Written By Zak Attack
A dramatic journey through the dreck we all know and love
Why Did I Watch This?
With Halloween coming this Friday, it’s time for the last week of Schlocktoberfest! To celebrate, we’re taking a look back at the third ever edition of Why Did I Watch This? with the sequel to Dollman! This isn’t just any sequel though. Oddly enough, it’s a crossover film with another Full Moon Features joint: Demonic Toys. The resultant Dollman Vs. Demonic Toys is an alluringly strange mish-mash of two tonally disparate movies. How will the corny action-thriller of Dollman go with the cheeseball horror of Demonic Toys? This isn’t Freddy Vs. Jason, it’s Freddy Vs. John McClane… meets Small Soldiers.
How Did I Watch It?
This came from a fairly inexpensive three-pack that had both Dollman and Demonic Toys (both of which I have already seen, obviously). Fun fact! I watched this on my portable dvd player while waiting in a holding room for jury duty! The case had nothing to do with aliens or possessed toys, so I think it was kosher.
What Did I Watch?
Apparently this isn’t just Dollman Vs. Demonic Toys, it’s Dollman Vs. Demonic Toys Vs. Bad Channels. That third title is another Charles Band-helmed oddball flick, I haven’t gotten around to it yet… but don’t worry. Dollman Vs. Demonic Toys works hard to catch up its audience. It works very, very hard.
The whole movie is only fifty-six and a half minutes, but it certainly isn’t overly concerned with filling the limited running time with new ideas. Let’s look at a breakdown of the first half of the film.
00:00-00:21 – Production credits (Full Moon Home Entertainment)
00:22-00:54 – Quick intro to Brick “Dollman” Bardo (Tim Thomerson). We find out in voiceover that he’s very short and is looking for a similarly small woman named Ginger (Melissa Behr) he read about in the paper.
00:55-04:43 – Opening credits (that’s 7% of the movie!)
04:44-05:19 – A dream sequence recapping original Demonic Toys from the point of view of Officer Judith Gray (Tracy Scoggins).
14:33-16:47 – Introduction to the tiny Nurse Ginger from Bad Channels. She’s pretty and stuck on a kitchen counter.
16:48-19:38 – A follow-up with Dollman and his quest to find Ginger. A man gawks at the diminutive police officer and Bardo quips, “What’s the matter… never seen a cop before?” This is a short quest because he finds her house in the next scene, right after she’s done talking to a sleazy reporter who is trying to get an interview. She’s super excited that she found someone the same size as herself and he saves her from a spider (who, to them, is gigantic).
22:02-26:24 – Brick recaps basically all of Dollman by reusing footage from that movie.
26:25-29:06 – Ginger recaps all of Bad Channels by reusing footage from that movie.
29:43-32:23 – Officer Gray shows up and recruits Dollman while additionally recapping some more details about Demonic Toys
So we’re over halfway through the film and 56% of the total elapsed running time is dedicated to recapping the three crossover movies in increasingly uncreative ways. Imagine if the first hour of Avengers was comprised mostly of Tony Stark going into voiceover about the time he fought Whiplash while footage from Iron Man 2 played. Even if you’re unfamiliar with the original films, it is a narratively unnecessary and unfulfilling detour that nonetheless provides the only “action” of the first half of the film. If you have seen Dollman, Demonic Toys, and/or Bad Channels it is beyond boring.
So what’s “new” during this portion of the film? Well…
05:20-14:32 – There is some new footage setting up the villains’ plot. A homeless guy breaks into the warehouse from the first Demonic Toys film in order to get some sleep. Instead he gets drunk and rides a tricycle around like a maniac. In one of the least convincing stuntfalls in recent memory, he crashes the tricycle and bashes his head open on the concrete floor. A puddle of blood slowly pools around his head and makes its way to the demonic toybox (that they apparently just left sitting around after the events of the first movie). It seems that the blood of a hobo was all those monsters needed to become resurrected. These toys include: Baby Oopsie Daisy, the foul-mouthed baby doll ringleader; Jack Attack, the sharp-toothed jack-in-the-box clown; Mr. Static, the laser-shooting robot; and newcomer Zombietoid, the G.I. Joe rip-off. Grizzly Teddy from the first Demonic Toys is unfortunately absent. These toys then recruit a security guard played by Phil Fondacaro who is all too eager to help them sacrifice hookers to their dark lord.
29:07-29:42 – Ginger and Brick bone.
Now that the story is set up, the rest of the movie is dedicated to Dollman, Ginger, and Officer Gray storming the toy factory to stop some them from killing all those hookers. Why were they killing hookers you ask? No clue. Does it matter? Bad guys + good guys = conflict. Although that lack of clarity doesn’t stop them from yet again recapping some more aspects of Demonic Toys for about a minute. Anyway, Officer Gray dies pretty early on so they can truly make good on the title and have Dollman do all the fighting. Meanwhile, to up the stakes, the demonic toys capture Ginger and decide to get her preggers with the soul of their demon master at the witching hour (you may recognize some shades of Constantine in this plot point).
