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This is a movie within a TV movie within a made-for-video movie. A boy is watching TV when a power outage forces him to talk to his grandpa for entertainment. His grandpa, a former screenwriter, re-tells an old screenplay about Merlin's Shop of Mystical Wonders. In it, Merlin sets up an enchanting store in a modern-day strip mall, accompanied by his gleeful wife and gnomes, snakes, dragons, etc. From this framing device, we then see two stories about people's encounters with items from the shop. The first sequence (created for this film but looking like an episode of "Tales From The Darkside") involves a pompous, cranky newspaper critic who begins casting spells using Merlin's spell book. The second story, an edited version of the full length movie, The Devil's Gift, is about an evil monkey doll (you know, the wicked grin and the cymbals?) who kills every time his hands clap. Merlin of the 1990s is disjointedly tied-in with the 1980 movie. Written by
Michael "Rabbit" Hutchison <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Ernest Borgnine is a great storyteller. I think the boy suffered from random epileptic seizures after this film was made.
This is awful. Merlin has decided to join the business world and has opened his shop of yore. Run by him and Mrs. Merlin, they first must deal with a cynical critic who threatens to ruin the shop's business. Good old Merlin gives him a book of evil wizardry. After fire breathing, cat from hell, levitating, and so on, the critic learns that this film has aged him (he's not alone).
The second half is a rip-off of the monkey's paw, except in this case it's a duracell running monkey toy with cymbals. Ha ha. Of course, someone buys it as a present for a little boy and that's when the fun starts. One of the only saving moments is when Merlin goes around asking, "Have you seen my monkey?" Hee hee, that one always works!
Merlin's gift shop.....to be avoided at all costs.
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