Silent Night Deadly Night 5: The Toy Maker (1991)

DECEMBER 21, 2009


I caught some of Silent Night Deadly Night 5: The Toy Maker as a kid, and remember thinking "Where is the killer Santa?" and "Why doesn't anyone notice the Pinocchio allusions?" (well, whatever an 11 year old thinks of for the word "allusion"). Well I still don't have an answer for the latter (seriously, they even READ the damn story at one point and still never think about the fact that they know a guy named "Joe Petto" and his son "Pino"), but for the former, I think I get it now - the SNDN series final installments actually succeeded in what the Halloween franchise never got to accomplish, which is to present a series of films that are based around the holiday but are otherwise unrelated.

Driving this point (sort of) home is the fact that both Neith Hunter and Clint Howard return from the previous film and even have the same names, but are obviously completely different characters (not to mention that Clint's "Ricky" is alive, though I guess we could consider this a prequel). Kim has a son and doesn't seem to work for the paper (she also has a nice house instead of an apartment), and Ricky is well-adjusted (well, as well-adjusted as a Clint Howard character can be). They seem like they are there to provide little nods to the previous entry (one of the killer toys is a segmented leech type thing - another reference), but won't distract anyone who hadn't seen it. Again though, this might just be complete laziness on the filmmakers' part.

It's also a bit of a forebearer of the Saw series, as our villain is a guy who clearly knows his way around a workshop and is looking to get back at the world for the death of his wife and unborn son. Except instead of building traps, he builds killer toys. And a robot son. Mickey Rooney plays the demented toy maker, and while he is obviously long past his prime, he still adds a bit of class to the proceedings, not to mention irony (he was one of the more vocal protesters of the original film).

He apparently has also made a prop Christopher Walken head, just in case the need arises:

The weirdest thing about the movie is that producer Brian Yuzna is shamelessly ripping himself off during the kill scenes, as they all-too-closely resemble those seen in Stuart Gordon's Dolls (which Yuzna also produced). Granted, there's only so much one can do with killer toys, and they do branch things out a bit (such as rocket roller blades that careen its user into traffic), but still, the movie lacks any really good kills, unless you count the aforementioned leech toy that causes the guy to run his car off the road and careen down a hill, at which point the car explodes (cue WOOOO!!!! and applause).

I was also somewhat disappointed that they didn't have the balls to kill off the kid on the roller blades. In the first film, fucking SANTA CLAUS CHOPS OFF A KID'S HEAD. You'd think they could at least let a kid die in what would look like an accident to anyone else.

At least they load the film up with sex. At one point, our heroine and her ex reunite in a parking garage and immediately get it on in the back of his truck. Meanwhile, her son is at home listening to his babysitter and her boyfriend get it on (in his bed no less! He's sleeping in the mother's room for some reason). Plus, the robot kid (who is hilariously androgynous) freaks out during the climax and begins dry humping the heroine, while shouting "I want you mommy, I'll be a good boy!" and things like that. Thankfully, we are spared a Mickey Rooney nude scene.

All in all, it's a pretty fun and weird (if a bit lackluster) movie, and unlike the previous film, is fully ensconced in the Christmas holiday. I appreciate that they kept trying new things, and I bet if it were ten years later, there would be more sequels as the DTV franchise market is much richer now than it was in the early 90s. A remake of the original is continuously threatened, but if you ask me, I think they should just drop the numbers and reboot the series with new Christmas themed films that are really mean spirited and weird, but not necessarily about a guy named Ricky.

What say you?

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1 comment:

  1. Who could possibly resist an opportunity to murder a kid on roller blades? There should be an entire subgenre of rollerblade murder flicks.


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