Pinocchio's Revenge Review
Everyone knows the story about Pinocchio right? A wooden puppet that was carved in a small Italian village by a man named Geppetto, and Pinocchio would dream about someday becoming a real boy. The version that I believe everyone is familiar with is the Disney cartoon created in the 40s. Pinocchio was one of the main stories that kids were familiar with growing up, even my elementary school would play the Disney cartoon from time-to-time. That being said, imagine my surprise (as well as your's I'm sure) when I'm browsing through Netflix late at night and I come across a movie with the title, "Pinocchio's Revenge"
Pinocchio's Revenge was directed and written by Kevin S. Tenney, who's more popular work include the Witchboard series and Night of the Demons. The cast of the film include Rosalind Allen, Brittney Alyse Smith, Aaron Lustig, and Dick Beals as the voice of Pinocchio.
Should I actually even write a "First Impression" section? I'm pretty sure that the title itself got the same reaction of me for everyone else. Just.... what? Revenge? On who? That's what ran through my mind before I actually played the movie. Did Geppetto betray Pinocchio and now he's out for blood? Is Pinocchio on a journey to defeat Stromboli after all the things he put Pinocchio through? Or is Pinocchio on his way back to the sea, to have his final showdown with Monstro? It turns out to be none of what I just listed. When reading about the movie, the genre it is labeled under is "Horror", "Slashers and Serial Killers" to be exact. Now I'm really curious about the movie. The cover art was the last thing I saw before I finally decided that I needed to watch this movie. An evil Pinocchio... wow...
(Warning: Spoiler Alert)
The movie starts out with a night scene and a pretty bad thunderstorm is going on. The opening credits are playing as we watch a sheriff drive bravely through the storm, when he almost has a collision with a parked car. The sheriff gets out to investigate the car and he notices kid's clothing covered in blood in the back seat, so he goes down a trail to investigate more. Meanwhile, we witness a scene of a man burying a small, dead boy along with a wooden puppet.
Soon after, the sheriff shows up and forces the man to put down his shovel. The next scene plays, and this time its during the day. The CSI unit has the area blocked off and they proceed to dig up what the man was trying to bury. As they are digging up the body of the child, they dig up the wooden puppet as well. At first they assumed it was another body, only to lead to confusion when it turns out to be a puppet. Next we are in a courtroom with a trial going on. Our protagonist, Jennifer Garrick, proceeds to defend her client about the murder of the small boy. After the brief debate, we're at the home of Jennifer and we are introduced to a new character. The girl, Zoe, is the daughter of Jennifer and she has trouble going to sleep, mostly because of the nightmares that Zoe gets. After tucking Zoe in, Jennifer goes back to reviewing her case. The next day at the office, Jennifer begins examining the new stuff left on her desk when she turns the chair around and....
Okay, I'm not going to lie. That puppet is actually pretty damn creepy. If Chucky wasn't enough to scare the pants off you, now we have Pinocchio with huge eyes that are always staring right at you.
The puppet startles Jennifer and one of her co-workers come in, joking around with her about it. We then cut to a short scene of Zoe in her class. When one of the students fails to answer a question, Zoe answers it for her while giving the girl a smirk, signifying a hate relationship with each other. Then we cut to another scene, this time Jennifer is talking to her client through a phone and separated by plexiglass. Jennifer believes that her client is innocent, trying to prove that he is only protecting someone. Her client tries to make her believe otherwise by slamming his hand on the window violently to show hostility.
Soon after this display, he attacks one of the guards. While constraining and carrying him away, the client begins to scream "PLEASE KILL ME NOW!!!". We cut back to a scene about the school again, with Zoe handing out invitations to kids for her birthday party. After the girl from earlier takes her invitations and throws them in a puddle, Zoe attacks the girl and bites her on the ear. After a brief scene of Zoe talking to her therapist, Jennifer gets a call from the girl's mother about the girl being attacked by Zoe. Jennifer grounds Zoe for a month and she storms off to her room, with the Nanny following after. The next day we're back at the courtroom, and this time the judge gives Jennifer's client the death penalty. We then witness the execution of Jennifer's client as we watch him being tied up to an electric chair and blindfolded. After the preparations are complete, they flip the switch and electrocute the client.
At this point I would like to say that we're barely 30 minutes in the movie and so far there is no possessed puppet, not to mention we just had our first death (not counting the kid in the beginning) and it wasn't even caused by Pinocchio. So I'm going to skip ahead a bit to the birthday party scene. The scenes before are Jennifer talking to a priest after the execution about evil existing in the world and Jennifer hurrying home trying to set up Zoe's birthday party.
During the birthday party, the boyfriend of Jennifer mentions that Zoe discovered the puppet before he even had the chance to wrap it. Having no idea that it wasn't Zoe's real present, Jennifer uses the excuse that Pinocchio is only visiting them for a little bit and her real present would be here shortly.
After the birthday, we come to another scene. A love scene. As Jennifer and her boyfriend begin making out on the sofa, we notice Pinocchio creeping around the couple. Could this be Pinocchio's first chance to attack somebody? Sorry, not this time. It's only Zoe scaring the mess out of them with the puppet. Jennifer tucks Zoe into bed and the love-making resumes in bed with Jennifer's breasts showing the entire time. The noise keeps Zoe awake as she is forced to hear the sounds of sex coming from her mother and the boyfriend, so for comfort she talks to Pinocchio.