For some reason, across two movies it seems that nobody is truly interested in exploring the idea of a 12-inch high cop. For Bardo’s last outing, all he did was shoot regular-sized gang bangers and it played out as “The guy that’s hard to shoot at.” This time he didn’t fight anyone normal sized, so it didn’t seem much different than “Cop Vs. the life-sized toys.” The situation provides some interesting oversized sets for Dollman and some laughable costumes for the people dressed as the demonic toys, but that’s about it. The lack of Grizzly Teddy was a missed opportunity, since he had the ability to turn into a life-sized bear (read: guy with bad teddy bear make-up).
Tim Thomerson really embraces the silliness of the idea more than he did in the previous movie. Part of that is due to the goofier script where his Eastwood-like delivery innately had more of an ironic detachment. Since he’s fighting giant (to him) toys, there are some one-liners that are so laughably stupid they do a 180 and become brilliant. My favorite one has to be a stand-off with Jack Attack that results in Dollman shooting off his head with his super-powered gun. After the gory, green-blooded clown explosion he retorts “Pop goes the weasel!” Even Schwarzenegger couldn’t pull off lines that dumb with as straight a face as Thomerson manages.
Despite the performance, it’s really hard to make such a distinctively tough cop believable when he wears such high-waisted pants. Not to be ageist, but the dude looks like roughly half of the retirees with whom I was serving jury duty. Even his cool overcoat looks like a cardigan. I half expected him to put on some bifocals and start reading the toys’ instructions to figure out how to defeat them. Surprisingly, Melissa Behr is only eighteen years his junior, even though she looks like she could be his granddaughter.
On the flipside of Thomerson’s game line deliveries, Frank Welker as Baby Oopsie Daisy has some intensely embarrassing moments. Instead of the Dennis the Menace-like playfulness that voice actor Linda Cook used in Demonic Toys, this sequel chose to change the performance to that of a practically unintelligible cartoon character. The go-for-broke tone of the character and often profane dialogue doesn’t fit with this type of creative decision at all. Especially egregious are the “jokes” delivered during the attempted rape and pregnancy of Ginger. Here is a quick sample of the snippets that barely count as puns.
“How about a little prick?!” – This is obvious, stupid, and probably the most acceptable line that Baby Oopsie Daisy has during this sequence.
“I got her a baby doll nightie for when we make baby doll love! – Is “baby doll love” a thing? Please tell me it isn’t.
“Open sesame” (while spreading her legs) – There is no reason to be making that reference here. Couldn’t they at least have used an Ali Baba action figure (they have those, right?) if they were going to incorporate a line like that?
“We’re still gonna bump and grind, babycakes! – Keep in mind, this is all being said by a spoof of a “Baby Wets Itself” doll in a scratchy, animated voice. It’s like if Chucky from Child’s Play released a movie during a writer’s strike.
“You know how babies like to nibble on things.” – They do? Are you referring to teething or is this that “baby doll love” you mentioned earlier.
“Get the Hell away from you? You’ve got it all wrong! I’m gonna get the Hell inside ya!” – Ugh, no. While possibly the only comment bordering on “clever”… that’s just gross.
The whole sequence is more skeevy than explicit. It’s almost funny when you realize Baby Oopsie Daisy is just biding his time until the clock hits midnight and he has the power to impregnate her with a demon soul. It’s like he’s nervous and keeps rattling off terrible pick-up lines in order to avoid any awkward moments of silence before he can do the deed. Also, this whole scene plays out in a dollhouse.
Was It Worth Watching?
Dollman Vs. Demonic Toys is a serviceable follow-up considering the quality of the originals, but the very definition of a slight film. The budget of this movie was clearly much less than its already low-budget predecessors. In this case, that is a huge detriment. All the reused footage and thin writing make it barely even feel like a real movie.
While almost enjoyably stupid, this was still an overall waste of time. Nobody cares what’s at stake in the context of the film. None of the protagonists even know that hookers are being sacrificed over a pentagram or really what’s going on with the birth of a demon. The only reason the good guys even go to the warehouse is because Officer Gray has a vendetta against the toys from the first film and wants to confirm they’re dead. She was even kicked off the force for her obsessive staking out of the building on the precinct’s time. The only character reason for Dollman to follow through on the plan after her death is a promise he made to her (“It’s a cop thing”), which seems odd since they just met in the previous scene.
At the end of the day, they could have just gone with 10 minutes of recap and a titlecard that says “Then Dollman and the toys fight because the script says so.” I don’t think anyone would be the wiser and it would have made the hour-long movie even shorter (which might have been a good thing).
Thanks for joining us this year for Schlocktoberfest 2014 and have a happy Halloween! See the rest of the write-ups below if you missed them.
Schlocktoberfest Part 1: KISS Meets the Phantom of the Park
Schlocktoberfest Part 2: Q: The Winged Serpent
Schlocktoberfest Part 3: Bloodlust!
Schlocktoberfest Part 4: Constantine
Schlocktoberfest Part 5: You just read it!
Zak has been an avid movie fan since his mom made him cover his eyes before the “icicle stabbing” when they rented Die Hard 2 in 2nd grade. As a consolation, in 6th grade he got straight A’s so she gave him the entire Die Hard trilogy on VHS. The rest is history.
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All images courtesy of Full Moon Features