Evil comes with strings attached.
Year of Release: 1996
Running Time: 96 minutes (1:36)
Director: Kevin Tenney
Rosalind Allen ... Jennifer Garrick
Brittany Alyse Smith ... Zoe Garrick
Todd Allen ... David Kaminsky
Larry Cedar ... District Attorney
Candace McKenzie ... Sophia
Lewis Van Bergen ... Vincent Gotto
Tara Hartman ... Beth
Aaron Lustig ... Dr. Edwards
Verne Troyer ... Pinocchio
Dick Beals ... Pinocchio (voice)
The ultimate children's fairy tale comes alive with a bloody new twist in Pinocchio's Revenge! When the wooden puppet of a murdered boy falls into the hands of an attorney's eight-year-old daughter, a grisly end soon awaits anyone standing in the way of the girl and her malicious marionette.
Pinocchio's Revenge, the movie that inspired Tyson vs. Holyfield II. It's your basic Child's Play formula, but I'll bet it's got a few things that I can twist out of context for my own amusement. One, karma's a bitch. Getting paid to get monsters off the hook after they've mutilated people beyond recognition is bound to cause some repercussions. Two, the best way to shore up your child's mental instability is to let your boyfriend tell her horror stories about evil dolls, then fuck him as loudly as possible in the room next door to her. Should clear it right up. An three, the only difference between hard wood and soft wood is a nekkid babysitter. But I think what we really need to focus on here is unhealthy attachment. In our story, we've got the little girl whose obviously got the more serious problem with letting go. But is it any wonder? Mom spends all day trying to convince herself that a man who claims to have murdered three people, including his son, is innocent. Then she comes home an fucks the gardener. No wonder the kid's latched onto a doll that she believes is trying to kill people. Way to set an example, Mom. As bad an example as Mom is, you've gotta figure any normal child would try to distance themselves from the doll that talks to them an throws people under the bus, literally. I'm sure that if I went to play the Super Nintendo an the Genesis started calling me a pussy an suggesting ways to kill the SNES an then my wife so I'd have more time to play it, some red flags might pop up. Is it really THAT critical that Mom stay home with her every minute of every day to the point that, when that's not an option, the next best thing is to develop an affinity for a murderous inanimate object? I guess if she were a little older she'd probably just run off with a 33 year old unemployed guitar player, get pregnant, an stand in front of me in the express line of the grocery store with 87 items an pay for it all with food stamps. I'm sick of this "we all need somebody to lean on" bullshit. Half the time the person you're leaning on doesn't want you there, an the rest of the time you're leaning too hard an giving them a double hernia. Learn to stand on your own two feet. Say no to evil talking dolls, and say no to dependence. Oh yeah, an stay off my lawn.
We begin with a man in the middle of nowhere, digging a hole, with a couple large bags laying nearby. At least it looks like the middle of nowhere, until a cop happens by the guy's car, pulled off to the side of a paved highway. Unfortunately, the guy's got the strength of Mr. Burns, an can't dig the two foot deep grave before the cop catches him in the act. The next morning (yeah, the scene just kinda ends that way, you never see the digger taken away or anything), a forensics team has finally managed to excavate the bag from the two foot deep hole, an the head detective starts freaking out because the body is that of a child, and a wooden puppet. He probably won't be getting his own CSI spin off anytime soon. Five years later, the digger's attorney is trying to get him life in prison instead of ole Sparky on account of him only killing one person instead of three. As I understand it, anything more than two murders is considered excessive, using the morality system of a defense attorney anyway. Later that evening, the defense attorney (let's call her "Mom"), is looking at the crime scene photos an thinkin' real hard about reviewing them in closer proximity to the toilet, when her daughter (Zoe) shows up an tells her she'd better get a stronger stomach if she's gonna put her through college. Mom puts Zoe to bed an asks her how her abandonment complex is goin', but she don't wanna talk about it. The next day Mom goes in to work an finds a nasty little puppet sitting in her chair an it's got this look on its face like it just cleared off a place for her to sit down, if you know what I mean. Then Mom goes to talk to Vincent (the digger) in prison an despite his best efforts to assure her he's a terrible person, she's not having it, an he has to flip out an start leaving smudges all over the glass an start screaming like a banshee until the screws haul his butt outta there. But before that happens, she learns that he carved the doll for his son (the corpse) as a birthday gift. Elsewhere, at the end of the school day, Zoe is passing out invitations to her birthday party, only the local bully (Beth) doesn't like her on account of her not looking like she's gonna grow up to be a female gym teacher someday an throws her invitations in a mud puddle. Zoe's pissed, an she spears her into the ground an goes Mike Tyson on her earlobe until Beth's goons pull Zoe off her. So later that evening, Mom has to ground Zoe for chewing on people an not wanting to talk to her Dad since the break up.
