Ho ho ho! The Christmas spirit is in the air again and it’s once again time to check out some crazy holiday movies! Last night I watched a pretty ridiculous one to say the least, the final installment of the ‘Silent Night Deadly Night’ franchise, part 5: ‘The Toymaker’ from 1991! Now if you’re in the mood for some totally idiotic yet entertaining holiday movie mayhem I’d say this here is definitely worth a watch this year. As with the 4th installment of the ‘Silent Night Deadly Night’ franchise, this one has got absolutely zilch to do with the original, clearly a sequel only in name and I’m quite fine with that becuz really now, how many damn movies do we need with a killer in a Santa Suit?
So “The Toymaker” goes a way different direction with a totally absurd plot directed by Martin Kitrosser & co-written by horror icon Brian Yuzna (Night of the Living Dead 3, Bride of Re-Aminator, Society), which finds a little kid whose family is “terrorized” by killer presents..ahem “toys” made by a weird ass old dude toymaker named ‘Joe Petto’ played by the one and only Mickey Rooney! How the hell they got Rooney to do this flick is a bit of a wonder. First he’s clearly got the star power here, though in 1991 he must have been in dire need of acting work and even more bizarre is that Rooney wrote a protest letter against the first Silent Night, Deadly Night (1984). Claiming the “scum” who made it should be “run out of town” for having fucked with the sacred holiday. Oddly then six years later he joined the damn franchise!! He must have just loved the damn script so much he couldn’t resist! The world may never know..
Anyway Rooney runs his own creepy toy shop in town called “Petto’s” which is probably the WORST name you could pick for a toy store, oh and he’s got his socially awkward son working the shop too and yeah…..his name is ‘Pino’. I recognized this kid actor Brian Bremer from Pumpkinhead as well as starring in Tobe Hooper’s Spontaneous Combustion & Yuzna’s ‘Society’. So are you catching on here to the brilliance of this story here yet? Well Joe Petto makes toys that kill people and his weirdo son who lives in the dank cellar helps him out and also gets yelled at a lot by Petto after he’s been drinkin’ on the job during shop hours.
The meat of the plot here revolves around Joe Petto’s evil toy’s stalking a single mom and her child for some “unknown reason” right around Christmas. We get some pretty ridiculous bullshit going on here when the toys viciously attack and we even got Screamin’ Mad George (Predator, Nightmare on Elm St. 3) doing his best with the budget on special fx duty. Killer toy army men, toy centipede larva, heck even some killer roller blades! The movie’s filled with crazy ass plot twists too, the kind that are so stupid you can’t help but find idioticlly endearing.
The Toymaker goes for the jugular with a “shocking” finale too, that kinda just has to be seen to be believed as it’s about as stupidly awesome things come. There’s plenty to enjoy here for the holiday as the story somehow operates nicely within the Christmas season. It’s likely the second best installment of the ‘Silent Night’ franchise and the perfect holiday party flick as it’s got a lean, just over 80 minute run time that moves at a nice brisk pace. If you want a full on holiday party flick this one’s got the goods, just make sure you’ve got your sense of humor intact, plenty of weed and boozy egg nog there to wash this one down with…you’ll be needing it!
BODY TROOPERS, AKA: CHASING THE KIDNEYSTONE (Idsoe, 1996)
A decade after Joe Dante made INNER SPACE, a Norwegian woman made a movie about a boy and his grandpa’s kidney stone. What follows is a disturbing art film about bodily functions and fluids. Get ready for a swim! (WARNING: gross stuff ahead)
Simon lives with his grandpa, a widowed saxophonist, and they have a self-pitying stuffed bear that talks like a hot dog salesman. The night before grandpa’s jazz band reunion show (whom grandma sang for) he wakes up Simon with the kind of groaning that a football to the crotch or bad burrito will induce. Feeling helpless, the boy and the whiny bear bust out a chemistry set and shrink Simon to microbial size.
It all starts with grandpa’s mouth (specifically his giant lip and tongue). Simon steps over taste buds the size of basketballs, some of which talk. A lot. They even have telephones.
They are disturbed by the boy and want to know how he tastes. Bitter bud calls the Brain. Continue reading
Anyone who braves through JIMMY, THE BOY WONDER (the subject of Technicolor Nightmare 1) can theoretically tolerate a little singing and dancing. But where JIMMY is creepy as hell, XUXA is cuter than a sugar turd on a neon birthday cake.
SUPER XUXA VS. SATAN (A. Penido, 1988)
(Or SUPER XUXA CONTRA O BAIXO ASTRAL)
Xuxa Meneghel is a bonafide Brazilian superstar whose fame derives from a series of strange family films in the eighties. Some of my male friends have characterized her as “hot”. This film is the copycat little sister to LABYRINTH.
Super Xuxa, blonde and billowing with butt cleavage in a mini jumper, slathers joy like hair mayo everywhere she goes. Continue reading
Horror nerds often come with intact reproductive organs. Hence, sometimes they reproduce (albeit rare). I have personal experience. But becoming a parent doesn’t mean you must purge the filth from your video collections! Just as changing diapers are now daily routine, so must stealth nighttime viewings of those video nasties.
Yet, finding a happy medium between you, your child and your TV can be a challenge. That’s why there’s demented kids movies! The exaggerated costumes, candy colored sets, community-theater caliber acting and fantastical plots latent in these low budget bombs often congeal into scary, trippy cheeseballs of pain. You won’t soon forget the emptiness your soul will feel after watching them.
Many can be found on the underground label SOMETHING WEIRD VIDEO.
JIMMY, THE BOY WONDER (H.G. Lewis, 1966)
Herschell Gordon Lewis was an accomplished businessman, so the man who made BLOOD FEAST, 2000 MANIACS and GORE GORE GIRLS went where the money was and crossed genre lines to do so. Although his nudie cuties, teens-gone-wrong and (shutter) family films may seem like resume fodder compared to the squishy, extreme gore films he was famous for, he had a blanketing modus operandi; low initial budgets that yielded cult status and turned profits over long periods of time. He made only two family films and I’m sure Leonard Maltin would hate them. Yet, they endure with a strange charm that only Lewis could conjure.
SANTA MEETS THE MAGICAL LAND OF MOTHER GOOSE is nothing more than a filmed stage production with awful sound. If I remember correctly, the camera barely moves off the tripod.
JIMMY, THE BOY WONDER however, is laced with Lewis’ macabre sensibilities and full of hilarious jump edits, exaggerated acting, nightmarish visuals and horrifying songs.