Dollman v Demonic Toys (1993)
By: Paul Ryan on June 18, 2010  | 
Big Sky Video | All Regions, NTSC | 4:3 | English DD 2.0 | 60 minutes (Full Specs)
The Movie
Cover Art
Director: Charles Band
Starring: Tim Thomerson, Tracy Scoggins, Melissa Behr, Phil Fondacaro
Screenplay: Craig Hamann
Country: USA
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Several decades after Universal teamed up their stable of movie monsters - but still a little while before Hollywood pitted Freddy Vs Jason and Alien Vs Predator - Charles Band toyed with merging characters from his Full Moon Entertainment oeuvre. He'd already attempted something similar in 1988 with an anthology film called Pulse Pounders, which was comprised of mini sequels to Future Cop and The Dungeonmaster, plus an adaptation of H.P. Lovecraft's "The Evil Clergyman", starring the leads from Re-Animator. However, his then-studio Empire Pictures went broke, and the film has never been released to this day. But you can never keep a determined b-movie producer down, and so the fearless Band went about putting together a maxi-sequel to three very different Full Moon titles: the scrappy but fun urban sci-fier Dollman, blah Puppet Master rehash Demonic Toys and ultra-cheesy alien abduction musical – sorta – Bad Channels. And as they say, three is indeed a crowd…

If you really want to know the story, here goes: 13-inch tall alien cop Brick Bardo, still stranded on Earth following the events of Dollman, has learned of the existence of a similarly-miniature babe named Ginger (Melissa Behr). Shrunken down by an alien in Bad Channels (which this film contradicts, as Ginger was restored to normal in that film, while another character was left miniaturised in that one), the lonely Ginger welcomes Brick's attention. Trying to find them both is intrepid cop Judith Grey (Tracy Scoggins), who defeated the title menaces in Demonic Toys but knows they have now returned to life. The toys (a baby doll, jack-in-the-box, robot and action figure) have a midget security guard (Band stalwart Phil Fondacaro) bringing them hookers – okay, one hooker, as that's all the budget would apparently allow - to feed on in order to gain the strength they need to resurrect their demon master (got that?). With Brick and Ginger's size, and Judith's evident insanity (suspended from the force for obsessively hunting down the toys, she screams with total conviction, "YOU'RE LETTING THE TOYS WIN!!!!!"), the trio prepare to confront the Demonic Toys, in a battle that knows no limits, except for those of budget, creativity, imagination, scale, wit, etc, etc, etc…

Running just over sixty minutes – nearly eight of which are credits, another six consisting of flashback footage from the earlier films - Dollman v Demonic Toys is a really, really sorry excuse for a movie. The script by Craig Hamann (who ranks a footnote in film histories as the co-writer of Quentin Tarantino's uncompleted first feature, My Best Friend's Birthday) is totally devoid of structure, wit or fun, though having to follow Band's edict of cramming in characters from three different films doesn't help. Bugger-all happens in the first half hour, then something kinda does happen, followed a bit of running around oversized corridors, then a bit of action, then it ends. Watching a movie this desultory is the sort of experience where you look intensely hard for anything even vaguely interesting. It's like the Where's Wally of crap movies. Oh, those oversized kitchen props are pretty good. That David Allen-animated, stop-motion spider provided three seconds of non-boredom. Hmmm, I wonder what drama school Melissa Behr went to in order to convincingly express terror at being groped by a lustful baby doll? Honestly, while no one expects a movie called Dollman v Demonic Toys to be actually good, the last thing you would expect it to be is utterly, crushingly dull, but there it is.
Quite soft, and with a light patterning haze throughout, this looks about VHS –level. Ghosting is apparent on the credits, though colours aren't too bad overall.
Not a lot to report on the audio front, except that it is better than the video quality. The stereo track doesn't have a lot of life to it, but it is fairly clear.
Extra Features
All you get is an eight-minute making-of featurette, with enthusiastic cast soundbites (remarkably so, given the quality of the film they're talking up) and a look at the human-sized toy props. The narrator closes the piece by promising that "for all you Dollman fans, there'll be plenty more where this came from!" Ironic this, given that Brick Bardo never again graced our screens after this film. For those of you who may care, there are spoilers in here, so don't watch this before the film. Oh, and the clips from the film are actually of a better quality here than in the actual feature itself. Just how does that end up happening?
The Verdict
Movie Score
Disc Score
Overall Score
Even before considering the meagre hour-long running time, Dollman v Demonic Toys barely counts as an actual film. It's a feeble, half-hearted, half-arsed bore that feels like it was made up while the cameras rolled. It's not the excruciating experience the similarly piecemeal Zarkorr! The Invader is, but is still only recommended for the most dedicated Charles Band completists.

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