Starring: Tracy Scoggins, Bentley Mitchum, Daniel Cerny, Michael Russo, Peter Schrum, Ellen Dunning, William Thorne, Robert Stoeckle, and Jeff Weston
Director: Peter Manoogian
Producer: Charles Band
Rating: Nine of Ten Stars
Police Detective Judith Gray (Scroggins) pursues gunmen who have just murdered her partner and father of her unborn child (Weston) into a warehouse full of toys. When a demon (Cerny, voiced by Stoeckle) that has lain dormant for decades under the building's foundation senses her, it decides her baby will be its physical form and it animates toys in warehouse to capture her and kill everyone else inside. Will Judith, together with a teen runaway (Dunning), a hapless fast-food delivery boy (Mitchum), a lazy security guard (Schrum), and a mad-dog killer (Russo) be able to fend off the demon and his cute-but-deadly minions, or will she become the unwilling mother of Hell on Earth?
"Demonic Toys" is another highly entertaining movie from Full Moon's Golden Age of the early 1990s. It offers a perfect blend of horror and comedy, and it's a far creepier movie than the demon-possessed toys that are its main selling point led me to believe.
In fact, while much of the film is definitely played tongue-in-cheek, the concept of a demon seizing a woman so it can possess her unborn child is one that creeps me out just thinking about it. The concept is made even creepier in execution here, as the demon generally presents himself as a little boy (played on screen by child actor Daniel Cerny, but voiced with great effectiveness by Robert Stoeckle). Seeing a child talk about spiritual rape and murder is very, very disturbing.
The whole "demon replacing the sould of an unborn child" plot of the film actually adds some (perhaps inadvertently) depth and controversy to the film. Judith is barely one month pregnant, yet the film makes it clear that her fetus is most definitely aready a baby, complete with a soul that is looking forward to being born and experiencing life on Earth. Fanatical pro-abortioners should stay away from this flick, but those right-wing pro-lifers in the audience should check it out (at least those of you who don't mind foul language used with great comedic effect).
The acting in the film is good all around, with the aforementioned Robert Stoeckle providing a great demon voice, and Bentley Mitchum coming across as a young version of Bruce Campbell's Ash from "Evil Dead 2" as he battles the killer toys. Leading lady Tracy Scroggins has a tendency to chew up the scenery, but in a movie featuring demon-possessed killer toys a touch of overacting isn't that big a deal.
Other noteworthy players in the film are the toys of the title. They are more funny than scary, but that's intentional on the part of the filmmakers. In fact, the knife-weilding, foul-mouthed Baby Oopsie-Daisy (and its uncredited voice actor) has some of the film's funniest moments and best lines. The puppetry and stop-motion animation used to bring the toys to life are very well-done, particularly in the case of Baby Oopsie-Daisy, the killer teddy bear, and the toy soldier who joins the fray late in the film. However, as funny as the toys are, they inflict some very gruesome deaths on some of the characters, and thus give rise to some displays of gore effects that are as impressive as the craftsmanship involved in animating the toys.
This is a fun romp of a movie. If you're looking for some comedy-tinged horror that might even inspire a thought or two as the mayhem unfolds, "Demonic Toys" might just be the film for you.