The next day, Vincent's sentence is upheld an Mom's bummed that she's got to put another tally mark in the loss column. Normally they'd give the guy a lethal injection, but they decide to give 'em the chair for looking too much like Christopher Reeve. Then Mom goes to church so she can stare at the image of Christ for awhile instead of confessing that she's nailing the gardener out of wedlock an making a living trying to keep murderers from being punished. Later that afternoon, she's talking with her boss (I guess he's her boss?) about how confused she still is over Vincent killing his son one way, and two other victims another. She's also confused about why no one in the office takes her seriously just cause she's getting her bushes pruned by her gardener, but that's not really relevant. After work, Mom's birthday present for Zoe hasn't showed up, which is just the perfect end to this shit storm of a day an she's really had it with all these assaults on her reasoning skills. So David (the gardener) tells her to go relax an he'll get everything for Zoe's party setup, only Woody's hitched a ride in the car an David thinks it's Zoe's gift. Mom figures she'll just deal with it after David services her, only Woody peeks around the corner while they're getting familiar an Zoe pops up right about the time David's pants do an scares the bejezus out of 'em. So they put Zoe to bed an make the sign of the triple humped dugong, only like most parents, they think the kids can't hear what they're doing an even Zoe starts thinking about slut shaming her mother. The next morning, the babysitter (Sophia) is in the shower, giving us all a reason to continue watching, when the camera pans back to reveal Woody sitting front row center enjoying the show. Then Zoe comes in an snatches him up an acts all catty to the babysitter like she's trying to steal her man an storms off. When questioned about it, she tells Mom that Woody just wanted to get an idea of how everything works after hearing Mom's skull bouncing off the head board the night before. To diffuse this awkward moment, Mom gives Zoe the doll she was supposed to get for her birthday, only she likes Woody better an freaks out when Mom tells her she has to take him back to the evidence locker. Once Zoe goes to school, Mom tries to repo the doll, but all she finds is the massacred body of the new doll an Sophia tells her that Zoe took Woody to school with her. As usual, Mom's one step behind the 8 ball.
At school, Beth's still a little cranky about having only one ear to get pierced an chucks Woody over the fence. Woody's pissed, an he's also a man of action. As Beth rides by on her bike, he jams a rake handle into her spokes an sends her sailing through the air into the path of an oncoming bus. Unfortunately, she's too short to take any real damage, but the bus driver picks her up an jostles her spine around real good just in case. The following day, Mom's got another winner for a client. This guy tells her that the TV told him to meat hook some guy an turn him into a flame broiled Whopper with a blow torch. Apparently it also told him to record it on tape, an even though Mom knows he's guilty an likely to re-offend, after she's done puking, she's gonna defend him anyway. That's how much she BELIEVES in our judicial system. So, since Mom is still downtown trying to rationalize her defense of the flame broiler, David is stuck watching Zoe. Once he sends her to bed, she an Woody need to have a serious talk. But Woody's pretty slick an he side steps the subject an explains how Mom would have a lot more time to hang out with them if they put Xs over Davids eyelids. She don't wanna, but she's beginning to realize she doesn't have a great deal of control in this relationship an Woody goes downstairs. He lures David into the basement so he can slam the door into his face when he tries to leave an cracks his melon open all over the floor an leaks Smuckers premium preserves all over the place. But Zoe calls 911 before too much leaks out an she tells Woody he's got a lotta 'splainin to do. He again dodges the question an tells her they'd probably better kill off Sophia, cause she's got a hot bod an he could really get used to watching it all day instead of bein Zoe's pal. Later on, in therapy, she tries to blame everything on Woody, but he starts screwin' with her head an tellin' her she's the one that left the doorknob print in David's face an her brain starts to melt like an 8 track tape on the dashboard in August. That Night, Woody's beginning to find this whole situation a bit of a drag, an tells Zoe that if she'll cut his strings, he'll turn into a real boy, an he'll never do anything bad ever again. Certainly none of that terrible stuff he's been threatening to do for the last several days, so Zoe agrees an cuts his strings an he promptly heads down to the hospital to "talk" to David an explain to him that he's a talking doll that just happens to enjoy killing as a hobby, an that Zoe's just his cover.
