Keith Singleton's "The Dummy" failing to slay cinema audiences due to a straight to DVD release

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 – – you know it makes (no) sense!


Comment by Paul Winchell on 2009-04-07 11:12:06 +0000

I’ve never told anyone this but the artificial heart I patented, the first such design to be patented, was actually designed by Knucklehead Smiff…

Comment by Hieronymus Kitsch on 2009-04-07 11:41:40 +0000

Man you must be on drugs or something. This is a great film. Your judgements are always so way off. Did you see the blog I did recently about the south London art whores who were so busy slagging off a movie that they didn’t see a truck coming down the street and they got run down and one of them died? That’s what happens when you lack empathy! You need to get some love into your life and get rid of all that negativity you feed on. Stewart Home you really should be ashamed of yourself! Phew, that’s my rant over for now, time to get back to appreciating the efforts of people like Keith Singleton to making this world a better place.

Comment by Time on 2009-04-07 12:21:20 +0000

Turn Tessie loose…

Comment by Otis Redding on 2009-04-07 13:52:25 +0000

I can’t turn you loose now/I’m in love with the prettiest thing/I never, never turn you loose now/Because of all the sweet love she brings/I can’t turn you loose to nobody/I love you baby, yes I do/Give shaking mama/I told ya I’m in love with only you/Gotta, do it baby why don’t ya/I’ll give ya everything you want

Comment by Howling Wizard Shrieking Toad on 2009-04-07 14:51:57 +0000

I am back — did you miss me?

Comment by Howling Wizard Shrieking Toad on 2009-04-07 14:57:54 +0000

At last, someone else who finds Brecht over rated and boring, and someone who doesn’t want to listen to that annoying, over rated song. I have never liked it, and always wondered at its “radical/bohemian” reputation.
Terrible song.
My toad hates it too.

Comment by Shrieking Toad on 2009-04-07 14:58:38 +0000

Oi, I am not YOUR toad, got it Wizard? Watch out, or I will add too much salt to the morning gruel…..

Comment by Paul Gadd on 2009-04-07 14:59:56 +0000

Did you tell that naughty boy not to call?

Comment by The Fake Jeremy Valentine (NOT the singer turned academic who fronted The Cortinas) on 2009-04-07 15:07:06 +0000

Forget Keith, I trust Valerie Singleton. And BTW Did you know that Valerie Singleton did the narration on Stanley Long’s porn film “Nudes of the World”. That’s why I trust Valerie, she’s not a prude whose done nothing but children’s TV!

Comment by Michael Roth on 2009-04-07 15:21:12 +0000

I just watched the youtube trailer. Why spend 90 minutes watching this film when 2 will do? From your description it looks like the trailer covers the plot essentials.
With taglines like “Slaying audiences everywhere” and “People say we have a killer act” combined with the rugged geek-chic look of Singleton, I’m surprised it didn’t strike gold! However, I’m sure this movie is a guilty pleasure for Tessie …
youtube link

Comment by Eddie Phillips on 2009-04-07 16:35:18 +0000

Forget that, check out The Creation instead, our music is red with purple flashes!

Comment by K Mail on 2009-04-07 17:51:04 +0000

I can get away with this here kids, but whatever you do don’t try it on Facebook. Gary Numan is one of the ultimate no nos on social networking platforms. “Don’t be a dummy! Move like honey. Don’t be a dummy!
Use your money. Come out proud, don’t hide in the crowd. Find the gear, worth the grind. Find the gear to suit ya. Mine’ll suit ya! Lee Cooper! Lee Cooper!”

Comment by The Vegetarian Nick Serota on 2009-04-07 22:14:27 +0000

What’s it all about Sheena, erm I mean Alfie!

Comment by Howard The Indie Wanker (AKA Nick The Prick’s Biggest Influence) on 2009-04-07 23:19:35 +0000

You think I’m a lame duck/I don’t give a blue fuck/I’m living like crazy/driven to be lazy/I love you, you dummy/I love you, you dummy/Love has no body/No body has love/I love you, you dummy/I love you, you dummy/Love has no body/No body has love/I blush like a tomato/pale as a chipped potato/you’re a real peach/just out of reach/I love you, you dummy/I love you, you dummy….

