Silent Night, Deadly Night 5: The Toy Maker

02/10/2023 09:09

Film: Silent Night, Deadly Night 5: The Toy Maker

Year: 1991

Director: Martin Kitrosser

Writers: Martin Kitrosser and Brian Yuzna

Starring: William Thorne, Jane Higginson and Van Quattro



This is an odd film. Much like the one earlier, this is another installment to this franchise that doesn’t have anything to do with the movie previous. I remember seeing the title of this and hearing about it on podcasts. I’ll be honest, the fourth movie was solid enough so I was wondering what we would get here. This is also one that we randomly had at the Family Video I worked at.

Synopsis: an elderly toy maker and his son make killer toys designed to kill their customers, children.

We start this movie off in a house. Derek (William Thorne) is the son and he hears the doorbell ring. He walks into his parent’s bedroom, Sarah (Jane Higginson) and Tom (Van Quattro). They’re making love so they don’t notice him. He then goes downstairs and opens the door. There is a present with a note to not open until Christmas. Derek brings it inside and proceeds to unwrap it. This upsets his father who punishes him. He also sends him to bed. Tom notices that the gift is making noise and moving. He finishes opening it to find a red and green ball. It is a variation on the jack-in-the-box. This attacks and kills Tom, but it looks like a freak accident.

Sarah is understandably distraught. Derek too. The latter is traumatized to the point where he won’t talk. She tries to do what she can to break his shock, including taking him to a local toy shop. The place is call Petto’s and it is run by Joe (Mickey Rooney). He works there with his odd son, Pino (Brian Bremer). Joe is determined to find a toy that Derek will like. While they’re looking, Noah Adams (Tracy Fraim) sneaks in. He has a newspaper clipping about what happened to Tom and he is interested in this family. It is to the point where it is almost a stalker.

This isn’t the last gift that is dropped off for Derek. Another one is a pair of roller skates that have an odd modification. Pino seems interested in their house where Joe is trying to keep him in line. There are underlying things and issues that tie the Quinns to Noah as well as to the Petto family. It culminates in murder for this search for truth.

That is where I’m going to leave my recap and introduction to the characters. Where I want to start is the obvious elephant of the room. This movie is taking elements from Pinocchio. The first one that I noticed was the name Joe Petto. He is also a toymaker. This gave away something for me when I realized that his son’s name was Pino. We get a darker take here. That story has Geppetto loving his son no matter what. Joe here is hard on Pino and it contributes to the ending.

Now with that set up, let me go to the story here. I don’t mind it. There is a mean-spirit behind it like you’d get with Halloween 3. I love the idea of creating toys to kill kids. There isn’t much of it here, but that is the intent. The synopsis is a bit misleading as well. I won’t point out what is wrong with it as that would go into spoilers and I don’t need to go there for this review. To stick with this idea of killer toys, it made me think of an Insane Clown Posse song ‘Toy Box’. I looked up when that album came out and it is after. It makes me think that this could have been an inspiration there. To close out this part of it, I think we get a decent slasher that comes out after the boom.

Where I’ll then go would be the slasher elements. For these movies to work, you either need good characters or cool deaths. We don’t necessarily get either, but the creativity for the latter is where I’ll give credits. We have different toys that are coming to life and killing people. They are strategic early on that the deaths look like accidents. I can appreciate that to build suspense. I’m glad that this movie went practical with the effects. Part of that is the era it came out. The issue is that we don’t get enough killing for my liking since the effects look good.

The last thing then with the story would be the Christmas elements. This one at least acknowledges that Christmas is coming. It takes place in California though so don’t get snow. That is a bummer. This doesn’t embody it as well as others, but I’d say that it is better than other installments for sure.

That should be enough for the story so I’ll go over to the acting. I thought it was fine here. Being that this is a low budget, we just need characters here. Thorne is fine as the boy. They hide him a bit by making him catatonic for a majority. That seemed to be done strategically. I do think that he shows good fear and even growth during the climax to fight back. Higginson is fine as his mother. Fraim is about the same. It was funny to see Rooney in this. Him and Bremer are solid. We get a cameo from Clint Howard, reprising the role once again of Ricky. I think this is more of a nod to the other movies in the series. No one is good here, but they fit for what was needed.

All that is left to go into would be with the filmmaking. I’ve already said my piece on the effects. I thought that the cinematography was fine. I think having Brian Yuzna as part of the team probably helped even though he didn’t direct. Other than that, the soundtrack worked for what was needed without necessarily standing out. This isn’t a poorly made movie so I will give it credit there.

In conclusion, this isn’t a bad installment to the series. What is interesting is that this series did what John Carpenter envisioned for Halloween where we get stand-alone stories with the premise of being slasherish and around Christmas. I like the concept here with the killer toys. Basing this loosely around elements of Pinocchio is interesting. The acting is fine for a movie like this. This is made well enough. Don’t come in expecting a lot as this is just a solid late slasher around the holiday.


My Rating: 6 out of 10