Full Moon Entertainment head Charles Band knew even before the company’s 1992 release Demonic Toys had reached video store shelves that he wanted to make a crossover film featuring the movie’s killer toys encountering characters from another Full Moon property. In fact, in the Video Zone behind-the-scenes featurette that followed the movie, Band himself announced, with promo art and all, that the Demonic Toys would be returning to do battle with the Puppet Master puppets in Puppet Master IV, which was soon to go into production.
That didn’t happen. Puppet Master 4 became a different story, and although Full Moon tried for years to get Puppet Master vs. Demonic Toys together, it didn’t get made until 2004, when Full Moon sold it to the Sci-Fi Channel.
While the puppets were off dealing with their own story, Band decided to instead cross the Demonic Toys over with another character from the Full Moon library – Brick Bardo, a.k.a. Dollman, played by Tim Thomerson in the 1991 film directed by Albert Pyun. Band saw the police officer from the planet Arturos, who crash landed on Earth to find that he stands just thirteen inches tall on our planet, as a sort of “tiny James Bond”, he wanted to make a whole series of Dollman adventures, so why not start the sequels off by pitting the character against the Demonic Toys?
Bardo had previously made a cameo at the end of another 1992 Full Moon movie, Bad Channels, in which he was seen making his way to the small town of Pahoota to introduce himself to a young woman who had been shrunken down to his size by an alien that took over a radio station.
Of the people had been shrunk over the course of Bad Channels, including nurse Ginger, teenager Bunny, and waitress Cookie, the only one who remained miniature at the end of the film was Bunny. In his cameo, Bardo says he’s going to Pahoota to meet Bunny. For reasons I’m not clear on, the crossover retcons the still-shrunken one to be nurse Ginger. Maybe Bunny actress Daryl Strauss didn’t want to return, maybe they thought it would be odd to pair Dollman with a teenager, I don’t know. Whatever the case, it’s Melissa Behr’s tiny nurse Ginger that Bardo hooks up with in Pahoota.
An interview with Dollman and Ginger catches the attention of police officer Judith Grey, the heroine from Demonic Toys. Ever since the horrific events that transpired at the Toyland Warehouse a year earlier, Judith has been staking the place out, sure that the demonic activity there is not truly finished.
She’s right. When a drunken homeless man breaks into the warehouse, tries to take a tricycle for a spin, falls over and busts his head, his blood brings the Demonic Toys back into our world: foul-mouthed baby doll Baby Oopsy-Daisy, razor-toothed clown jack-in-the-box Jack Attack, and lazer-blasting robot Mr. Static have returned, this time with their teddy bear cohort from their first movie replaced by a psychotic soldier called Zombietoid.
Judith can’t get the police force to believe her story about the killer toys, so she recruits Dollman and Ginger to help her raid Toyland and take the Demonic Toys down once and for all.
There’s not much to Dollman vs. Demonic Toys. The movie runs just 64 minutes, and that’s including a 4 minute title sequence, a 4 minute end credit sequence, and a bunch of stock footage flashbacks to Dollman, Demonic Toys, and Bad Channels in between.
Its story may be overly simplistic, but the film – written by Craig Hamann and directed by Charles Band – does deliver on what the title promises. The heroes arrive at Toyland at the 35 minute point, and from then on it’s all action as this mixture of characters from multiple franchises face off against each other.
Due to the size Bardo and Ginger are supposed to be, that means the Demonic Toys are actually around the same size or bigger than them, requiring the toys to be brought to life not just through puppetry but also by actors inside suits on oversized sets. For example, when Tim Thomerson and Melissa Behr are on a set with Baby Oopsy-Daisy, the baby doll is actually being portrayed by a performer in a costume that stood eight feet tall.
Although the baby doll was a female in the first movie, Oopsy becomes a male in this sequel and was given an awesomely goofy voice by highly prolific (more than 700 credits!) voice actor Frank Welker. Oopsy’s sex change is important to the plot, given that the demonic scheme at play is that Oopsy is going to be inhabited by the spirit of his evil master at midnight, become anatomically correct, and then impregnate Ginger with a child that will be his master’s Earthly vessel.
The fights and interactions between the characters are highly entertaining, having the Demonic Toys encounter actors on their scale was a really fun idea. Bardo tussles with Zombietoid, shoots it out with Mr. Static, Ginger gets chased around by the monstrous Jack Attack, Thomerson and Behr have to play scenes with the ridiculous looking Oopsy.
At one point, Dollman gets captured and there’s a toybox variation on a classic torture/murder device: he’s tied between two RC cars operated by Oopsy that threaten to tear him apart if Oopsy hits the accelerator toggles.
The final fight takes place in a dollhouse bedroom. Dollman vs. Demonic Toys is extremely silly, it knows it, and I love it.
Much like he is as Jack Deth in Full Moon’s Trancers series, Tim Thomerson is the epitome of cool in the role of Brick Bardo. I really wish Band’s plans for the character had come to fruition, because I would have loved to have gotten a long-running series of Dollman movies. As it is, Dollman’s second full adventure is still, as of twenty-one years later, also his last adventure. I guess he and Ginger have gone on to live even more happily ever after than Band intended.