AVAILABLE ON BLU-RAY [REGION ‘A’ ONLY] AND DVD
RUNNING TIME: 74 mins
REVIEWED BY: Dr Lenera, Official HCF Critic
Brick Bardo hitchhikes to get to the town of Pahoota, where he tries to find a girl named Nurse Ginger, who was shrunken to 11 inches, to prove to her that she is not alone. Meanwhile, Judith Grey has been watching the Toyland Warehouse, believing that the toys that ran amuck a year before are still alive. A drunken bum enters the warehouse to shelter from the rain and is killed by a falling box of toys. His blood revives Baby Oopsy Daisy, Jack Attack, and Mr. Static, and a new toy called Zombietoid. Judith sees them, but is then arrested for breaking into a secluded building while serving out a suspension….
Okay, I’m sure that a great many people would class Demonic Toys and Dollman as rubbish, but I enjoyed them for their charm, their sense of fun and their attempts to stretch their meagre budgets as far as they could go, while both films [especially Demonic Toys] had a few scenes which were really done. However, within ten minutes of watching this half-arsed excuse for a sequel to both movies as well as another Charles Band effort Bad Channels [and maybe I should have watched that film too, though I made do with the synopsis on the IMDB], I realised that what I was viewing was simply rubbish plain and simple. The thing just seems thrown together in a hurry simply because Band [who’s in the director’s chair for this one] wanted to bring three of his previous films together. Apparently the Demonic Toys were originally going to appear in the same year’s Puppet Master 4, but didn’t end up battling Band’s evil puppets until 2004 with Puppet Master vs. Demonic Toys – and it won’t be long before I watch that outing as I’m soon going to wade through a DVD set of all 11 [so far – two more seem to be in production] Puppet Master films, though I’m almost dreading it judging by the low quality of Dollman Vs Demonic Toys, where it seems that they filmed a script that was nowhere near completed considering how there seem to be a lot of scenes missing. They also padded out the film with footage from its three predecessors – though it runs 72 [which would be 74 on Blu-ray] minutes, there’s nearly 15 minutes of flashbacks – while the demonic toys are a mere shadow of their former selves.
A brief intro where Tim Thomerson as Dollman virtually mumbles his narration informing us that he’s searching for the similarly diminutive Ginger takes us into an opening credit sequence that is quite artful in a way as we slowly pan out from a pair of glasses showing blurry images from either this film or its three forbearers [probably the latter], but it goes on forever and is clearly just a way to stretch out the film’s running time which is pretty meagre in the first place. Anyway, we rejoin Judith as she flashes back through some of the events of Demonic Toys, then follows an inebriated tramp into the Toyland Warehouse, and boy does the warehouse now look different, with far smaller, simpler sets this time which are very cramped. There’s a modicum of suspense when the man enters a room full of toys [lots of hideous dolls lying around, ugh!] before he starts goofing around on a tricycle and is knocked by some toys onto the ground where he bashes his head as he dies. The blood mixes with some other gloopy stuff, we see some electicity, and suddenly the demonic toys are alive, though Grizzly Teddy is gone, replaced by a new toy named Zombietoid – a blonde GI Joe-like action figure with a sword as a weapon. They boringly zap the man into nothing, apparently feeding on his energy so they can gain strength. Even more disappointing is when they do the same to a hooker later on. No gruesome demonic toy attacks in this movie, especially odd for a film that for a while was actually banned on video in the UK!
Dollman finds Ginger, blows away a troublesome spider with his gun, and they recap their back stories [more footage], before she makes bedroom eyes at him and they have sex in a draw until they’re interrupted by Judith, but what I couldn’t get out of my head is that, although Ginger says that it’s herself who’s been left at a doll sized height by aliens, in Bad Channels [if the synopsis is correct[, it was actually another character that this happened to. O well. The three decide to team up, despite some bickering between the ladies [Ginger doesn’t believe all this demonic toy stuff, how funny], and set off for the warehouse to destroy the toys once and for all. The stage is set for some mediocre gun and some very slow fight action, plus Baby Ooospy Daisy trying to rape Ginger, and then the thing’s over and one really feels cheated by such an incomplete-seeming film which skips several seemingly important details, like how both Dollman and Judith locate Ginger so quickly [it’s not as if she’s easy to spot is it?] knowing only the name of the town she’s in. It would also have been nice, for example, to see the demonic toys recruit the dwarf security guard Ray Vernon who helps him, instead of one line of dialogue only half-explaining the situation.
The enlarged props look okay but the demonic toys are extremely stiff and poorly sculpted, though I did enjoy seeing Jack Attack being out and about a bit more. Some briefly seen life-sized costumes had to be made of each possessed plaything: Baby looks awful, the others not too bad. Baby has a much higher pitched voice this time round but on the DVD [unlike Demonic Toys and Dollman it hasn’t been released on Blu-ray in the UK yet, and I’m so glad I didn’t import the more expensive American Blu-ray which apparently has a commentary from Band and Thomerson – you mean they actually wanted to talk about this crap?] I had I could barely understand a thing she was saying and she was saying a hell of a lot. In fact the sound recording is shoddy throughout, except for the gun blasts which are incredibly loud. No care seems to have been taken with this film: did Band really think that viewers would be satisfied with it, even as a rental? I almost want to admire him for his gall, but I cannot bring myself to do it. Instead, there’s an unpleasantly cynical feel to the whole enterprise, Band sticking his two fingers up at us mugs for hiring or buying the result.
The “don’t care” attitude extends to most of the performances. Scroggins is rather poor this time, and Melissa Behr possibly even worse. Thomerson sounds half-asleep: maybe he was. Only Phil Brock as an unnamed sleazy reporter and Phil Fondacaro as Ray seem to making any effort and they do liven up the few scenes that they’re in. Band’s direction lacks energy – in fact it’s surprising how slow paced this film is considering its short length. At least the recycled music is still mostly quite good. But really this is an extremely lazy piece of work which doesn’t even have the benefit of being amusing, whether intentionally or unintentionally. Dollman Vs Demonic Toys ought to have been loads of fun. It isn’t.