Title: Silent Night, Deadly Night 5: The Toymaker
Staring: William Thorne, Jane Higginson, Tracy Fraim, Mickey Rooney, Brian Bremer, Van Quattro
Plot: When Derek (Thorne) sees his father (Quattro) killed by a toy that was anonymously delivered to his house, it leaves him too traumatized to speak. Meanwhile, a toy maker named Joe Peto (Rooney) is building some suspicious-looking toys, and a mysterious man (Fraim) creeps around both the toy store and the boy's house...but who is responsible for the killer toys?
Review: The last film in the “Silent Night Deadly Night” Series while continuing on the same alternative path established by the previous entry, with the first three films having been more focused on serial killer Santa antics, which had lead to the original film being protested by the PTA and eventually removed from theatres but not before it had outgrossed “A Nightmare On Elm Street” which opened on the same day. Bizarrely “Christmas Evil” which also featured a serial killer Santa and released four years before “Silent Night, Deadly Night” managed to somhow avoid any of controversy upon its release.
Now no doubt like myself you are looking at that poster and thinking that this looks like pretty badass looking flick, especially with Derek being surrounded by those creepy looking creations. I mean this is a photo cover so this means they have to be in he film right, unlike the painted posters which usually greatly exaggerate events in the film. Well you as well prepare to be disappointed as none of them appear here making me wonder were they actually got them from, as clearly that is the movie I really want to see. Okay perhaps I am being alittle unfair as the film does manage to pull out a few interesting creations like the face burrowing Larry the Lavae and a pair of rocket skates, the only other real surprise was that it was a killer toy movie with no sign of Charles Band being attached. Still even with this late entry in the series it is nice to see Brian Yuzna still involved in the series after directing the previous entry and here he returns as producer while handing directing duties to Kitrosser who is probably better known as a script supervisor (including Tarantino’s first seven movies) than for being a director for which this film would be his debut.
Despite being his first time in the directing chair this is still a confident effort and actually one the better killer toy movies and something of a welcome relief especially after my recent ventures into the genre with “Demonic Toys” and the later entries in the seemingly never ending “Puppet Master” saga as Kitrosser pulls out some fun toy attacks which are on the whole pretty satisfying, even though the spacing between these moments is where the film does starts to come undone especially when time is given to the mysterious stranger Noah who ultimately turns out to not be worth the screentime, much less the random alfresco sex scene he engages in with Derek’s mother which seems beyond out of place and seems to only have been included to keep the audiences attention. Equally frustrating is the fact that Derek is a mute, thanks to Thorne not exactly being the most talented of child actors and instead switches between three faces of bored, shy or Prozac happy.
The toy effects are simple yet effective while a disembodied hand proves itself less convincing especially when in some shots it looks essentially like a hand in a rubber glove, especially when it is clenching a guy’s ass. Still long term Yuzna collaborator and underrated special effect guru Screaming Mad George still manages to give us some fun attacks including a mini army of toys attacking Derek’s babysitter and her boyfriend after they don’t even wait for him to go to sleep before they are having sex, which seemingly happens a lot seeing how unfazed Derek seems about this, much less when he walks in on his parents having sex at the start.
The real strength of the film comes from Mickey Rooney and Brian Bremer as the toymaker Joe Petto and his oddball son Pino, whose names give a cheeky nod Pinocchio, while also strangely hinting at the secret they are hiding. Rooney in particular is on great form and only makes me wonder why he hasn’t played more creepy roles and especially when he is so good here easily switching between being the kindly toymaker and his much darker self, especially when he beats on Pino for disappointing him as a son. Still it is surprisingly to see Rooney agreeing to be in this at all, especially when he wrote a letter of protest against the first “Silent Night, Deadly Night” stating that the “scum” who made it should be “run out of Town” for having sullied the sacredness of Christmas, though it would seem he has dropped the grudge by the time this film came about, with his performance not exactly making it seem like an actor just taking on a film for the work. Bremer on the other hand is creepy from the start as he lurks around the toyshop and continually running off to hide in the basement, while later even breaking into Derek’s house to rummage around his mother underwear drawer, though what this has to do with his final plan is anyone guess, while his performance goes completely bonkers at the end with him even randomly trying to dry hump Derek’s mother!
Not a bad final entry for the series, but one certainly not helped by having such a flat script, yet at the same time awhole lot better than the majority of killer toy movies and the evil Mickey Rooney, almost makes up for many of the films issues, including a sagging middle section which was more than alittle testing especially when it seemed that Kitrosser had lost focus on the sort of film he was supposed to be making. Still while it veers close to batshit insane with its finale, it is stil another watchable addition to the series.