Low-budget film about a young man given a mystical medallion by an Aztec shaman, in order to become a puma-empowered champion like his father before him. In trying to initially locate the ... See full summary »
Alberto De Martino
Walter George Alton,
Miguel Ángel Fuentes
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>
A horror anthology starring Merlin that appeals to neither adults nor kids.
Wow! I question as to why this was made into a movie instead of a terrible anthology TV pilot. Along with being bad, this is just truly bizarre. It starts off with a burning building, which turns out to be a little kid watching TV. I guess the television program he's watching may foreshadow later events, but it's still pointless. The kid's Grandpa (Ernest Borgnine) tells him to turn that trash off, only to tell him a couple of strange horror stories to put him to sleep.
Before the first story really starts, we are introduced to Merlin and his wife who now own a shop to bring magic to the world. Merlin ends up giving a book of spells to a jerk who's wife can't have a baby, but wants one. This guy ends up dabbling in the spells and doing some crazy stuff, including spitting out fire at the cat. Then there's a really dumb twist ending that I'm not going to give away. This segment was really strange, mainly because the first 15 minutes of it was Merlin, then it switches to a short 15 minute story. Also, by the rationale of this segment, Merlin gets his power from Satan. The second segment is better than this one...and the second one was terrible.
A dad ends up giving his boy a stolen wind up monkey with symbols toy for his birthday. This doll claps the symbols together and bad things happen. To stop the bad things, all you have to do is put your finger in between the symbols, so it really isn't a very effective killer. The dad finds out the toy is evil somehow when his dog dies in a fire, which leads him to ask a psychic for help. Meanwhile Merlin walks the streets searching for info on where the evil toy he has for some reason, may be. The plot all leads to the dad trying to dispose of the doll before it hurts anyone, but when plans fail, will his family be fine? Who cares. This story is a big rip-off of two Twilight Zone episodes, "Living Doll" and "It's a Good Life", and even though they were made 30 something years earlier, they were much scarier and more believable.
Along with these two stories sidetracked by Merlin and his wife's wacky antics, we have this dumb wraparound. The wraparound is stupid and pointless, but even more pointless is the title character, Merlin. There was no need to have Merlin in this. It would've been slightly better if they put in 3 stories and cut out the stupid old wizard and his cantankerous wife. Plus the music in the film I'm pretty sure is stolen from various films, including "the Pagemaster". In the end, this is a very bad and bizarre film. Adults will feel it's too violent and profane for little kids, older kids won't like it, and little kids will be too scared. For my final thought, I know this review sounds like a big complaint, and it really is. Let's hope the movie studios learned from their mistakes.
My rating: BOMB/****. 85 mins. Contains some violence, language and some mildly sexual innuendos.
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