JULY 2, 2008
Is there a Sniglet for when you are walking around Blockbuster at the same pace as another customer? That happened last night, it was me and this lovely looking woman and her child, browsing from A-Z, constantly getting in each other’s way and saying “excuse me” every 12 seconds. And the woman was obviously a “good” mother, as her kid kept trying to get her to rent R rated films like The Orphanage, only to be shot down (the mother’s suggested alternative? Drillbit Taylor. Poor kid.). Since she clearly wasn’t down with the R rated stuff, she probably assumes I am some sort of sociopath for spying Triloquist on the shelf, laughing maniacally at the hilarious cover, and practically running up to the counter to rent it.
Sadly the cover I find online isn’t the same as the one in the store, so I had to take a picture of it with my cell phone to share with you:
Now, how can anyone see that (not to mention read “From the creator of Leprechaun!”) and NOT want to watch this movie? I dunno, but it has no rating on the IMDb as of yet, and I seemingly was the only one to rent a copy, as there were plenty on the shelves. Being a bare-bones release AND a Blockbuster exclusive (no Netflix!), there should be no reason that every copy wasn’t rented out and being enjoyed by like-minded jerks such as myself.
Surprisingly enough, the movie isn’t as goofy as you’d expect. Sure, it’s filled with lots of corny lines and sight gags, and it’s mostly played for laughs, but there's a melancholy thread that runs throughout the film. The puppet isn’t the only villain here; in fact, he’s almost a good guy compared to his owner, a super hot blond chick named Angelica who’s essentially a psychotic whore (think a late teens version of Baby from Devil’s Rejects and you’d get the idea). The movie is really about her sort of rise and fall, and the end of the film finds her homeless, addicted to heroin, and alone. Not QUITE as funny as the sight of a puppet biting a man’s dick off, is it? Strangely, it kind of works, and there are two reasons why.
One is the above average acting from the two leads, Paydin LoPachin as Angelica, and Rocky Marquette as her mute brother Norbert (who looks and acts like his own goddamn puppet). They are able to bring some sympathy and pathos to their roles, and while this is hardly a Shakespearean tragedy, I actually did feel sorry for them on more than one occasion (junkie mother, abused as kids, etc). The other thing is the soundtrack, which is pretty great for a DTV killer puppet movie. There are a few alt-country style songs and a pretty good score by Geoff Levin (including, yes, "Mockingbird", but actually used effectively!), and the songs are just as melancholy as the film is at times.
Of course, that’s not really the appeal of the movie. Rampant nudity, lots of ridiculous kills (my favorite – the puppet shoots a cop with a shotgun; the recoil sending him flying across the road), and corny jokes that eventually become amusing is what will entice folks to watch this movie, and while the gore/violence is surprisingly a bit tame (this is Dimension EXTREME!, no?), the sleaziness of the whole thing makes up for it. Angelica is constantly offering to fellate people, and there’s even suggested incest between her and her brother.
I also like how they don’t bother trying to present it as a mystery as to whether or not the puppet is alive. After She-Wolf of London, I don’t know if I could take a movie in which the titular killer was essentially a ruse by a very un-supernatural human, and Triloquist delivers on that front. He’s alive, and they run with it.
Now, I know I’ve spent a while praising the film, but that doesn’t mean it’s a masterpiece. The script is needlessly confusing at the end, with lots of things that don’t quite make sense and/or plot elements never clarified. It’s also a bit repetitious – I think there are like 4 different scenes where Angelica kills a good Samaritan and takes his car. And too many of the kills are offscreen – I’d rather they cut one of the car theft killings from the script and used the leftover money to improve the other kill scenes.
But hey, it’s a killer puppet movie, something far too rare these days. It should definitely appeal to those who thought Dead Silence was a ripoff (you fools!), and puts the similar Seed of Chucky to shame in the process.
What say you?