Puppet Master Vs. Demonic Toys (2004)

Starring Corey Feldman, Vanessa Angel, Blade, Pinhead, Six-Shooter, Jester, Baby Oopsy Daisy, Grizzly, and Jack-in-the-Box

Directed by Ted Nicolaou

Whoever wins, we lose.

I lose. You lose. Anyone that watches this film, they lose. It’s a lose/lose situation. There are no winners here.

Puppet Master vs. Demonic Toys is one of the biggest wastes of time I have ever wasted time on. It may very well be the single worst movie the Sci-Fi Channel has ever produced and that really is saying something. There is absolutely nothing even remotely positive that I can say about this particular movie going experience and mind you, I went into this movie with absolutely no expectations of seeing a good movie. I knew it would be bad but I was expecting fun bad. All I got was agony bad. Given the concept and the tongue-in-cheek nature of the movie there is no excuse for it to be this awful.

Charles Band had nothing to do with the production of this movie other than it being based on two franchises his Full Moon company spawned, which I assume is why they still listed his name in the opening credits as an executive producer. Or maybe that was the Sci-Fi Channel’s attempt to shift the blame. I kind of suspect Mr. Band is probably happier knowing he wasn’t associated with actual making of this total disgrace of a movie.

Say what you will about Freddy vs. Jason, Alien vs. Predator, and even Boa vs. Python but at least those movies gave their title characters screen time and when they were on screen they actually got to do something. The same cannot be said about Puppet Master vs. Demonic Toys because despite having the movie named after them, the overwhelming majority of the film deals with really lame characters involved in a really lame story that revolves around the puppets and the toys yet rarely bothers to actually include them in it.

The inane plot of the movie has to do with Corey Feldman playing a descendant of the original Puppet Master, who is picking up where his ancestor left off. He toils in his bargain basement doll hospital along with his daughter; the actress playing her appears to be only about five years younger than Feldman, trying to recreate Andre Toulon’s formula for animating the puppets. I guess do to budget restraints they could only afford to bring back four of the puppets from the Puppet Master series, or it might just be because they only brought back three of the Demonic Toys for them to square off with. The new secret ingredient to the formula is Toulon blood and within the first five minutes of the movie he has successfully brought the puppets back to life.

All the while Vanessa Angel, who plays the daughter of the toy maker that sold his soul to the devil in order to give his toys life, is spying him on. She has decided to follow in daddy’s footsteps in both the toy making business and the selling one’s soul to the devil business. She has struck up a deal with the demon Bael to help him bring about Armageddon by manufacturing a super popular line of toys that will be under almost every Christmas tree come Christmas Day. At sunrise, she will sacrifice Toulon’s daughter to Bael because he was the demon that brokered the deal with Andre Toulon and has harbored a grudge against his family ever since he squelched on the deal and possibly because he has a fetish for young virgin girls, or at least the blood of young virgin girls. The sacrifice of Toulon’s daughter will somehow allow Bael to unleash a horde of demons to possess her toys leading to them running rampant and eventually bringing about the end of the world. She already has three demonic toys to do her bidding, but that’s not good enough for her. Not content with just being the future queen of the mortal realm, she also wants to possess Toulon’s formula and his puppets in order to have a puppet army that will protect her from any demonic toys that get out of line.

Of course this means Toulon and his daughter have to stop her and proceed to do so with help from a pointless police babe and the puppets themselves.

Seriously folks, this is the plot. This movie has been in the works for years and yet this was the best storyline they could come up with to bring these two franchises together? Worst of all, it doesn’t even really bring them together.

I find it hard to imagine that anyone that tunes in to watch Puppet Master vs. Demonic Toys is doing so because they give a damn about the plot or the characters. We’re watching because we want to see the puppets and the toys kill people in entertaining fashion and eventually do battle with each other. The movie fails to deliver on both counts. Aside from a brief skirmish with some thieves in the opening act, the puppets don’t get to do a damn thing until the end of the movie. Aside from briefly victimizing a young virgin sacrifice early on in the film, the demonic toys barely have anything to do either. Except for the baby doll Chucky wannabe, none of the film’s title characters are given any sort of personality at all or anything to do until the end of the movie. Again, if the movie is called Puppet Master vs. Demonic Toys then why the hell are they playing second fiddle to the actors nobody gives a damn about?

You got Feldman doing this oddball Son of Flubber mad scientist routine that is mildly amusing at first but very quickly becomes tedious when it becomes apparent the performance is strictly one note, and a bad note to boot, and poor Vanessa Angel seems to be trying to channel the personality of a Power Rangers villainess and failing miserably. While they are the stars of the film, technically they shouldn’t be the “stars” of the film. The movie isn’t called Feldman vs. Angel, although it probably should have been since practically everything that happens in the movie involves them and not the film’s namesake.

The title of the film doesn’t even take place until the final five minutes and it is so brief and so poorly executed it will leave you sitting there wondering, “That’s it? This movie has been in the works for how many years now and this is all they could come up with? I’ve been sitting through this crap all this time waiting for the big showdown and that’s all I get? This is really all there is to it?” If you paid full price to see this in a theater afterwards you’d demand your money back and probably loot the concession stand just out of spite.

I have to ask; did they blow the majority of the budget hiring master thespian Corey Feldman? Does that explain why the puppetry effects are even less convincing than they were in the original Full Moon movies from a decade ago? Does that explain why most of the time the puppets and the toys just stand on the sidelines watching bad actors act badly? Does that explain why when Toulon gives the puppets cybernetic upgrades their new metallic parts look as if they are made of cheap gray plastic? I don’t care how meager the budget may have been or what kind of time restraints they had to work with, the f/x people responsible should be embarrassed for the shoddy work on display here.

Director Ted Nicolaou should be hanging his head in shame too for directing a movie as drab as this. The whole production looks flat, cheap and flat. What little there is involving the puppets and the toys is uneventful done with as little flare as possible. The fact that he had his hand in the scripting only makes his share of the blame that much greater. Ten years ago, David Goyer was writing movies for Full Moon including the original Demonic Toys. Today, he’s responsible for the Blade movies and writing the upcoming Batman Begins. He’s certainly gone up in the movie world. Meanwhile, Ted Nicolaou is still directing worthless garbage like this and watching it you understand exactly why he will be forever doomed to making this crap. It is simply staggering that anyone could make another “versus” movie involving Full Moon franchises that is actually worse than Dollman vs. Demonic Toys, a pathetic 70 minute excuse for a movie of which nearly half the running time consisted of nothing more than stock footage flashback scenes recapping the previous Dollman and Demonic Toys movies.

So what’s next? Seedpeople vs. Shrunken Heads? Bad Channels vs. Arcade? Beach Babes From Beyond vs. Test Tube Teens From The Year 2000? Where does it end? Hopefully, it ends with this movie. I remember reading a review for House of the Dead where one critic commented that the bullet time technique was officially no longer cool after seeing how it was used in the film. In much the same vein, Puppet Master vs. Demonic Toys proves that the “versus” genre is officially no longer cool.

Watching Puppet Master vs. Demonic Toys is like watching a dying cockroach turned over on its back, its legs flailing about slower and slower with every passing moment until finally it becomes completely lifeless. Only difference is that the movie becomes lifeless long before the closing credits ever begin to roll.

Just pitiful.

0 out of 5

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Jon Condit