She tries to follow him only his 13" legs are way too fast an she ends up having to give up an go home. But when Woody arrives at David's hospital room, he does all his talkin' by yanking David's life support out of the socket an watching him spaz out until he flat-lines. Shortly thereafter, David's mother calls an tells Mom that he'll never again prune her hedges an she gets sad face. To make matters worse, the following morning, the psychiatrist plays the tape of Zoe arguing with the doll while he was out of the room. He wants to commit her, but Mom tells him that if he even thinks about it she's gonna abuse her power to the fullest an get his license pulled, cause she's not a bad mother, SHE'S NOT SHE'S NOT SHE'S NOT. She's sure Zoe's fine an that this whole thinking her doll's a butcher thing is just a phase, although she is interested to know why Zoe's clothes from the night before were mud caked an why it coincides with David goin' to the lawn and garden aisle in the sky. Zoe says she didn't do it, but she thinks Woody prolly did, on account of him saying he was gonna do it. Mom's had it. She's on the brink of having to actually deal with the situation an locks Woody up in the truck of her car in a last ditch effort to avoid the problem. But he's been in worse spots than this, an pretty quick a point of view midget is running through the house, scooping up knives an hovering over Mom as she sleeps. But it's okay, it's just Zoe. She's protecting Mom from the fiend. Still another day passes, no closer to getting the situation dealt with, an Mom tells Sophia that Zoe's not going to school today cause she can't afford anymore medical lawsuits this week. Zoe tells Sophia that she's worried Woody's gonna turn Mom into Hamburger Helper, but Sophia helpfully reminds her about the cricket she caught, to serve as his conscience so he'll quit putting people in the intensive care unit. Then Zoe gets this look on her face like she just remembered her final project for science class is due today an she hadn't even started yet. She rushes upstairs to find the cricket's been mashed into a gooey mess an screams like she just found out Mom gave away her My Little Pony collection. Sophia runs upstairs to check on her when she's blind sided by a fire poker that won't stop puncturing her face until it ends up looking like placenta. Later that evening Mom returns home, an we're ready for the grand conclusion of Pinocchio's Revenge.
