Pinocchio's Revenge (1996)
Starring: Candace McKenzie, Lewis Van Bergen, Ivan Gueron
I picture this as the movie Child's Play would have been if it did stay with the "did the kid did it or was it the doll?" plot. Of course, with the kind of budget the original Child Play had, I'm confident it would have done a little better than this but seeing that franchise did fairly well as a slasher franchise, let see what this low-key thriller had to offer on its own.
I remember watching this as a a kid barely out of his toddler years via VHS and again as a preteen via cable TV. Of course, I was scared out of my wits at my first round but as I got a little older, I begin to wonder why does it take so long to get around the scary parts. Now, as I write this review, I know.
Rosalind plays Jennifer Garrick, a defense attorney who's currently preventing the conviction of a man charged of multiple child murders, including that of his own son. Strangely, however, the man is more than willing to fry under the chair, claiming that he did do it, and with her defenses overruled, the state had him executed despite her effort.
So, she failed to keep a guy from dying for a crime he may or may not had committed, least she had something to look up for once she gets home, right?
Well, it may not be as bad as getting your client to die at the hands of the government, but Jennifer's daughter Zoe is acting up lately regarding the fact that her father ran away with some girl he kept from the family, getting fights in school and is constantly haunted by night terrors.
While Jennifer is trying her best to turn her daughter's life around for the best, stranger things suddenly plague their household when a missing piece of evidence suddenly appeared on her desk: a wooden puppet boy made by the executed father, supposedly for his son. Not knowing what to do with it, she kept the toy hidden but Zoe finds it, mistaking it as a present, and forms an obsessive bond with her new friend "Pinocchio".
Soon, accidents and deaths are abound, all of which Zoe blames on Pinocchio. Could she be right, or is there a far more sinister force at work?
Seeing how this is made by Kevin Tenney of the solid cult classic Night of the Demons (1988), I'm a little disappointed to what I see here: generic plotting, badly acted characters and some of the hokiest looking practical effects I've seen that's more laughable now than frightening. The only factor that excels here is the questionable nature of the murders.
Though the bodycount is particularly low, these scenes are well built from the start and it does have you guessing whether the doll is committing these or not. But once we figure out in the end who's the real culprit, the movie doesn't stop making you wonder whether the rubbery looking marionette is behind it or if its presence is nothing but pure coincidence.
With much of the movie's marketing and the cheesy title itself to blame, Pinocchio's Revenge is misleading in regards for those who were expecting a Child's Play rip-off. Sending most of its part as a thriller, the whodunit element is well done but the lack of any exciting action (horror-wise) renders the film a tad dull if not cliched. Just trim off the nudity and you might as well have a made-for-TV thriller here that's bound to scare the pants off any youngsters, or make a good timewaster before you doze off for work the next day.
We may never know what Pinocchio's is revenging for but for a cheesy horror thriller, it had its moments. Makes a good rental if you're up to it.
1 boy seen murdered
2 children seen dead
1 male executed via electric chair
1 male had his life support turned off
1 female beaten to death with a fire poker