Pinocchio’s Revenge (1996)

pinocchios-revenge-dvd-coverThe real villain in Pinocchio’s Revenge is of course the mother, Jennifer. While it is either her crazy daughter Zoey, her killer puppet Pinocchio or a combination of both of them killing everyone (and by “everyone” I mean exactly two), Jennifer is the self-absorbed defense attorney who allows it all to happen even when she is presented with videotaped evidence that her daughter is insane.

Most parents upon seeing video of their kid arguing with a puppet about who really hurt the boyfriend would be understandably upset, but would also surely see the child needs to be locked up until she stops bickering with a wood carving. Jennifer’s response? She threatens to use her legal resources to have the doctor’s license pulled if he tells anyone about his concerns! Typical defense attorney, right?

Jennifer isn’t content to take a piss all over some doctor’s expertise though. She’s more than willing to overlook mountains of evidence that’s right in her face at home, too! When the boyfriend is killed at the hospital, she finds out that her daughter left that night looking for the hospital! Even better is that Jennifer wakes up in the middle of the night to find Zoey standing next to her bed with a butcher knife! Zoey knows what a slow learner her mom is and lamely explains she was just standing guard to protect mom from Pinocchio! I’m guessing the law school Jennifer graduated from wasn’t Harvard or Yale.

If you’re thinking that this all makes about as much sense as one of the crappier iterations of the Child’s Play franchise starring that lovable killer doll, Chucky, you’re being overly optimistic. Because it makes no sense! Do you know why a wooden puppet is alive and killing people or at least making a deranged little kid do it? I don’t know! It was never explained!

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Pinocchio’s Revenge is the sort of slow moving film that devotes an inordinate amount of time to backstory that somehow never actually provides the backstory to what is happening! Pinocchio was carved by a guy who also killed his kid and maybe a bunch of other kids. Jennifer is his attorney and is convinced he is protecting someone. Eventually she comes to believe that it may be possible that an evil force like a demon may be possessing Pinocchio and that Pinocchio may have made this guy’s kid kill all these other kids. Then he killed his kid to stop all the other killings. Or something. It all sounds like the rantings of a failed parent trying to rationalize how her job and divorce haven’t irrevocably damaged her kid. And it never explains how or why Pinocchio got his bad attitude in the first place!

I wanted to like that creepy little wooden turd, I really did. Pinocchio came out of the gate slowly but with a lot of potential. He’s an ugly thing with gigantic blue eyes who’s built so rickety that I feared for Pinocchio’s structural integrity when a mean girl at school threw him over a fence. Thankfully those fears were unfounded and Pinocchio arranged for that girl to get run over by a school bus shortly thereafter.

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Pinocchio is pretty bad ass the few times he’s unleashed, accumulating a small laundry list of misdeeds including destroying another doll that Zoey’s mom bought her, pushing Zoey’s mom’s boyfriend down the basement stairs, pulling the plug on him in the hospital, beating the sexy nanny to death, trying to beat Zoey’s mom to death, and most awesome of all, peeping the sexy nanny while she takes a completely gratuitous shower! He’s no perv though because as Zoey explains to her mom later, Pinocchio was only interested in women’s bodies because he heard mom and boyfriend screwing the crap out of each other last night! Haha! Take that, slut mom!

The movie though never wants to make up its mind whether Pinocchio is really out there getting his slasher on or whether it’s just the demented girl that mom’s too busy attending the executions of her client to pay enough attention to.

We only see Pinocchio run around a little bit, but was that really just the crazed imagination of Zoey? After all, when Zoey’s mom throws the attacking Pinocchio through a glass table, she looks up to see her own daughter laying there and not the doll. And mom needs to be locked up as much as the kid because even at the end of the movie, she’s not buying that her daughter is to blame. Right! It’s your fault for putting your career and sex needs above your kid, Jennifer!

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The history of movies demonstrates that killer dolls and puppets are one of our greatest film genres, but Pinocchio’s Revenge gets tangled up in the wires of its own concept, refusing to explain anything that’s going on and focusing on a puppet that barely does anything but stand awkwardly around leering at the camera. The movie attempts to use the uncertainty as to whether it’s the puppet or the kid responsible for the mayhem as a way to avoid all sorts of plot holes.

Like how could either a puppet or kid find a hospital in the middle of the night and unplug a machine so that a guy dies without anyone at the hospital noticing. And shouldn’t there be some kind of monitor so that when the patient starts to flatline, the nurses are alerted? Or how does the puppet escape the trunk of Jennifer’s car? Or why does a mother think it’s appropriate for her daughter to have a puppet made by a guy who murdered his own child? And why was the nanny killed? She was the only one nice to Zoey in the whole movie. And why couldn’t the film even show Pinocchio’s nose growing whenever he killed, except for some lame shadow on the wall? And who really smashed the cricket that Zoey captured to be Pinocchio’s conscience?

Still, Pinocchio’s Revenge is an important cautionary tale that makes the case that career-minded and really horny mothers make crappy parents.

© 2016 MonsterHunter

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