Saturday, March 8, 2014

Pinocchio's Revenge (1996)

What can I say about a movie whose main character is a lawyer who lets her daughter keep a life size Pinocchio doll that was buried with a dead child and is evidence in a murder case?  This woman has not only got to be the worst lawyer, but the worst mother.  

For some reason that I either missed or made no sense, lawyer Jennifer Garrick has the Pinocchio doll in the back seat of her car when she goes home to celebrate her daughter Zoe's birthday. Jennifer's boyfriend goes to the car to bring in the gifts and next thing you know Pinocchio is sitting in the living room.  Zoe squeals with glee at the sight of this wooden monstrosity.

When Jennifer tells her it isn't a gift, Zoe says she can't have it back.  But does Jennifer say "I'm sorry but you can't keep it. It's evidence in a murder trial.  My boyfriend accidentally it brought into the house."  No, instead she proves to be a mother without a backbone as lets Zoe take it into her room to sleep with, and grow even more attached to the creepy death puppet.  

That night Pinocchio tells Zoe if she cuts his strings he'll become a real boy and be her brother.  Stupid little Zoe follows his bidding and then Pinocchio starts doing bad things to especially to people who are mean to Zoe or try to take him away from her.  

When a little girl at school continually torments Zoe, Pinnochio fixes it so that the little girl is run over by a school bus. Don't worry, she manages to walk it off.  Then Jennifer's boyfriend gets pushed down the stairs and ends up in a coma.  Zoe says her puppet did it.

When Jennifer takes her to a psychiatrist, Zoe is filmed having a loud argument with her puppet.  From Zoe's point of view, we hear the puppet talking back, but when the doc shows Zoe's mom the video, all we see and hear is Zoe screaming at a wooden puppet.   

So is the puppet alive or is Zoe insane?  The psychiatrist says that perhaps Jennifer needs to accept that her child is crazy, as well as dangerous, since she talks to and sleeps with a life size wooden puppet which she blames for pushing Jennifer's boyfriend down the stairs. 

Jennifer refuses to even contemplate that her child has a problem, which begs the question why was she already seeing a psychiatrist? Jennifer defends her daughter with an impromptu speech to the doctor about people who hear voices which ends with her saying, "What if they aren't crazy? What if they really do hear voices in their heads?"  Um... isn't that by definition one of the signs of mental illness?

Soooo we're left with multiple questions. Is it actually possible for a lawyer to take a life size wooden puppet home when it is evidence in a murder trial?  Would no one notice such a large and unique hand carved doll was missing?  Was Pinnocchio actually a murderous puppet or is Zoe crazy?  Has Zoe developed the ability to morph into Pinnocchio or is Mom now crazy?  And most importantly, why didn't anyone notice a large wooden puppet pulling the lifeline on a coma patient?   


Tina Speece said...

Oh maaaaaaaaaaaaaan I remember when this one first came out! The previews scared the crap out of me--of course I was a kid then so anything with a creepy murderous doll was guaranteed to be scary. I finally saw it my sophomore year of college and I'm still in the same boat as you: I have no idea if it was someone's idea of subtlety poorly done or it was like 'Annie' and the doll really was evil.

Chris Jart said...

You think it's the doll, but then there are scenes where both Zoe and Mom may have been hallucinating. And I loved how no one noticed the doll roaming the hallways in the hospital trying to find the boyfriends room.

Tina Speece said...

Well if you saw an ugly-ass murderous puppet walking around, would you want to acknowledge it? Ain't nobody workin' that late shift get paid enough for that. :D But it being the doll is more comfortable than a murderous kid wandering the ward late night...I guess. I dunno, I feel like 'murderous children/toys' is a theme that should make an absolutely terrifying movie, but no one has handled it right

Chris Jart said...

Ha, good point! I definitely wouldn't acknowledge it outright because who knows what the freaky thing would do. But I'd probably try to beat it to death with a crutch or kick it down an elevator shaft.