Posts Tagged ‘killer dolls’
Thursday, January 12th, 2023
M3GAN is a nice little treat – a killer doll/robot movie with a solid execution of the premise, a good sense of humor, and plenty of personality. And as a Blumhouse/Atomic Monster production it’s got a decent budget, so the effects are excellent. It’s a similar idea to the okay-not-great CHILD’S PLAY so-called-remake (out-of-control AI, no supernatural evil) but the way they made their doll look and behave is creepy and delightful in a fun new way.
Gemma (Allison Williams, THE PERFECTION) is the adult in the situation, and part of the joke is that she’s not a responsible one. When her niece Cady (Violet McGraw, DOCTOR SLEEP, The Haunting of Hill House) loses both parents in a car wreck, Gemma steps up to become her temporary guardian, but is too occupied by her job at a toy company to pay close attention to her.
A gifted roboticist, Gemma got in bad with her boss David (Ronny Chieng, GODZILLA VS. KONG) by surreptitiously blowing a bunch of money on the M3gan (Model 3 Generative Android) project, a life-sized robotic little girl designed to “pair” with its owner, use A.I. to learn and perform tasks from reading bedtime stories to teaching science. Now that’s cancelled and she’s back working on dumb old Furbie-like Perpetual Petz (designed to make wiseass comments, fart and poop little pellets while the kid plays related games on the internet). (read the rest of this shit…)
Tags: Akela Cooper, Allison Williams, Amy Usherwood, artificial intelligence, Atomic Monster, Blumhouse, Brian Jordan Alvarez, Gerard Johnstone, Jack Cassidy, James Wan, Jen Van Epps, killer dolls, Lori Dungey, robots, Ronny Chieng, set in Seattle, Violet McGraw
Posted in Reviews, Horror, Science Fiction and Space Shit | 36 Comments »
Friday, December 23rd, 2022
TOYS OF TERROR is a 2020 Christmas horror movie that’s exactly what it sounds like – a movie about toys coming to life and doing evil toy shit. It seems to have premiered on SyFy, and it’s on DVD and VOD. The director is someone named Nicholas Verso (BOYS IN THE TREES) and it’s written and executive produced by Dana Gould, the comedian, Simpsons writer and podcaster. I had no idea when I rented it that anyone notable was involved, and I respect that Gould seems to have just wanted to make a straightforward, non-parody Full Moon type movie. But it comes from the dystopically named “Blue Ribbon Content” division of Warner Bros. Television, responsible for some DC Comics web animation plus the DTV movies DAPHNE & VELMA and THE BANANA SPLITS MOVIE, and has better craft and production value than many of the actual Full Moon movies, especially the later ones.
It’s the story of a family coming to stay at a former children’s home that they plan to refurbish into a mansion and flip. (Same set up as The Haunting of Hill House.) It’s implied to be somewhere in Washington state, but it’s filmed in Canada – as usual, and as indicated by a cast full of actors you know are Canadian because of how many Hallmark Christmas movies they’re in. (read the rest of this shit…)
Tags: Christmas, Christmas horror, Dana Gould, Dayo Ade, killer dolls, Kyana Teresa, Nicholas Verso, stop motion animation, Verity Marks
Posted in Reviews, Horror | 2 Comments »
Monday, June 24th, 2019
You all know the story of the 1988 horror classic CHILD’S PLAY: a single mother buys her son the talking doll he wants for his sixth birthday, she brushes it off as imagination when he claims the doll is telling him weird things, a babysitter gets killed and because of the tiny footprints at the scene the police suspect the kid did it. We only see glimpses of what the doll is up to, but we know that a cornered serial killer named Charles Lee Ray performed a voodoo ritual and his spirit is hiding out in there. And the mom goes from worrying about what’s wrong with her son, to worrying she’s losing her mind for starting to wonder if he’s right, to the total shock of seeing the doll walk around and talk to her and stuff. And now she has to stop this supernatural threat that no one will believe her about before the killer transfers his soul into the body of her son.