Okay, so that got a little long. As Joe Bob Briggs would say, we've got way too much plot getting in the way of the story. But I've been thinking about the title on this one, Pinocchio's Revenge. Doesn't make a lot of sense, does it? Seems like Pinocchio really hasn't had anything negative happen to him in his entire existence, exactly what is he trying to avenge? Nothing, he's got nothing to avenge. So, what's with the title? Well, I have a theory. Somehow you knew I would. Looks like to me, Pinocchio's Revenge really comes when one of the actors that appeared in it tries to get work. They hand the casting director their portfolio, they see Pinocchio's Revenge in the list, an the actor is promptly given the "don't call us, we'll call you" line. Seriously, this movie's killed more acting careers than Joe McCarthy. Take a look on the IMDB sometime an you'll notice that after they were in this, their careers come to an abrupt halt, or noticeably slow down. Not everyone in the cast, but there really are a lot of them that do. So I theorize that the creators knew how bad it was an gave it this title for the irony. I've gotta be honest though, it really isn't all that bad. It's bad, but I've seen plenty worse. After awhile you can generally predict what the rating of any given movie is going to be on the IMDB, I guessed slightly lower than the 3.9 it currently holds. 27% on Rotten Tomatoes. It must be terrible to go through life with such high standards. Day in and day out, disappointment. To each their own I suppose. It's got a killer doll, so all the cretinous denizens of the internet are going to scream Child's Play rip off before the opening credits roll. Amusingly enough, not only would they consider themselves insightful for knowing that a somewhat similar movie preceded it, but they know so little that they fail to realize that Child's Play was hardly the first movie that featured a killer doll. But it's the best known, so they go with it. Lazy. God damn lazy, ignorant people. By that logic, Child's Play ripped off Devil Doll, an Devil Doll probably ripped off something I'm unfamiliar with. The difference is, I'm not trying to appear as an all knowing oracle. That said, no one can discount the similarity between it and Child's Play, at least near the end when the little creep is stabbing a kitchen knife through the door an pierces Rosalind Allen's hand. It's almost shot for shot the sequence from Child's Play where Chuck is trying to stab Catherine Hicks. Other than that, it's a doll. That's it.
So, onto the specifics. The acting is decent. But Rosalind Allen definitely has moments of ineptitude. The opening court room sequence comes to mind, it almost looked like maybe she'd forgotten her lines an suddenly remembered them an spit 'em out to try to salvage the scene. Course, you can do another take, but they don't seem to have done that. So she's got some iffy moments, but really, considering she's the lead an shows her tits, she's okay. Odd, that. The leads seldom show even partial nudity. That's what they hired Candace McKenzie for, an she's going to be what everyone remembers about the movie. The only interesting casting choices are Verne Troyer as Pinocchio for the 10 or so seconds he's on screen, during which it's far too dark to see him. Poor Verne would probably love to get this off his resume at this point in his career. Also, perhaps even more amusing, is Pinocchio's voice actor. It's not Verne, it's Dick Beals, the guy who voiced Gumby back in the 60s. It's good to see that the generation that came before me is having its childhood memories raped with a rusty railroad spike as well. So what else, shooting locations, meh. A house, a court room, an office, a few seconds in a hospital an a few seconds in the woods near the beginning. Adequate, but they provide no atmosphere or any real interest. Mostly, they're looking to the plot for the atmosphere, an there honestly is a reasonable amount. If you're not watching a movie featuring a killer doll so that you can complain about the idea of a killer doll later, you'll find the plot good enough. Not as interesting as Child's Play or Dolly Dearest, but it gets the job done.
Oh, The Pit also predates Child's Play and has a teddy bear that speaks to the main character. People need to stop using the "rip off" expression entirely, because quite frankly, there are no new ideas. Only re-imaginings or groupings of old ones. I don't wanna have to mention this again. Do these people realize that by their logic, anyone who lived before them an led a similar life, has branded their entire existence a rip off of that person that preceded them? Course they don't, they're big shit. The man of the hour, tower of power. To hot to handle, too cold to hold. Have I mentioned I don't care for people much? Anyway, soundtrack isn't too bad. Honestly didn't take much notice of it, which means it's working as intended. Providing atmosphere an staying in the background where it belongs. The special effects... well the doll's performance is a little wooden. Somewhat stiff at times. I think they'd have benefited a lot from using the foam puppet whose face can be manipulated to give the appearance of speech more often. But it's really not a good looking puppet, an I understand that it's supposed to look that way because it was to be carved from wood, but that doesn't mean I have to like it. But I've certainly seen worse puppeteering for the action shots. Watch Curse of the Puppet Master sometime an tell me this looks bad. Overall, it's watchable, but really has little stand out value, and if it sticks in anyone's memory for a lengthy amount of time, it'll be on the strength of Candace McKenzie's nekkidness. Give it a shot if you're truly low on ideas, if nothing else, I wouldn't say it's boring.