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Pinocchio's Revenge

An executed murderer's doll is adopted by his lawyer's daughter, and soon people start dying.

Genre - Genre Classics

Director(s) - Kevin Tenney

Writer(s) - Kevin Tenney

Cast - Rosalind Allen and Brittany Alyse Smith

Blue Rider's Role - Producers

Distributor(s) - Vidmark Entertainment

Release Date - 1996

Synopsis - A woman lawyer brings home a Pinocchio doll that belonged to her client, who is accused of murdering his son. The client is convicted and executed, even though she believes him innocent. Her daughter finds the doll, thinks it is a birthday present for her and becomes very attached to it. Soon, people start dying.

Award for Pinocchio's Revenge:
It was nominated for the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films' 1997 Best Home Video Release Award.

Critics' Kudos:
Egregious Gurnow, HorrorReview.com: "Director Kevin Tenney unequivocally presents us with the murderer writ large, but he induces audience trepidation by way of masterful, Carpenter-esque cinematography. Tenney’s work is a prime example of a 'slow burn' work of horror, for he takes over half the film to develop his plot by way of his characters. Early in the film, we are witness to Zoe engaging in playground school violence to little consequence. However, these scenes are essential in that he develops and sustains the ambiguity as to the killer’s true identity for, we can argue that the doll which Zoe claims is responsible for the murders we see later in the film is due to the doll being the gift of the late killer to his dead son. Conversely, having displayed aggressive behavior prior to the doll’s introduction in her life, Zoe can readily be viewed as the culpable party. Granted, we see the doll move and talk, but cunningly, Tenney reassures us that we cannot trust what we are being given. Tenney further compounds the issue by implying that the character might well be mentally unstable, thus, by induction, lending more weight to the possibility that Zoe is the homicidal perpetrator.

"Tenney’s film achieves its goal splendidly: to present and sustain a little over and hour-and-a-half of anxiety-filled horror, subsidized by plausible, circumstantial ambiguity."

Dave Johnson, DVD Verdict: "The mechanics of the film aren't half-bad. The acting is capable, especially Rosalind Allen as the concerned—-and hot-—mother. Young Brittany Smith pulls off the kid-[screwed]-up-in-the-head routine well. Kevin Tenney does his darndest to manufacture tension and suspense, but none of that can overcome the inherent goofiness that is the premise. Tenney is after suspense and mystery to generate his scares, not graphic slayings.

"Tenney does manage to cover that other most-hallowed of horror conventions: full-frontal shower nudity, where the hot nanny finds herself being leered at by Pinocchio. I'll leave you to construe your own 'woody' jokes."

Doug Pratt, DVD Laser:
"We liked Pinocchio's Revenge. The Vidmark Entertainment Laserdisc release is your typical evil puppet thriller, where it remains somewhat ambiguous as to whether the puppet really is doing the killing or if its owner, a young girl, is psychotic. The film is competently executed and achieves the right mix of humor and earnest mayhem. The picture looks good, with calm but accurate colors and a reasonably sharp focus. The Ultra-Stereo surround sound is super and adds to the show's pleasures."

Sean Caszett, The Projectionist: "When defense attorney Jennifer Garrick (Rosalind Allen) brings home evidence in the form of a Pinocchio marionette created by convicted killer Vincent Gotto (Lewis Van Bergen), her daughter, Zoe (Brittany Alyse Smith), thinks it's her new birthday present. Zoe becomes very attached to the doll and refuses to give it up. Zoe's behavior becomes a little strange and, suddenly, strange things begin happening around the house.

"Jennifer's live-in nanny, Sophia (Candace McKenzie), finds the puppet watching her in the shower, providing some gratuitous nudity in the process. Sophia begins to suspect something is up, but events take a turn for the worse after Pinocchio appears to strike back against Zoe's enemies at school.

"The film is directed and written by Kevin Tenney, who's responsible for such gems as Witchboard and Night of the Demons. Tenney attempts a psychological approach to the slasher film.

