This 9 year-old film is a real shocker due to the dreadful cinematography and acting rather than the gore epiphanies it singularly lacks. Only a movie that was directed and produced by its main actor could have a lead this ugly! And when I say ugly I mean hideous! Keith Singleton as Paul Chandler will make horny masochists everywhere very happy, and turn the rest of us off big time. This flick was first released in 2000 and looks like it was made on no budget, but it uses James and Bobby Purify’s I’m Your Puppet on the soundtrack and credits it to Arista Records, so presumably the tune was paid for and it can’t have been cheap!
Mac The Knife is also used on the soundtrack but doesn’t appear in the credits at the end, which made me wonder if something ‘naughty’ was going on here. Since I consider Bertolt ‘Bird Brain’ Brecht who wrote the original German language lyrics a bourgeois pig whose communist credentials are every bit as fake as those of Lenin or Stalin, and I don’t dig the cultural output of the tune’s composer Kurt Weill either, I’ve never paid a lot of attention to the many versions of this song. On a single viewing I couldn’t identify the singer used on the snatch of Mac The Knife deployed during a dummy point-of view murder sequence. It wasn’t Ella Fitzgerald or Marianne Faithfull, but it could have been Bobby Darin, Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, Nick Cave… or someone else.
Returning to the movie, given that it is really really really bad – and I’m talking bad meaning bad here, NOT bad meaning good – a small minority of viewers will get a cheap laugh from the fact that it was the English language debut of leading Finnish actress Irina Björklund. She plays Donna Jordan, girlfriend to the stupendously putrid ventriloquist lead of writer/producer/director Keith Singleton. Björklund even gets her kit off for a ‘steamy’ sex scene with Singleton, but fortunately the director lies flat on his back for this and so we aren’t tortured with so much as a glimpse of his half-inch of ‘manhood’. This being a US movie, the nudity and softcore is strictly tits and ass, no genitals here!
Singleton seems to have assembled his plot from a generic selection of earlier evil doll and slasher films. His lead character Paul Chandler had been looked in an asylum as a child for murdering his parents but 20 years later is let loose so that he can become a productive member of society. It is probably superfluous to add that his doctor is a ninny who has freed a psychopath. At the Madhouse Comedy Club the overwhelming majority of the audience love Chandler’s act with his ventriloquist dummy Tommy, but a local radio critic slates it, and before you can say ‘got a gottle of gear’ is ‘brutally’ murdered with a poison voodoo dart! Likewise, Madhouse waitress Lisa (played by Alexis Weimer) makes the mistake of attempting to touch Tommy up and yes, you guessed it, winds-up dead! Chandler, of course, blames the murders on Tommy: “Couldn’t have been me bud, I’m just a regular nice guy who suffers from blackouts and takes the rap for the shit pulled by my evil toys!”
Nubile psychiatrist Ann Meyers (daughter of the do-gooder shrink who let Keith Singleton make this movie, erm, I mean allowed Paul Chandler out of the asylum) befriends the schizo-ventriloquist. After a confrontation with Chandler about the case notes she’s been making about him, Ann decides to take a bath, and this allows Singleton to undermine two audience expectations. Firstly, many viewers will assume they’re about to see Jocelyne Lopez’s boobies (she’s billed here as Jocelyn Dondeville) but somehow her white-bits elude us. I presume this is because Lopez refused to flash her tits on camera without additional payment, and quite right too! I very much doubt that a highlight like that – don’t forget kids, this is a really really boring movie – accounts for even a second of the seven minute shorter running time of the UK version, as against the US original. That said, Film 2000 who released what was originally a 90 minute movie could have improved it even more by shaving a full hour and a half from its length. Returning to Singleton’s assault on slasher movie conventions, I was expecting Lopez to be murdered in the bath, but instead she gets out of it and puts on a gown before being slayed. Presumably turning the foamy water red fell way beyond both the budget and technical capabilities of the special effects team working on this movie.
For much of the flick we hear Tommy’s voice but see only the trunk in which he’s frequently put away. However, at the climax Singleton gets a little confused over whether Tommy or Björklund is the great love of his life. As a result, Singleton wrestles with his dummy and is completely out-classed in the acting stakes by this inanimate lump of wood. Tommy is also a lot better looking than the lead actor/writer/director/producer who is freakin’ ugly. But fear not, in the end true love wins out and Singleton attempts to strangle Björklund, who finally sorts out the ugly fuck by running him through with a spear. The effect is poorly achieved but at least the audience can sleep soundly knowing that Björklund won’t have to simulate shagging Singleton a second time; unless, like me, you suffer from a morbid imagination, and are immediately dreading The Dummy II: Irina Björklund, The Necro Babe. To sum up, Singleton’s crummy film is the ultimate snore fest, it makes the Mark Jones movie also called Dummy covered in this blog on 26 March 2009 look like Citizen Kane.
And while you’re at it don’t forget to check – www.stewarthomesociety.org – you know it makes (no) sense!