Director – Peter Manoogian, Screenplay – David S. Goyer, Based on an Idea by Charles Band, Producer – Anne Kelly, Photography – Adolfo Bartoli, Music – Richard Band, Songs – Joker, Stop Motion Animation – David Allen, Yancy Calzada & Chris Endicott, Special Effects Supervisor – Kevin McCarthy, Makeup/Creature Effects – Magical Media Industries, Inc., Production Design – Billy Jett. Production Company – Full Moon Entertainment/
Tracy Scoggins (Judith Gray), Bentley Mitchum (Mark Wayne), Michael Russo (Lincoln), Daniel Cerny (The Kid), Pete Schrum (Charnetski), Ellen Dunning (Anne), Jeff Weston (Matt Cable), Barry Lynch (Hesse), William Thorne (Fair-Haired Boy), Larry Cedar (Peterson)
Police detective Judith Gray breaks the news to her partner and real-life lover Matt Cable that she is pregnant. They then go to an undercover meet to bust two arms dealers but Matt is shot and killed. Judith pursues the two men as they flee into a toy warehouse. She apprehends the surviving dealer only to find she has accidentally locked the both of them inside a storage room. She is able to attract the attention of the security guard Charnetski and visiting pizza delivery boy Mark Wayne to release them. However, the toys come to life and start attacking people. As they are hunted through the building by the toys that become stronger with each person they kill, Judith is contacted by the demon that lies buried beneath the building and controls the toys. It now announces that intends to rebirth itself in her unborn child.
Demonic Toys was one of the films from Full Moon Entertainment, the company headed by father and son Albert and Charles Band that produced a good deal of low-budget genre material for the video market during the 1990s. At Full Moon and their earlier Empire studio, the Bands had made a number of films centred around malevolent dolls beginning with Dolls (1987). Following the success of the mainstream-released Child’s Play (1988), the Bands made Puppetmaster (1989), which has spawned an incredible nine sequels to date. The Bands have made a number of other doll-themed films with the likes of Dollman (1990), The Creeps/Deformed Monsters (1997), Blood Dolls (1999), Doll Graveyard (2005), Dangerous Worry Dolls (2008) and Devildolls (2012).
Demonic Toys is entertaining B-budget fun – although not quite as much fun as either Puppetmaster or Blood Dolls were. The Demonic Toys are wonderfully malicious looking creations. These include the likes of a jack-in-the-box that bites a victim’s face off; a nasty teddy bear; a toy robot that shoots laser beams from its guns. The ringleader of the group is a standard baby face doll that wanders about calling people “fat fucks” or talking about how it “shit in its pants,” while picking up handguns.
The effects work from Magical Media Industries, who serviced most of the Band films of this period, are typically cheap but perfectly acceptable for what is required of them in the film. The location has been economically contained to within a single warehouse for almost the entire running time. On the minus side, there is never much more to the film beyond the provision of these cheap doll effects at regular intervals.
These Full Moon films are often fascinating for the young unknown names on the credits. One of the surprises about Demonic Toys is that it was one of the first screenplay credits for David S. Goyer who started out writing a couple of films for Full Moon with this and Arcade (1994) and subsequently went on to become a high-profile screenwriter mostly known for comic-book adaptations such as The Crow: City of Angels (1996), Blade (1998), Blade II (2002), Blade Trinity (2004), Batman Begins (2005), Batman: Gotham Knight (2008), The Dark Knight (2008), The Dark Knight Rises (2012), Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance (2012), Man of Steel (2013), Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016) and Terminator: Dark Fate (2019) and the tv pilot Nick Fury, Agent of Shield (1998). Goyer has also produced the genre tv series’ Sleepwalkers (1997) about dream researchers, FreakyLinks (2000) about paranormal investigators, Threshold (2005) about the investigation of a UFO, the film adaptation of the Marvel Comic Ghost Rider (2007), the tv series Flash Forward (2009-10) about a mysterious worldwide premonition, the tv series DaVinci’s Demons (2013-5) about a fantastical secret history of Leonardo Da Vinci, the tv series adaptation of Constantine (2014-5), the ghost story The Forest (2016), the robot dog film A-X-L (2018), the animated web series Constantine: City of Demons (2018), the Superman prequel tv series Krypton (2018-9), the A.I. film Tau (2018), the ghost story The Night House (2020). the wendigo film Antlers (2021), the tv series’ Foundation (2021- ) and The Sandman (2022- ), and the remake of Hellraiser (2022). As director, Goyer has made the fine non-genre ZigZag (2002) about a troubled autistic kid, Blade Trinity (2004), The Invisible (2007) about a disembodied teenager and the possession film The Unborn (2009).
Full Moon subsequently crossed the Demonic Toys over with their other series in Dollman Vs. the Demonic Toys (1993) and Puppetmaster vs the Demonic Toys (2004) and then spun them out in the standalone sequel Demonic Toys: Personal Demons (2010).
Peter Manoogian directed several other Band films, including one of the episodes of The Dungeonmaster (1984) and the full-length likes of Eliminators (1986), Enemy Territory (1987), Arena (1989) and Seedpeople (1992).