Comment by Annalisa on 2009-04-08 00:03:09 +0000

Thomas Weelkes was distinguished as a madrigalist and employed as a church musician, although his conduct, evident from a description of him as a drunckard (sic) and notorious swearer and blasphemer, did little to enhance his career…

Comment by Michael Roth on 2009-04-08 04:49:37 +0000

There was an episode of Hannah Montana where a dummy comes back at the end of the show to take it’s revenge of Rico. While there is no sex, or nudity, or violence, or blood, or menacing music, I think we could safely add this to the list of examples for the Dummy genre.
Anyone? Hello? Is this microphone on?

Comment by The totally real Tom McCarthy on 2009-04-08 07:40:52 +0000

WHERE’S TESSIE? What have you done with her Stewart you psycho patriarchal dummy-oppressor?

Comment by Howling Wizard Shrieking Toad on 2009-04-08 08:38:49 +0000

This 9 year-old film is a real shocker due to the dreadful cinematography and acting rather than the gore epiphanies it singularly lacks. Let us situate ourselves for a moment in that place where the values of value (between use-value and exchange-value), secret, mystique, enigma, fetish, and the ideological form a chain in Stewart Home’s text, singularly in Capital, and let us try at least to indicate (it will be only an indicator) the spectral movement of this chain. The movement is staged there where it is a question, precisely, of forming the concept of what the stage, any stage, withdraws from our blind eves at the moment we open them. Now, this concept is indeed constructed with reference to a certain haunting.
It is a great moment at the beginning of Assault on Culture as everyone recalls: Home is wondering in effect how to describe the sudden looming up of the mystical character of the commodity, the mystification of the thing itself — and of the money-form of which the commodity’s simple form is the “germ.” He wants to analyse the equivalent whose enigma and mystical character only strike the bourgeois economist in the finished form of money, gold or silver. It is the moment in which Howling Wizard means to demonstrate that the mystical character owes nothing to a use-value.
Ann decides to take a bath, and this allows Singleton to undermine two audience expectations: firstly, since ‘art’ as a category has been projected back onto the religious icons of the middle ages, it is not surprising that those who oppose it should situate themselves within a ‘utopian current’ that they, in turn, trace back to medieval heresies.
Secondly, I assume that the reader understands that while the movements I am writing about situated themselves in opposition to consumer capitalism, they also emerged out of societies based on such a mode of organisation and thus do not entirely escape the logic of the market place.

Comment by Howling Wizard Shrieking Toad on 2009-04-08 08:59:23 +0000

Every country has the inalienable right to use outer space peacefully

Comment by mistertrippy on 2009-04-09 00:29:01 +0000

And Tessie is having a shower… I haven’t done anything to her! And Mike there is also that really bad 2001 ‘comedy’ “Dummy” directed by Greg Pritikin about a nerd, his crazy family and the need for small triumphs in life rather than going for big success… it is supposed by be unAmerican but comes across as absolutely mainstream Americana to me. Definitely not one for those of use with a fetish about ventriloquist dolls… not enough doll action, or nudity, or violence….

Comment by Simon Strong on 2009-04-09 04:47:51 +0000

I agree re: fakeness of Brecht & co’s left-cred but surely Mack the Knife is somewhat redeemed by Pete Seeger’s great nukespoitation take-off “Mack the Bomb”. It would’ve been (even more) piss funny if he’d done that tune at the inauguration…

Comment by cuddy/carrigan on 2009-04-09 12:51:42 +0000

what’s up with the Aleister Crowley puppet? Hey, isn’t he a Scientologist now?

Comment by Christopher Nosnibor on 2009-04-09 16:13:10 +0000

Another film to avoid, then… (like I ever have the time anyway!).
I quite dig the Psychedelic Furs’ version of Mac the Knife… probably as much to do with the groovy sax and the flanged drums as anything else.

Comment by Terry Thomas on 2009-04-10 11:35:33 +0000

Good show!

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