By CAROLYN MAURICETTE
Starring Bill Oberst Jr., Bill Moseley, Jake Red, Kyle Anderson, Cody Cameron
Directed by Jeff Broadstreet (Roy G. Biv)
Written by Donald Borza II and J.S. Brinkley
A puppet horror movie can be quite effective, especially when you’ve got psychologically damaging ones like Anthony Hopkins in MAGIC, or bloodthirsty killer puppets a la Charles Band’s PUPPET MASTER fame. They’re examples of a good balance of tone, performance and comedy. DEVIL’S JUNCTION: HANDY DANDY’S REVENGE goes for broke with all of these elements, and sadly, the results don’t measure up.
Stefan (Jake Red) is eager to show his friends the decrepit television studio his father Richard (Bill Moseley, TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE PART 2, 3 FROM HELL) has bought as a site for a condo development. He’s hoping his father will change his mind and let Stefan use the building for a model-filled, pro athlete hot spot. Little does he know that Richard bought the building to avenge a childhood friend’s death at the hands of Mr. Jolly (Bill Oberst Jr., 3 FROM HELL, LIFECHANGER), an evil magician who starred in a 60’s children’s show with his puppet Handy Dandy. Mr. Jolly still inhabits the studio where his show was taped, along with his army of killer ventriloquist puppets. When Stefan and his friends visit the building to celebrate his possible new venture on a rare night of a blood moon, Mr. Jolly and his puppets terrorize them, and Richard must overcome the evil magician and family secrets to save their lives.
What seems like a fun horror film becomes a slog when it takes itself too seriously. Director Jeff Broadstreet didn’t do anyone any favors with this attempt at puppets gone bad. With lackluster performances and cheap effects (even for an indie film), writers Donald Borza II and J.S. Brinkley threw everything but the kitchen sink into the script with Free Masons, juggalos, Templar knights, and magic. There isn’t one good part of this film, and the people I feel the most for are the two Bills, who deserved more as horror veterans, and the band No Resolve who did the title song, “Kill Us” which conjures too many bad jokes to be fair.
Check it out if you dare. It opened with a limited release October 18 in Los Angeles and on DVD November 8.