlike, but more like a little spoiled, bratty, girl. She kind of reminds me of Glory from BTVS, but that might just be her dress sense.

Robert and Alexandra work out how to animate the puppets on Christmas eve (ah, the magic of Christmas, bringing murderous puppets to life!) and explain to them that they are their new masters. The Puppets seem cool with that, and don't attack them.

Erica's recent line of Christmas toys are called "Christmas Pals" (damn original!) and they are alive. Well, they're demons inside the toys. The demons are there as Erica's misguided father sold his soul in order to please her with 'living' dolls. In order to control them, she has to sacrifice virgins (usually secretaries) to the demon Bael (who had surprisingly good makeup!).

The box said "Monsters, in-your-face-gore and breast-focused nudity".... there are none of these things, much to my buddy Jim's disappointment. It should have said "Evil toys and puppets, some fake blood and a secretary gets her shirt ripped open and her cleavage bitten by a demonic baby doll".... But I suppose that wouldn't have sounded half so good, right?

The demons are crass and rude, as demons tend to be, and Erica wants Toulon's secrets so that she can make obedient, yet nasty little guard puppets of her own. But she's selling Demonic Toys to children as she hopes to rule the Earth; as any modern business woman does, right? No?

After an attack by the Sharpe company, Robert and Alex flee their home and fix up the puppets with some kind of cyborg weaponry. The puppets seem pleased with this, which is good and well, else our story would have been cut short when Blade decided to cut up Toulon.

But the fun soon moves to the Sharpe company premises, where the puppets face off against the toys in a very retro-styled scene by special effects dude, David Allen, and Toulon seems to take 10 minutes to get past one guy to save his daughter from certain death by iron maiden (the torture device, not the band).

There's also a random cop lady, Jessica (Silvia Suvadova), who inspected the Toulon premises solo, decided she quite fancied a bit of Robert Toulon, and has since just been around, solo... Is it just me, or do cops usually run in pairs??? And how did she know where Toulon's ex-wife's mansion was?!

So who will win? The Puppets with their weapons, or the Demonic Toys with their teeth and apparently eye bursting laughs, I'm looking at you Jack Attack! Well you'll have to watch and see for yourself!

The special effects aren't great for a 00s movie. But the animation of Jack Attack is particularly good, especially when he, snake like, escapes his box. And I think the awkward, almost stop-animation technique adds some charm to the puppets and toys, as this is how I'd picture them moving! Also, I could get really geeky here and bring up the stop-motion master, Ray Harryhausen, and over-analyse by saying that maybe David Allen was paying some homage to him in some way. But then again, maybe it's just a low-budge made-for-TV film, and I'm just a SFX nerd... probably more likely.

Corey Feldman's Robert Toulon character is awkward and a bit nuts, but I find this entertaining. Plus, he keeps tripping over things, which I presume to be part of the plot, or else someone put the mark on the wrong bit of floor for him! He's also got that funny voice thing going on again (you know, the one Chrisian Bale is so fond of mimicking in Batman).

The plot is just nuts, the script is not the best, with lines like "What's the ruckus?" and a need to explain every move of every character, just in case you didn't think what they were doing was in any way to do with plot development.

And as I said, no nudity, other than Corey Feldman in his boxers, a secretary's bra and an evil corporation lady's almost boobs. Oh, and did I mention a particular lack of blood?

Also, Feldman and Keaton don't really look much like father and daughter. But I can assure you, he's about 33-ish in this film, and the pigtails she's sporting indicate 'young teens' in the movies, so I suppose it's ok.

But all in all, I laughed, Jim laughed and now we have something else to watch on Christmas eve along with 'Die Hard' and 'Scrooged'.

[Would you shake hands with Pinhead?
Picture: Sci Fi Pictures]

Hani