Briefly released to theaters before reaching its natural habitat on video, RUMPELSTILTSKIN is no improvement on director Mark Jones' previous fairy-tale monster flick, LEPRECHAUN (1993).
In the 1300s, deformed baby-snatcher Rumpelstiltskin (Max Grodenchik) is transformed into a stone icon and tossed into the sea. In the present, the rock is purchased from an antique store by young widow Shelly Stewart (Kim Johnston Ulrich), whose policeman husband, Russell (Jay Pickett), was shot
by a carjacker. Her wish to see Russell again soon comes true when he appears in her apartment, and they spend the night making love. Come morning, Russell is gone, and Rumpelstiltskin appears; having granted her wish, he demands her baby as payment. She flees to the house of her friend, Hildy
(Allyce Beasley), but Rumpelstiltskin follows and kills Hildy as Shelly escapes.
After her car breaks down, Shelly is picked up by obnoxious talk show host Max Bergman (Tommy Blaze). Commandeering a tanker truck, Rumpelstiltskin pursues them, but Max lures him into a fiery crash.
Once Shelly and Max have left the scene, Rumpelstiltskin comes back to life and kills a couple of cops. Shelly and Max are arrested for the murders, allowing Rumpelstiltskin to steal the baby. Escaping from jail, Shelly and Max track the fiend to a graveyard, where they use fire, straw, and an
incantation to turn him back into stone, and Shelly reclaims her baby.
An inevitable coda shows the Rumpel rock being found by a couple of kids, but unlike LEPRECHAUN, this movie is unlikely to spawn any sequels. The legend of Rumpelstiltskin certainly provides the basis for a potentially scary film, but Jones and co-scripter Joe Ruby take only the crassest, most
obvious approach, seeming to make up the supernatural rules as they go along. Instead of a genuinely scary character, this Rumpelstiltskin is clearly intended to be a franchise monster a la Freddy Krueger, given to lame, tension-destroying wisecracks and much unmotivated evil laughter.
Given that the film was shot by Doug Milsome (whose credits include FULL METAL JACKET), the video release looks remarkably washed-out and grainy, and the low budget shows in other areas: when the Rumpel rock lands on "the ocean floor," it's clearly coming to rest at the bottom of a fish tank.
Despite good makeup effects by Kevin Yagher, RUMPELSTILTSKIN will unnerve no one except those who might be worried about an infant being placed in the midst of horrific situations. But they will be placated by a closing credit: "No babies or children were placed in dangerous or traumatic
situations...audible cries were added with imitation sound effects."(Graphic violence, nudity, sexual situations, extreme profanity.)
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- Released: 1996
- Rating: R
- Review: Briefly released to theaters before reaching its natural habitat on video, RUMPELSTILTSKIN is no improvement on director Mark Jones' previous fairy-tale monster flick, LEPRECHAUN (1993). In the 1300s, deformed baby-snatcher Rumpelstiltskin (Max Grodenchik… (more)