This new movie called CHILD’S PLAY that is officially considered a remake is not that story. You still got a single mother (Aubrey Plaza, INGRID GOES WEST) trying to make ends meet working at a store, and she still has a son named Andy (Gabriel Bateman [ANNABELLE]), who she buys a doll named Chucky. But Andy is 13 years old (huge difference) and the doll is an A.I. infused walking and talking robot (also huge difference) and he is not possessed by Charles Lee Ray or anyone else (hugest difference). So there’s no secret, everybody knows it walks around and talks to you and stuff, and the kid is not young enough to be confused by it. Instead of dealing with the classic “no one believes me” theme (until it’s implausibly shoe-horned in near the end) the tension comes from the kids (he has friends in this) making the poor decision to try to hide things from the adults, even though Andy is friends with a nice cop who could help him (the great Brian Tyree Henry from Atlanta, WIDOWS, IF BEALE STREET COULD TALK and SPIDER-MAN: INTO THE SPIDER-VERSE). (read the rest of this shit…)
Tags: Aubrey Plaza, Brian Tyree Henry, David Lewis, Gabriel Bateman, killer dolls, Lars Klevberg, Mark Hamill, remakes, Tim Matheson, Tyler Burton Smith
Posted in Horror, Reviews | 62 Comments »
Thursday, December 20th, 2018
PUPPET MASTER VS. DEMONIC TOYS came out the year after FREDDY VS. JASON and a few months before ALIEN VS. PREDATOR, but eight years before THE AVENGERS, so it is an important milestone in cinematic universe crossover events. According to Wikipedia, though, it is “non-canon.” Produced for The Sci-Fi Network (before they had their own proprietary spelling), it doesn’t have Charles Band or Full Moon’s names anywhere on it, but it was directed by Ted Nicolaou (THE DUNGEONMASTER, TERRORVISION, SUBSPECIES, BAD CHANNELS, DRAGONWORLD) and written by C. Courtney Joyner (PUPPET MASTER III, DOCTOR MORDRID, TRANCERS III, plus PRISON and CLASS OF 1999).
Although I’m not all that familiar with either the vast PUPPET MASTER saga or the rich DEMONIC TOYS mythos I did think this one might be worth watching this week when I read (in Yuletide Terror, once again) that it was a Christmas movie.
Corey Feldman (EDGE OF HONOR, TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES) plays Robert Toulon, proprietor of Toulon’s Puppet Hospital, which looks like a business on the outside but from inside seems to just be a basement where he and his daughter Alex (Danielle Keaton, VILLAGE OF THE DAMNED, PINOCCHIO’S REVENGE, BABY GENIUSES) do experiments mixing chemicals and blood in beakers and injecting them into the famous PUPPET MASTER puppets Blade, Pinhead, Jester and Six Shooter (but not Leech Woman). Although I guess they’re on their own alternate dimension timeline, please note that these are the original Greatest Generation anti-Nazi puppets, not the hate criminals from the S. Craig Zahler version. (read the rest of this shit…)
Tags: C. Courtney Joyner, Christmas, Christmas horror, Corey Feldman, Danielle Keaton, killer dolls, Ted Nicolaou, Vanessa Angel
Posted in Horror, Reviews | 5 Comments »
Monday, October 1st, 2018
I haven’t watched a PUPPET MASTER picture since the early ’90s, so congratulations to this marketing that got me excited to watch the new PUPPET MASTER presented by the new Fangoria.
PUPPET MASTER: THE LITTLEST REICH is sort of a start-over made with the blessing but not direct participation of Charles Band. I don’t think I can technically call it a reboot, though, because it’s not supposed to end or replace the still ongoing original series. It’s an alternate universe version where the titelistical ruler of evil puppets, Andre Toulon, is a totally different character. Instead of a victim of the Nazis he’s a French-German Nazi sympathizer played by Udo Kier (BLADE, BARB WIRE) in nasty burn makeup. The screenwriter is S. Craig Zahler, and though it does not feel anything like BONE TOMAHAWK or BRAWL IN CELL BLOCK 99 it does continue his tradition of pushing the discomfort buttons and making me wonder “Should I be concerned about these racial themes?”