"The performances are surprisingly good for this type of film. Lewis Van Bergen, whom some people may recognize from The Relic, is effective as Vincent Gotto, who takes the secret of Pinocchio to his grave. Brittany Alyse Smith's Zoe manages to be somewhat entertaining without being annoying. Rosalind Allen's Jennifer Garrick shows the range of emotion necessary when discovering your daughter's playthings may be murdering the guests."

Viewers' Ratings:
Of the 353 people polled at The Internet Movie Database (through March 8, 2007), the demographic group liking it best (surprise, surprise!) was males aged 17 and younger (who rated it 6 out of 10).

Major Cast and Crew Credits and Awards:
Director is Kevin Tenney (Peacemaker, Endangered Species and five films in Josten/Geoffray’s Night of the Demons and Witchboard series).

Writer is also Kevin Tenney (Tick Tock, Endangered Species, Witchboard, Witchtrap).

Stars Rosalind Allen (Naked Gun 33 1/3, Three Men and a Little Lady, Children of the Corn II: The Final Sacrifice, 8 Million Ways to Die) and Brittany Alyse Smith (A Goofy Movie, Fly Boy, Treasure of Pirate's Point, Just in Time).

The cast includes Thomas Wagner (Twins, Father of the Bride, Sea of Love, My Blue Heaven, Action Jackson, True Believer); Todd Allen (Collateral Damage, 48 Hrs., The Postman, Silverado, Wyatt Earp, Grand Canyon, Mask, Witchboard); Aaron Lustig (Edward Scissorhands, The Day After Tomorrow, The Relic, Darkman, Thank You For Smoking, Clear and Present Danger, Ghostbusters II; Daytime Emmy nom for The Young and the Restless); Larry Cedar (Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Constantine, Deadwood, Hollywoodland, Kiss the Girls, El Norte); Candace MacKenzie (Frank Finds Out); Lewis Van Bergen (The Relic, Bugsy, Stir Crazy, Fighting Back, Hard Country); Ivan Gueron (Invader, I'm Dangerous Tonight); Janis Chow (The Pretender, Charmed); Janet MacLachlan (The Thirteenth Floor, The Tuskegee Airmen, Sounder, The Man, Heart and Souls) and Ron Canada (Wedding Crashers, Cinderella Man, National Treasure, Home Alone 2: Lost in New York, The American President, Just Like Heaven; Lone Star Film Award for Best Supporting Actor for Lone Star).

The Executive Producer is Mark Amin (Frida, Eve's Bayou, Leprechaun, The Dentist, Kicking and Screaming, Love and a .45 and Leprechaun 4: In Space).

The Producers are Walter Josten (The Groomsmen, Witchboard, Then She Found Me: Emmy for The Incredible Mrs. Ritchie; 29 other films and TV projects) and Jeff Geoffray (Around the World in 80 Days, Behind the Red Door, Shergar and 24 other films and TV projects).

Original Music by Dennis Michael Tenney (Crush, Pursuit of Happiness, Macon County Jail, Storm Catcher).

Cinematography by Eric Roy Anderson (Night Screams, Sunset Strip, Kid Cop, Bloodstone and Yellow Bird).

Film Editing by Daniel Duncan (Night of the Demons, Witchboard, Leprechaun 3, Chain of Command, Guardian, The Pandora Project).

Production Design by Candi Guterres (Chasing Papi, Held for Ransom, Hijack, Memorial Day, Attack of the 60-Foot Centerfolds).

Set Decoration by Karin Bagan (Streets of Rage, Women: Stories of Passion).

Special Effects by Brian Goehring (Spider-Man 3, Spider-Man 2, War of the Worlds, Species, The Village, Charlotte's Web, The Cat in the Hat) and Dana Klaren (Godzilla, Jack Frost, Willard, The Arrival, Little Witches).

Career Launch:
This was the debut film for diminutive Verne Troyer (Men in Black, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, Austin Powers in Goldmember, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, Wishmaster, My Giant; won an MTV Movie Award and three other nominations for Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me).







Links:
Internet Movie Database entry for Pinocchio's Revenge

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