Saturday, November 28, 2009

Let's Have a Corey Feldman Christmas

Sometimes, you just need a little simplicity in your life. Thankfully, Netflix’s Instant Watch is there for some of those sometimes when simplicity can best be defined as 86 minutes of watching a badly punning baby doll battle adorably supernatural puppets and Corey Feldman.
I speak, of course, of 2004‘s Puppet Master Vs. Demonic Toys, a non-Full Moon produced direct-to-obvious-obscurity piece of lighthearted entertainment. It’s cheap. It’s cornier than Gatlin and I enjoyed--in, of course, a way only those with a well worn sense of bad movie ridiculousness can--every awful minute of it.
Quick Plot: It’s the Christmas season in an extremely sunny, albeit shot-on-video land I’ll assume is the backlot of a discount studio somewhere in Bulgaria. With powder in his hair and a Christian Bale spewed frog in his throat, Feldman plays Robert Toulon, the great grandnephew of the Puppet Master himself. Robert is a doll doctor working to infuse a few familiar puppets with Toulon’s famed life serum, aided by the help of his teenaged (um, sure) daughter Alexandra. 

Meanwhile, Vanessa Angel (channelling Carrie Fisher’s back-and-forth British/American accent circa A New Hope) is Erika Sharpe, head of a gigantic toy corporation whose contract with a demon named Bael is about to expire. Or something. Whatever the conditions are (they have something to do with her being a spoiled child who got everything she wanted, including her father’s soul sold to Bael), Erika decides that her trio of demonic toys--played by refugees from, guess what, Demonic Toys--aren’t nearly as special as Toulon’s quartet of Blade, Pinhead, Jester, and Six Shooter. Naturally, she plans on puppetnapping the four, sacrificing Alexandra to Bael, seducing Toulon, and killing all the children of the world on Christmas morning. 

The last part is by far the most promising. Sharpe Toys has issued three must-have gifts for the holiday season, although what child would want a Victorian baby doll that poops, a Jack-In-the-Box that strangles, or a teddy bear with teeth is never explained. Savvy early ‘90s horror fans will of course recognize the Demonic Toys as being discount versions of their former selves, but there’s certainly a way to consider Puppet Master Vs. Demonic Toys as fan fiction of one beloved and one mildly liked series. What’s even more exciting is the sadly underused Halloween III storyline, wherein all the sold and donated toys are set to greet the world’s Christmas celebrating children with massacre upon being unwrapped. (For those of other denominations, there is nary a mention of whether or not the toys were programmed for the eighth night of Hanukkah.)
The movie, you may have guessed, is extremely not good. Still, anything involving carnivorous teddy bears that finds a way to incorporate lasers is some kind of wonderful.
High Points
Who gives the best performance? It’s a tough three-way battle between Feldman’s eyebrows, Angel’s lips (which seem to be in danger of eating her face) and costar Silvia Suvadova’s bulging blue eyeballs
Erika Sharpe’s wardrobe is by the way, half the fun of the movie, starting with what I would describe as an exotic bathrobe paired with a sensibly pink pencil skirt. Formal wear? A Chinese evening gown accessorized with a dead flamingo’s plume and finally, her to-go dress that resembles Barbie’s 80s career woman look, or possibly the costume for an extra in How to Succeed In Business Without Really Trying. 
Low Points
Obviously, I wasn’t expecting realistic CGI or even Family Dollar budgeted practical effects, but Bael’s design made some of the lesser demons on Buffy the Vampire Slayer look frightening
Just because the actress playing Feldman’s daughter is probably around his age does not mean it’s okay for Toulan to ask “You ARE a virgin, right?” with a slightly too curious leer
As a child, I was genuinely freaked out by the nasty visage of Baby Oopsie Daisy in the first Demonic Toys. Because Puppet Master Vs. Demonic Toys didn’t have the full blessing and resources of Full Moon, the new foul-mouthed villain has lost all the icky expressiveness of his original look


Lessons Learned
Meeting the board of directors is not always a positive thing, especially if you happen to be a busty secretarial virgin

Note to Feldman: In order to outrun a fart-flying baby doll, it’s probably best to move your arms
Christmas morning officially begins at 6:20 AM Bulgarian time
Always flirt with the incompetent policewoman for minor assistance in your save-the-world endeavor
No money or effort should really be put into Puppet Master Vs Demonic Toys, but that doesn’t mean I’m not recommending a watch. Loyal Full Moon devotees will probably be disappointed by the utter fluffiness of the film, which lacks the darker edge of the early Puppet Master films and instead goes all out for campiness. Yes, it tries far too hard, but there’s something to be said for a Christmas themed, cheaply made horror comedy aware of its own silliness. Click it on for a Netflix Instant Watch when your brain has no business working.

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