In the last few years we’ve seen writer/director David Goyer fall from grace; Goyer is, in a roundabout way, responsible for the glut of superhero movies which we are currently experiencing. It was Blade which fanned the dying embers of the comic-book-to-film sub-genre and brought about the renaissance we are now living in and his scripts for The Dark Knight trilogy, which made “gritty and realistic” chief accolade and later the most damning criticism of superhero movies, brought them capes well into the mainstream.
The first sign of trouble was when Blade: Trinity blew ass all over unsuspecting cinemagoers in 2004, but everyone was willing to chalk that one up to Goyer’s relative inexperience as a director and Wesley Snipes being an asshole. But then The Unborn happened, then Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance, by the time that people were underwhelmed by the junior high school concept of maturity on display in Man of Steel a re-evaluation of a cult cinema darling was underway.
Suddenly not only were the flaws in the man’s career very apparent, but people began taking note of the triumphs too. Blade and Blade 2 were laced with the style of their directors (Stephen Norrington and Guillermo Del Toro respectively), Alex Proyas and Christopher Nolan’s visually arresting flair and styles were only able to hide the stupidity lurking beneath the surface of the Dark City and the Dark Knight trilogy for so long. Then somebody decided to let Goyer speak in a place where microphones lived and his childish attempts to kick dirt on the rival cinematic superhero company only made him look like a grunting fratboy dick. If you have a minute, queue up the piano verse of Layla and read through his IMDb page and see if you don’t feel like you missed the signs.
There is however, one hit that they’ll never be able to take from David S. Goyer. It’s a movie that can’t be picked apart or dragged through the dirt because it lives there. Other movies adopted the dirt but it was born there, moulded by it. It didn’t see the light of critical acclaim until it was already a man!
After a sting operation goes bad Judith, a cop (Tracy Scroggins) who has just lost her partner/the father of her child, follows a criminal into a toy warehouse. Mark (Bentley Mitchum), a chicken delivery boy in the wrong place at the wrong time, and Anne (Ellen Dunning), a teenage runaway join with Judith in trying to survive and escape as four toys brought to life by a demon try to kill them.
They toys are Jack Attack (a killer Jack-in-the-box), Baby Oopsie Daisy (a foul-mouthed baby doll, basically a direct-to-video Chucky), Mr. Static (a laser-blasting toy robot), and Grizzly Teddy (a sharp-toothed teddy bear that grows to human size late in the movie.) Grizzly Teddy is the best toy in the movie and it’s a shame that he’s not used more (or at all in the three movies claiming to be a sequel to this one.)
I’m not even being sarcastic here, I love Demonic Toys. Had David Goyer stuck with this caliber of film rather than making his way up to major tent-pole blockbusters I think he would be seen in a much more favorable light than he is today. If he hadn’t dedicated himself to increasingly more gritty superhero movies he could’ve really owned the horror-comedy circuit, but some motherfuckers are always trying to ice-skate uphill.
Demonic Toys is the perfect Full Moon movie; it’s weird, it’s trashy, it’s violent, and it’s endearingly stupid. All the people disappointed by Puppetmaster were pretty much expecting it to be this movie (and most of the Puppetmaster sequels seemed to have used Demonic Toys as a template.)
Demonic Toys is everything I want from a Full Moon movie and it’s a shame that Band and crew weren’t able to make this kind of magic more often.
Watch, Toss, Or Buy? Definitely a Buy
If You Liked This, Watch: Dolls (1987), Child’s Play (1988), Puppet Master 2 (1990), Shrunken Heads (1994), Dead Silence (2007), Trilogy of Terror (1975), Blood Dolls (1999), Doll Graveyard (2005)