Demonic Toys: The Official Nerfed Llamas Review – a Pregnant Woman Should Be More Careful!
The month of May, better known as Full Moon Features month here at Nerfed Llamas keeps on bringing you new reviews for your favorite b-movie studio. After my last review slipped into the semi-erotic, now I feel it’s time to slide on into the full blown-psychotic! In previous reviews for Bad Channels and Dollman, I had mentioned that they all happened within a shared movie universe with one more flick: Demonic Toys! As I work my way to the sequel that has all three films collapsing into one mega movie, it seemed like a fantastic time to rediscover the final set up film in the set. Murderous toys are a big theme at Full Moon Features with their 10 Puppet Master films as well as a slew of other similar titles like Ragdoll, Doll Graveyard, and Blood Dolls. Honestly, they make for a lot of campy/creepy fun, so we’re in for something special today.
What is Demonic Toys: Demonic Toys is the bizarre story of an undercover police bust gone horribly wrong. What should have been a simple arrest for officers Gray and Cable, winds up a shoot out that leaves Cable dead and Gray chasing the perps into the Arcadia Toys warehouse after hours. Devastated by the loss of her partner, Gray not only has to find and arrest the gun dealers, but as she ventures deeper into the warehouse she soon learns that the criminals are not the most dangerous thing lurking in the shadows of this toy warehouse. Written by David S. Goyer (Christopher Nolan’s Batman Trilogy), and directed by Peter Manoogian (Enemy Territory, The Dungeonmaster), Demonic Toys stars Tracy Scoggins (Dallas, Babylon 5), Bentley Mitchum (The Man In the Moon, Sometimes They Come Back), Daniel Cerny (Fearless, Doc Hollywood), Michael Russo (Barb Wire, My Fellow Americans), Barry Lynch (Pentathlon, The Call of Cthuhlu), Ellen Dunning (Elvira: Mistress of the Dark, Batman & Robin), Peter Schrum (Trancers!, Terminator 2: Judgement Day), Jeff Weston (American Ninja 2: the Confrontation, The Player), Richard Speight (Justified, Supernatural), Larry Cedar (Constantine, Community), and Pat Crawford Brown (Sister Act, Desperate Housewives).
What I Liked: Clearly, you can’t go into a movie like Demonic Toys without noticing the puppetry necessary to pull a film like this off. My hats off to the extraordinary team behind the look and the motion of the murderous toys. A mixture of practical puppetry, animatronics, and stop motion animation was used to make these little monstrosities come to life, and the effect is a ton of fun to watch. Whereas most will note that the effect is not as good as modern CGI practices, that argument shows a lack of understanding for how films were made before CGI became the norm, and it also shows a lack of respect for the men and women that busted their ass to make the toys look and feel like they were a living part of the movie. The work here is top notch low budget effects wizardry.
Tracy Scoggins carries this movie on her back with a wonderful dramatic performance. For such a silly concept for a movie, murderous toys hunting and killing down humans that are trapped in their warehouse, Scoggins commits to it! Her character is dealing with a lot, loss of partner (who was also her lover), recently discovered she was pregnant, criminals trying to kill her, and evil toys that are most definitely trying to kill her (where was this level of complexity in the script for Man of Steel, Mr. Goyer?). All of it factors into her performance, and the experience wears her down over time. It’s written all over her face. It’s always fun to watch an actor go all in, even on something as outlandish as Demonic Toys, and Tracy Scoggins delivers in a huge way.
Also, I’d like to give a special thanks to Bentley Mitchum and Daniel Cerny for totally nailing their roles as well. Bentley portrays Mark, a fast food clerk just out delivering food to the guard at the warehouse. When Mark gets trapped there with the fiendishly evil toys, he goes from panicking slacker to reluctant survivalist hero fairly quickly. The transformation is natural and well performed by Mr. Mitchum. Daniel Cerny gets the bizarre task of being a demon child, and a thumping mean one at that. Like Damien on a torture porn kick, the “kid” speaks in a deeper demonic voice and controls the whole twisted scenario, making sure to bend each character to his will whenever he sees fit to do so. Both actors showed incredible dedication to the movie and deserve credit for their effort.
The creativity behind the script, the visual design, and the elaborate ways in which the toys take out the humans is something that has to be seen. There are some pretty crazy things, stunts and effects that are pulled off fairly deftly in Demonic Toys. Not only are the action scenes intense, but the overall visual design is excellent as well. Dream like sequences with heavy symbolism and bloody death sequences are the bread and butter here. If you are a fan of the macabre, this film will definitely be in your wheelhouse.
What I Didn’t Like: Not much comes to mind here. I already knew that I was walking into an over-the-top shock horror style movie, so I wasn’t necessarily expecting a deep and twisting plot, just enough story to trap everyone in the slaughter box and then see who all gets to escape. If anything, the music was a tad generic, with the usual b-movie synths droning on in the background, but the rest of the movie more than makes up for that. As b-movies go, this one doesn’t have any major issues.
Bottom Line: If you are a fan of evil possessed toys and twisted macabre stories, you will certainly enjoy watching Demonic Toys. It is a straightforward bloody mess of a horror film with bits of black humor and disturbing imagery thrown in for safe measure. The actors do a good job with the material that they have, and the production team really make the toys come to gruesome life. Fans of Puppet Master will feel right at home with this flick. Ultimately, if you are a Full Moon Features aficionado, this movie will appeal to you greatly as it represents many of the better qualities of their wonderfully bizarre low budget films.
Check out the trailer for Demonic Toys and see if this is warehouse you wouldn’t mind being trapped in: