Sunday, August 26, 2018

The sequel to three Full Moon classics is a disappointment

Dollman vs. Demonic Toys (1993)
Starring: Tim Thomerson, Tracy Scoggins, Melissa Behr, Phil Fondacaro, and Phil Brock
Director: Charles Band
Producers: Charles Band and Keith Payson
Rating: Three of Ten Stars

When the demonic toys once more menace the Earth, disgraced  police detective Judith Grey (Scoggins) recruits under-sized alien cop Brick Bardo (Thomerson) and the human victim of an alien shrink ray (Behr) to help her stop them once and for all.

"Dollman vs. Demonic Toys" is a film I've looked forward to watching for a long time. Seeing that it's a sequel to not one, not two, but three of the best films Charles Band has produced--"Dollman", "Demonic Toys", and "Bad Channels" -- how could it not be great?

As it turned out that it isn't great. It's not even good.
The biggest problem isn't that about 15 minutes worth of stock footage that recaps the three movies this is a sequel to, because, while the recap was full of extraneous information, some of the recap was useful, because Band ret-cons who was left shruken by the aliens at the end of "Bad Channels" possibly because it would be inappropriate in the extreme for Bardo to bed a high school cheerleader. The biggest problem isn't even the horrible rear-projection special effects that are used to make Bardo and Grey share the screen.  Hell, the fact that two subplots are introduced in the first act of the film that then completely dropped isn't even the biggest problem the film has. No, the biggest problem is that for roughly half of its running time, it's mind-numbling, teeth-achingly boring. Worse, it runs barely over an hour (including the typical drawn-out Full Moon credit sequences) and the first 30-45 minutes or so feel padded. Even worse, the character of Judith Grey is all but wasted here.

Yes... the sequel to three of the best, funnest, and most action-packed films from Full Moon is an almost total dog.

I say "almost" because if you suffer through the first half, things begin to pick up. Once the fight between Bardo and the Demonic Toys get going, we finally get material that is fit to follow in the way of the great movies that "Dollman vs. Demonic Toys" sprang from. During the final 20 minutes or so, we get the sort of action we should have been seing from the beginning, even if the special effects and doll animations are among the worst of any Full Moon movie. (Band smart to use actors in costumes for many shots, especially when the dolls fight we Bardo, because every shot where the toys are toys is pathetic in its execution.)

The Three Stars I am giving this film are entirely for the last 20 or so minutes, with a Star being knocked off for dropped subplots. This is not a film to go out of your way for unless your a fanatical completionist. If you are craving more Demonic Toy action, you're better off checking out "Puppet Master vs. Demonic Toys" (a film I apparently like far more than most other reviewers) or "Demonic Toys 2" (which, although it's not evident in the title, is as much a sequel to "Hideous" as it is to "Demonic Toys).

It is interesting to me that "Demonic Toys" has never had a sequel that hasn't been a crossover with some other Full Moon property. I wonder why that is? The original film had lots of sequel potential, I feel, especially if a film were to be made about Judith Grey's son.

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