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Demonic Toys Reviews

With DEMONIC TOYS, Full Moon Entertainment attempts to recycle one of its own most popular ideas with little success. Essentially a rehash of the company's PUPPETMASTER series, this film suffers from a hackneyed story and unimaginative creatures. The setting is an old toy warehouse where a motley group of innocents and not-so-innocents wind up being terrorized by playthings come to life. Serving as the key protagonist is Judith (Tracy Scoggins), a policewoman whose undercover meeting with a couple of thugs goes awry. Her partner and lover, Matt (Jeff Weston), is shot to death, whereupon Judith pursues the creeps into the building. One of them, Hesse (Barry Lynch), has been wounded in the gunplay; stumbling into a white-lit circle in one of the rooms, he bleeds onto the floor, resurrecting a demon that brings a group of toys to life which promptly attack and kill him. Meanwhile, Judith has caught up to the other punk, Lincoln (Michael Russo), and handcuffs him after a violent struggle. But as she makes ready to deliver Lincoln to justice, the doors slam shut and mysteriously lock, along with the windows. (Intelligence not being one of her key character traits, Judith fails to realize that she could easily shoot the locks off to escape.) Within moments, the toys in the warehouse begin to mass against everyone in sight. Among the potential victims are a hunky Chunky Chicken delivery man named Mark (Bentley Mitchum), security guard Charnetski (Pete Schrum) and homeless girl Anne (Ellen Dunning), who's been hiding in the building (and comes in handy for providing exposition). Judith soon finds out that she faces a potentially worse fate than death at the toys' hands: the possessive spirit controlling the playthings, which manifests on occasion as a creepy little boy (Daniel Cerney), plans to be reborn through the child she's expecting. (Not explained, of course, is why a policewoman who knows she's pregnant would have taken on a dangerous undercover assignment in the first place.) However, there's also a good spirit on the premises that takes the physical form of a tin soldier to help Judith out. As the supporting players fall victim to the toys and Mark goes about fighting them off, Judith is abducted by the evil spirit, which takes the form of the deceased Matt and ties her down, preparing to be reborn through her. But the benevolent tin soldier spirit intervenes, takes the guise of another young boy and fights off the evil one. Although it pours on its fair share of blood and gore, DEMONIC TOYS is rarely frightening, in part because the special effects by John Buechler are unconvincing and in part because the characters are so foolish. In a typical scene, a deadly toy advances on the fallen Hesse, who keeps his arm outstretched (ostensibly in horror) long enough for the creature to get a good bite into his hand. The toys themselves are a largely derivative lot; the wisecracking Baby Oopsy-Daisy comes off like an infant Chucky, the man-sized killer teddy bear is a straight lift from executive producer Charles Band's earlier--and far superior--DOLLS and the design of a vicious jack-in-the-box is a direct steal from the Chiodo Bros.' KILLER KLOWNS FROM OUTER SPACE. Just how a jack-in-the-box (which one presumes would have to remain pretty stationary) could be a legitimate threat is one of the many questions never convincingly resolved by director Peter Manoogian and screenwriter David S. Goyer; they simply run through a bunch of stock horror situations which are neither scary nor campily entertaining. The actors fight a losing battle with their simplistic, largely obnoxious roles and dumb, carelessly obscene dialogue (sample exchange: "Is that a cigarette in your mouth?" "No, it's your dick!"); Scoggins (TIME BOMB, PLAY MURDER FOR ME) is especially unconvincing as the overglamorous policewoman who gives new meaning to the term "model officer." (Violence, profanity.)