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>
Films don't get any cheaper than this stitched together piece of padding, in which retired screenwriter/grandpa Ernest Borgnine relates "sweet" bedtime stories about the legendary Merlin (Yes, that Merlin. Merlin probably changed management after doing this movie) to his world-weary, seven year old grandson. Grandpa Borgnine's sweet, folksy, suitable for children tales are chock full of horrible death, crying children, murdered house pets, and abusive husbands, plus a fun cameo by Satan himself!
The makers of this film probably didn't realize that their kiddy movie wasn't kid-like at all- because the bulk of the "stories" are footage from some other mid-to-late seventies movie about a killer monkey toy. Despite all the ugliness in these segments, there is a charming moment where a young boy happily sings "Rock and Roll Martian" to the stuffed monkey. This is probably the best scene in the whole, feature length movie.
The other story segment, the one with the bickering, self-hating couple who can't conceive (kids love those kinds of stories!) has all the style and substance of an episode of "Monsters".
This movie is filled to the brim by horrible acting, atrocious dialog, and some of the most laughable editing since Ed Wood's legendary day/night/day scenes.
So don't hesitate to watch this movie.... if it comes on the late, great Mystery Science Theater 3000. Otherwise, you've been warned! ROCK AND ROLL MARTIAN!!
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