Kelly M. Hudson
A kid gets a strange gift under the Christmas tree with a warning on it that says, “Do Not Open Until Christmas.” He grabs it up and is going to open it anyway when his father catches him and sends him to his room. The father, intrigued because he knows the present didn’t come from him or his wife, opens it. A toy is inside. A deadly toy. It kills the father as the boy watches on in shocked horror. And this is pretty much the story of this movie: killer toy gifts murder the unsuspecting. In the midst of this we meet the toymaker himself and his weird son, who are both obviously behind these bizarre murders. We also learn more about the boy and his widowed mother, as well as her friend (who happens to be the main girl from the previous entry, Kim, or at least they hint she is, because she wears a crystal necklace and talks vaguely about “what she went through”), the real father of the boy who is the estranged lover of the mother, and Clint Howard has a cameo as, yes, I believe the same character as from Part 4. So if this seems a bit soap operaish, it is. In the end, none of that matters, because killer toys are on the loose and the kid and his mom either have to destroy them or find a way to escape. If not, they are doomed!
Silent Night, Deadly Night 5: The Toy Maker is (I think) a direct sequel to 4 but they’re only connected by the main characters in the previous film (who are background characters here), and by the filmmakers themselves. It feels like they’re setting up their own weird universe, where these odd and deeply strange stories happen in the same town. Which his pretty cool, and since it is never explicitly explained, they leave it up to the viewer to connect the dots. Or not. You don’t need to see any other movie in this shambling wreck of a franchise to get into this one. The best parts are the toys that “come to life to kill.” It’s executed much like the Puppet Master movies only a bit more bizarre. There’s some sleazy sex thrown into the mix, and while the violence isn’t too bloody, it is often portrayed as painful (the guy getting the bottom of his foot slashed by a blade=Ouchy!). This is all well and good and keeps you pretty entertained up until the end, when things get really fucking weird and totally unbelievable (I won’t spoil it for you here) but actually, fantastically, works. Because at that point, it’s all so whacked-out so why they hell not throw in a whole Pinocchio twist? (oops, did kind of spoil it there—sorry)
For sure check this out if you’re into weird shit. This will please the hell out of you. It’s not as bizarre as Part 4 but it’s pretty damned entertaining. I really would have liked to see more stories set in this world but I guess the franchise mostly dried up after this one. A good Christmas treat for those who haven’t seen it yet, and a nice town to revisit for your Holiday Horror needs.