The main story takes place in the present, when artist and comic book store employee Edgar (Thomas Lennon, MEMENTO, THE DARK KNIGHT RISES) has to bite the bullet and go stay with his parents while getting back on his feet after a divorce. Desperate for money, he decides to take his dead brother’s rare hand-made puppet to Dallas to try to sell at a convention for the 30th anniversary of “The Toulon Murders.” But there are a bunch of other people there with their own original Toulon puppets, which all come to life (through goofy hand puppeting, not stop motion) and gorily murder Jewish, gay and black people. Puppetry and bigotry become one. (read the rest of this shit…)
Tags: Barbara Crampton, Charles Band, Charlyne Yi, Jenny Pellicer, killer dolls, Matthias Hues, Michael Pare, Nazis, Nelson Franklin, S. Craig Zahler, Sonny Laguna, Thomas Lennon, Tommy Wiklund, Udo Kier
Posted in Horror, Reviews | 33 Comments »
Thursday, July 26th, 2018
July 10, 1998
SMALL SOLDIERS is an effects-driven, Spielberg-produced, released-on-July-10th sci-fi movie. But it’s about killer toys (or at least potentially killer toys?) and the hero is a kid and it’s not a CHILD’S PLAY movie (it’s rated PG-13) so I’m not sure it was really seen as a movie for adults. To me and surely many others who saw it the exciting thing was that it was directed by Joe Dante, who hadn’t had a film since MATINEE five years earlier. And with him and Spielberg doing a movie about a young man fighting out of control small things raising a ruckus in a small town, obviously everybody had visions of Gremlins chomping on their heads.
Alan (Gregory Smith, HOBO WITH A SHOTGUN) is a maybe 14 year old kid who works at his dad (Kevin Dunn, MARKED FOR DEATH, also in GODZILLA, ALMOST HEROES and SNAKE EYES that summer)’s toy store, one of those ones that only sells wooden blocks and airplanes and shit, nothing based on cartoons or movies (so there’s not an anti-GODZILLA in-joke here). His dad actually has a specific “no war toys” policy. But one day his friend the delivery driver (Dick Miller, of course) has another store’s shipment of new high tech talking action figures called the Commando Elite. Alan thinks they would sell better than Lincoln Logs or whatever and convinces him to let him take a set. (read the rest of this shit…)
Tags: Adam Rifkin, Ann Magnuson, David Cross, Denis Leary, Dick Miller, Frank Langella, Gregory Smith, Jay Mohr, Joe Dante, Kevin Dunn, killer dolls, Kirsten Dunst, Phil Hartman, Summer of '98, Ted Elliott, Terry Rossio, Tommy Lee Jones
Posted in Reviews, Science Fiction and Space Shit | 19 Comments »
Tuesday, October 24th, 2017
After Stuart Gordon’s opening one-two punch of RE-ANIMATOR and FROM BEYOND, he did his first non-H.P.-Lovecraft picture, DOLLS. Produced by Charles Band two years before PUPPET MASTER, it sort of invents the template for his killer doll movies. The script is by Ed Naha, the first editor of Fangoria, who’s another important figure in the history of miniature cinema, having written TROLL, DOLLMAN and (with Gordon) HONEY, I SHRUNK THE KIDS. He also wrote the regular-sized CHUD II and OMEGA DOOM.
The story here is your basic trapped-in-a-spooky-mansion-during-a-storm yarn. A little girl named Judy (Carrie Lorraine, POLTERGEIST II and one episode of ALF), her dad David (Ian Patrick Williams, RE-ANIMATOR, ROBOT JOX, KING OF THE ANTS) and uptight step-mom Rosemary (Carolyn Purdy Gordon, RE-ANIMATOR, FROM BEYOND, ROBOT JOX, THE PIT AND THE PENDULUM, FORTRESS, STUCK) are driving somewhere in the woods or some shit, their car gets stuck in the mud, so they go knock on the door of the nearest gothic mansion. (read the rest of this shit…)
Tags: Bunty Bailey, Carolyn Purdy Gordon, Cassie Stuart, Charles Band, Ed Naha, Guy Rolfe, Hilary Mason, Ian Patrick Williams, John Carl Buechler, killer dolls, li'l bastards, Stephen Lee, Stuart Gordon
Posted in Horror, Reviews | 38 Comments »
Monday, November 21st, 2016
We all know Chucky, the vulgar, red-haired, Jack-Nicholson-sounding killer doll. He’s almost as famous as Freddy or Jason, characters that you don’t have to watch horror movies to be aware of. But when I first saw CHILD’S PLAY in 1988 I honestly didn’t know it was gonna be a killer doll movie. The poster/newspaper ad only showed Chucky’s evil eyes hovering in the sky over little Andy’s babysitter plummeting from the window of their Chicago apartment. A TV ad showed a quick glimpse of him attacking, but I remember thinking of what I was looking at as some kind of crazy witch lady. Maybe a killer dwarf?
