Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Dollman vs. Demonic Toys

After watching a really, really good movie, I sometimes make a conscious decision to watch something that is just awful, kind of like a cinematic palette cleanser.  Now, I would like to draw your attention to this film's title.  Yes, this is a "versus" movie.  Yes, that means that the characters are from other movies.  In fact, there are characters from three different movies in Dollman vs. Demonic Toys.  The first, obviously, is Dollman.
Probably not a porno, despite the tagline.
The titular character, Dollman (Tim Thomerson), is a police officer from another planet who was shrunk down to thirteen inches when he passed through a wormhole or something stupid on his way to Earth while pursuing a galactic felon.  Now he's stuck here, with only a tough guy attitude and a gun that somehow makes things explode, despite being proportional to Dollman's stature.  If you are asking yourself aloud why you have seen this film, I can answer that: you watch a movie with Jackie Earle Haley in it every Wednesday night.  Remember?  Just as obviously, the next movie is Demonic Toys.
Apparently, these toys have been possessed by demons who want to resurrect their king demon or something along those lines.  The only person in their way is Judith (Tracy Scoggins), a hard-nosed lady cop.  They may have magic, but she has a gun.  And, because I know you're curious, the jack-in-the-box doesn't actually speak; he slithers around like a snake, with canned maniacal laughter whenever he's on screen.  Fun fact: this movie was written by David S. Goyer, co-writer of the Blade and Christopher Nolan Batman movies!  Rounding out this trio of true cinema is Bad Channels.
I cannot WAIT for Robot Wars!
This movie features aliens that want to steal Earth women, I assume for breeding purposes.  How should they go about this?  If your answer was to secretly broadcast alien radio waves across a local commercial radio station's signal, you're only part of the way there.  The affected women will show symptoms of receiving the signal (they will start dancing and flirting) and then vanish.  They will reappear inside some alien test tubes (at the radio station, obviously), but they are shrunken down to eleven inches of transport, I guess.  While the aliens were eventually thwarted, one of the shrunken girls was not returned to her original size.  In the movie, the poor girl is Bunny, but apparently she didn't want to be in the crossover event, so they retroactively decided that Nurse Ginger (Melissa Behr, who has sadly chosen to not continue acting and became a professional artist instead) was the unluckily shrunken maiden.

You might be wondering why I know so much about these three movies.  No, I did not watch all three movies and then choose to watch the crossover event that nobody asked for.  I'm fairly certain that would have made me sterile.  This movie has about eight to fifteen minutes of flashback time devoted to each film.  Dollman vs. Demonic Toys is only 64 minutes long, so that means that between a third and half of the film is devoted to learning the all-important back story for these well-developed characters.  If you look at this in terms of efficiency, I learned about four movies that, individually, are no doubt unwatchable.  But I did so in a little over an hour, which is like watching four ineptly made fifteen-minute mini-movies, or an average night of Adult Swim programming.

I think I can safely ignore the acting quality of Dollman AKA Brick Bardo , Officer Judith, and Nurse Ginger, right?  Aside from them, DvDT features the acting talents of Phil Fondacaro, who you might remember as the Ewok in Return of the Jedi that died...that's right...he was the one wearing the teddy bear suit.  Director Charles Band is perhaps best known for his work in films family films like Evil Bong II: King Bong, and I think his work speaks for itself without my "analysis."  Let's just revel in the awesome story here, okay?

Officer Judith has been spending all her time staking out the toy warehouse where the demonic toys were last seen when a homeless man accidentally falls through the roof of the warehouse.  He dusts himself off, admires his warm and dry new hangout, and does what anyone would do if they were trespassing on private property that obviously has a security guard --- he finds a tricycle and rides it around the warehouse, honking the horn and making lots of noise.  And, like all warehouses, there are many items organized on shelves, out of their packaging and plugged in.  Anyway, homeless Joe rides his trike into a cardboard box, which causes another box to fall and hit him on the head, instantly killing him.  It looked and sounded like an empty box, but those corners can be sharp.  I wouldn't have thought that a box would kill him after he fell through the roof without any damage, but I guess I learned something today.  As his corpse hits the ground, homeless Joe's head empties the several gallons of red syrup that we all keep in our noggins.  The "blood" touches a particular cardboard box, which allows the demonic toys to suddenly appear, thanks to the healing power of sugar.  Officer Judith (I'll just call her OJ from now on) runs in, guns blazing, but forgets that she was the only person that saw Demonic Toys; the other police that show up and the security guard think she's nuts, which leads to her being suspended from her job.  Put yourself in OJ's shoes.  What would your next step be?  If you answered "track down an eleven-inch-tall woman," you are obviously ingesting hallucinogens stupider than this movie shockingly correct.

Meanwhile, Brick Bardo is on a quest to find the only woman his size, to let her know that "she's not alone."  Great.  She has one choice in men, and he's actually an alien.  Lucky gal.  And let's be clear --- there is never a moment of doubt that Brick is going to lay (see what I did there?) Nurse Ginger.  She's kind of ditzy, he's kind of noir-hero-ish --- the end result is never in question.  Anyway, OJ finds these two and, for some unknown reason, never asks Nurse Ginger (who was the only one of the two she was tracking) for help.  Instead, she asks the thirteen-inch-tall Brick Bardo.  What can he do that any normal-sized person cannot?  Aside from chasing the demonic toys inside vents, nothing.  Obviously, Dollman and Ginger join forces with OJ to fight the evil toys.

And in case that quick summary doesn't entice you, here are some of the film's highlights:
  • The evil Baby Oopsie Daisy explains the toys' plot as follows: Oopsie Daisy will rape Nurse Ginger, impregnate her, and the baby will serve as a vessel for the toys demonic master.
  • Yes, the plot hinges on a miniature woman being raped by a baby doll.  And impregnated.
  • In a fight sequence against an evil GI Joe figure, Dollman reaches for a weapon and finds a hockey his size.  Hmm...
  • The GI Joe figure absolutely, positively does NOT look like a grown man wearing an ill-fitting helmet/mask.
  • Dollman has a powerful space gun.  He shoots it all the time.  And his ammo is made from...Unexplainedium?
  • To set the mood for mayhem, Baby Oopsie Daisy puts on a bitchin' rock 'n' roll record.  I bet you didn't know they made turntables scaled down to baby doll size.  I bet you also didn't know that the records available for such a small player would be contemporary rock music, instead of lullabies.
  • When Baby Oopsie Daisy is preparing to get sexy with Ginger, we see several shots to show the scale of the doll to Ginger; he's enormous and she's not.  To keep the illusion of the actors' size difference, there are several shots of Oopsie Daisy's hands pawing at Ginger.  These fake hands are not at all made of balloons or shiny foam.
Is this a bad movie?  Duh.  It is cheaply made, has laughably bad sets, the acting is horrid, and the script (co-written by David S. Goyer) is just sad.  I will admit that I enjoyed this more than I thought I would.  The short running time (while maybe fifteen minutes too long) was a major factor in this, but I also enjoyed the utterly ridiculous recaps of the prequel movies.  Dollman was surprisingly almost amusing at times, which was far more than I anticipated getting from this movie.  This is a piece of trash, but I mean that in the nicest way possible.  It's not like they made a movie called Dollman vs Demonic Toys and expected it to be a critical darling, or even something that would reach theaters.  The movie is silly junk; the filmmakers know it, I know it, and you knew it as soon as you read the title.  There is something to be said for successfully making an intentionally bad movie.
This movie isn't even (too) painful to watch.  If you see it with friends, I give it a Lefty Gold rating of

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