demonic toys | peter manoogian | david s. goyer | tracy scoggins | bently mitchum | dano cerny | charles band | full moon | comedy | fantasy | mystery | united states | killer toys | killer doll | demon | possession | michael russo | barry lynch | ellen dunning
Film: Demonic Toys
Director: Peter Manoogian
Writer: David S. Goyer
Starring: Tracy Scoggins, Bently Mitchum and Dano Cerny
This is a film that I will admit that I was nervous to check out. The reason is I really was a fan of this as a kid and watched it many times. This was one that I rented quite a few times from the video store. My nostalgia made me nervous that this film wasn’t going to hold up with this viewing. To get into it, a pregnant policewoman, her quarry and an innocent delivery boy become trapped in a haunted toy warehouse.
We kick off seeing a scene where there’s a woman sitting with two children. She is Judith Gray (Tracy Scoggins). There is a boy with fair-hair who is William Thorne. The other one is Dano Cerny. Something to notice is Cerny has long fingernails. The two kids are playing the card game war.
It then shifts to a car. Judith is telling this to Matt Cable (Jeff Celentano) who is her partner and they also live together. This is something that I don’t think would be possible. They are cops and they are also a couple. She reveals to him that she is pregnant and he is excited. Things get cut short though when a car pulls up. This is a sting operation and the sellers arrive. They are Lincoln (Michael Russo) and Peterson (Larry Cedar). Things go south when Matt can’t keep his cool and he shoots Peterson. Lincoln in turn shoots Matt and he flees into a nearby warehouse with Peterson. Judith checks on Matt to find him dead, she decides to get her revenge and gives chase.
Peterson bleeds out on the floor and this awakens something. There is laughing of a demon and the toys coming to life. There is a creepy wormlike Jack-in-the-Box, a Teddy Bear, Baby Oopsy-Daisy and a Robot amongst others. Judith catches Lincoln and then handcuffs him. The problem is they get locked in a room.
The security guard at this warehouse is Charnetski (Peter Schrum). He calls Mark Wayne (Bentley Mitchum) a local delivery driver for a fried chicken place who he has befriended. Mark delivers his food and decides to hang out. Judith fires her gun in order to get their attention. Charnetski tries to go back to his office to call for back-up, but he is falls victim to the toys.
It becomes a struggle to survive the night without allowing this demon to fulfill its true plan, which involves the dream that Judith is having and the demon needing a host.
After this viewing, I do have to say that this film does do some good things. I really like the idea of this opening sequence we get and how it plays into the film. When the two children are revealed who they really are and the reason they are playing war is actually pretty deep for a film like this. I’m surprised to see that David S. Goyer is the one who wrote this, but with the deeper meanings I’m not, as he is a famous graphic novelist and also penned some really good screen plays.
I also don’t hate the concept of this film. I like the idea that a demon possesses this warehouse and that the blood is needed to give him strength. This isn’t a new concept, but one that is pretty solid. I do think it’s funny to have Baby Oopsy-Daisy performing a ritual to wake it up, because it really isn’t needed. The demon used its power to wake up them, so it feels like this scene was to just to play it for laughs. I was also thinking as to why didn’t all of the toys wake up, but it seems like he doesn’t have enough power too. More of them do come to life later in the film after more deaths.
There have been others I’ve heard review this film hating the girls on the tri-cycles and gasmasks. I actually don’t mind it. It is quite creepy and I just take it this demon can do other things to manifest and thought it was fine for the tone of the film.
I have also said there are some issues here. An example of this is the wasting of bullets. There is a dumb scene near the climax and they are just shooting toys right and left. I’m sure this was a fun scene to film, but it was a bit too outrageous for me and also a waste of ammunition.
Pacing for this film is a bit interesting. The film has a really low running time. It is stated at 86 minutes and I will give that the film flies through it. The problem though is that there are some lulls in it where it does get boring. I think they focused a bit too much on other things instead of getting back to the toys. I do think part of this is that they were limited what the toys could do so that is possible a part of it. I did think how the film plays out and its ending is fitting for the subject matter.
As for the acting, it wasn’t great. I do think that Scoggins was solid as the lead. She has enough badass in her that she does good as a hard detective. I also think we get some emotions from her. Not a lot, but I believe her. Mitchum is kind of a loser, but I actually like him. He is really plagued by some bad lines and his deliver isn’t the greatest. I will give props to Cerny, who did a lot of films in the era as the evil child. I thought he brings enough creepiness to the role. Russo was a bit over the top. I do have to give props to Schrum and Celentano who are both fine in the film as well. The voice acting for Baby Oopsy-Daisy was funny, but there were some cheesy lines there as well.
Effects for this film were also pretty good. This was in the era of Full Moon films where they were actually going practical and didn’t cut costs. I have read there is a few times where you can see the puppeteer’s arm, but I’ll let it slide. I thought the toys all looked good and didn’t have any issues. I thought the blood and gore that was used was also good. If anything I wanted more of the mayhem, but I think they were limited in the kills they could do. They do get repetitive. I thought the film was also shot fine in my opinion.
Next I’ll just briefly touch on the score of the film. I thought it was also good. I didn’t have any issues there and thought it was fitting for the film. Richard Band did the score, who is Charles’ brother and a big wig with Full Moon as well. I thought his selections for this one were solid and the theme for the film was good.
Now with that said, I am a little bit nostalgia for that film. I will contend that even thought he concept of the film isn’t original I like it. A demon using what is around it to try to be reborn is good. Full Moon loved to make films about killer toys and that is their wheelhouse. I thought the film did get boring at times and really needed to tighten up there. The acting was decent and the effects were good. If anything I really just wanted more of the latter. The score of the film was also something that was good in my eyes. I would say that this film is cheesy, but I still find it to be slightly above average. If you like Full Moon or fan of killer toy films, give this a viewing. It is low budget so keep that in mind as well.
My Rating: 7 out of 10