An exciting moment in my recent trip to Vegas was seeing a portrait of Chucky and his bride Tiffany posted in the tiny lobby of an Elvis chapel along with Rob and Sheri Moon Zombie, Jon Bon Jovi and somebody he married, Richard Belzer just by himself. There were plenty of horror movies in 1988, but I doubt they’d hang pictures of the killers from BLACK ROSES or HIDE AND GO SHRIEK or even MANIAC COP in there (although that would’ve been a thrill too). Chucky has lasted.
Like anyone I enjoy the pop culture phenomenon of Chucky, most of his sequels and the absurd places this series has gone, but CHILD’S PLAY is something different. It puts a serial killer into the doll in the opening, then puts the doll in the arms of a child and makes us dread what will happen – what is happening when we’re not looking – until near the end. We look accusingly at the doll sitting there limply. We know you’re in there, you asshole. Why won’t you show yourself? For most of the movie his conniving happens in whispers we can’t hear, in low-to-the-floor POV shots, his little hands reaching out, or in quick glimpses, a little thing running by in our peripheral vision. When we finally do get a good look at him in his living-doll form it feels like we caught a bigfoot, or walked in on that dude in the bear costume in THE SHINING. Something we’re not supposed to be seeing. (read the rest of this shit…)
Tags: Alex Vincent, Brad Dourif, Catherine Hicks, Chicago, Chris Sarandon, Don Mancini, John Lafia, killer dolls, Tom Holland
Posted in Horror, Reviews | 33 Comments »
Monday, October 7th, 2013
This Chucky series is one-of-a-kind. Of course it all started in ’88 with CHILD’S PLAY, a genuinely effective creepfest that put a drop of contemporary into a classic horror premise. It’s been a while since I’ve watched parts 2 (1989) and 3 (1991), but I remember the second is a pretty solid (if unnecessary) continuation and the 3rd one is, you know, terrible. But in ’98 the series was ingeniously reborn as absurdist horror-comedy with BRIDE OF CHUCKY, directed by Ronny Yu, and in 2004 we got the severely more ridiculous SEED OF CHUCKY, which was a great time at the movies for me and 25 other people around the world.
The constant through all these movies has been Don Mancini, credited with story and co-screenplay on CHILD’S PLAY, sole writer on every single sequel and director of SEED and now CURSE OF CHUCKY. He’s always trying to keep the doll alive so here he is 9 years later doing what he has to do to make a part 6: do it for $5 million dollars, straight-to-video, returning to the roots of it being a serious horror movie about one scary doll instead of a preposterous comedy with a whole family of puppets. The word “reboot” was even used in some write ups since for a while they were planning it as a straightup remake instead of sequel. (read the rest of this shit…)
Tags: A Martinez, Brad Dourif, Brennan Elliott, Chantal Quesnelle, Danielle Bisutti, Don Mancini, DTV, DTV sequels, Fiona Dourif, good part 6s, killer dolls, Maitland McConnell, Summer H. Howell
Posted in Horror, Reviews | 83 Comments »
Sunday, October 28th, 2012
“Listen to me, I am not losing my daughter to a god damn 900 year old goat head!”
I always wanted to see this movie because I thought it was funny that they thought it was worth making a rip-off of CHILD’S PLAY but the killer doll is a girl. As if the very femaleness of the killer doll would change everything, because of the daily challenges a woman faces that are different from a man, or whatever.
Well, I really didn’t need to see this. I don’t necessarily feel like I’ve gained anything.
(read the rest of this shit…)
Tags: Denise Crosby, killer dolls, Lupe Ontiveros, Maria Lease, Rip Torn, Sam Bottoms
Posted in Horror, Reviews | 7 Comments »