And at this point I would like to stop for a second and present you with this shot.
This has to be one of the creepiest shots that I have ever seen. Something like that would not have intrigued me as a child, I would of been scared to death of that thing. Yet this kid treats it like its her new best friend. Man...
After that we are treated to another scene of nudity, this time of the nanny. As she begins to towel off, she notices Pinocchio staring at her from a distance. Could this be when Pinocchio finally comes alive and begin his onslaught of killing sprees? Sadly no. In fact, Zoe comes scolding the nanny, thinking she took Pinocchio away from her. We're treated to another scene of Zoe and the therapist, talking about Jennifer's boyfriend this time. After that, we're back at home with Jennifer and Zoe. Zoe tells Jennifer about Pinocchio's curiosity of the female body after staying up all night listening to Jennifer and her boyfriend having sex. That night, Zoe asks if Pinocchio would ever leave her. As she falls asleep, Pinocchio finally shows signs of life as he walks over to her bedside.
Now let me ask you something. If this were to happen to you, would you happily allow that puppet to sleep in the bed with you? You gotta be out of your mind! I would have impaled that thing with a cross by now. I also want to state that we're almost a hour into the movie and Pinocchio's finally starting to show signs of life. Oh, and no body count either.
The day we are at school again, and the same three girls are teasing Zoe again. This time they take Pinocchio away from her and toss him over the fence. Meanwhile, the nanny notices a leg sticking out from under the bed. She pulls it out and it's a doll that has been stabbed repeatedly. As Zoe recovers Pinocchio, she notices that his hand is resting on a rake. She asks what Pinocchio is up to, and suspenseful music starts playing. The girl that teases Zoe starts riding up the road on her bike when the rake protrudes out of the fence, stopping the bike, and causing the girl to land in front of an incoming bus.
Dear God I thought I was going to have an aneurysm after such event had happened. Sadly I'm lead to disappointment, as the bus must of missed the girl since she is alright and only suffering from shock. Still, we finally get to see some action caused by Pinocchio.
After that scene, Jennifer gets a call from the therapist asking her to come by his office immediately. We get two brief scenes, the first one between the therapist and Jennifer about not separating Zoe from the doll yet, and the second one between Jennifer and Zoe about what happened to the Doll and the girl at school. Skipping ahead some, we come to a scene where Dave (the boyfriend) is watching over Zoe at night. This scene is the first time we hear Pinocchio's voice, and I have to admit I wasn't expecting the voice to sound like the classic Disney cartoon. Instead I was expecting more of Chucky. Zoe gets up during the middle of the night to go get Pinocchio from the basement, but Dave insists on retrieving Pinocchio himself since Jennifer "would kill him" if she came home and found that Zoe was still awake. As Dave goes downstairs, the lights shut off. Thinking it's a prank by Zoe, he goes back up upstairs, only to have the door slammed in his face and tumble back down the steps.
After a visit to the hospital, Zoe starts scolding Pinocchio for pushing down the steps. As Pinocchio claims that he had nothing to do it, a light passing by shows Pinocchio's nose as a shadow growing, leaving Zoe to claim that Pinocchio is lying. Zoe visits the therapist again, and when he steps out of the room Zoe starts talking to Pinocchio again. After getting into an argument with Pinocchio, Zoe starts screaming at the top of her lungs. The therapist walks back into the room, only to stop in his tracks because of what he sees.
Night comes and Zoe is talking to Pinocchio once more. Pinocchio claims that the only way he could be free is if Zoe cut him loose from his strings. She does so, which causes Pinocchio to run out of the house with Zoe following after him. We come to a first-person scene in the hospital, where we travel to Dave's room and witness someone off camera pull his plug on the life-support. Shortly after this, Dave dies.
After a depressing scene between Jennifer and Dave's mom, Jennifer talks to the therapist one last time. The therapist shows Jennifer a video of Zoe talking the Pinocchio, however, the Pinocchio does not seem to be responding back to her....
Could this mean everything was all in Zoe's head? Let's find out. At the home, the nanny is attacked and killed by someone off camera. Jennifer returns and the final showdown has begun....
After the fight, Pinocchio is thrown through a table, only to be revealed that it was Zoe the entire time.
So the film concludes with Zoe being committed to a mental institute, with Jennifer claiming "I know what I saw" and vowing that she will not stop until she frees Zoe.
There's really not a lot for me to say in this section. For being a 90s movie, the visuals are great for it's time. Even the animation for Pinocchio was very well done. Blood effects were also nice and looked real, rather than looking like gobs of red stuff. Overall, visuals were great!
As I stated before, I was surprised that Pinocchio's voice had a kiddish tone rather than a demonic one. The music used made the movie highly suspenseful, and the sudden loud noises would give you a jump or two when something happened. Other than that, there's nothing to really say in this section either.
So.... the movie didn't turn out to be what I expected. Rather than a fast-pace, cheesy slasher where Pinocchio racks up a body count, we get a serious movie about a puppet that puts a curse over somebody. There are a few things I found enjoyable in the movie, such as keeping you on your toes and making you wonder if Pinocchio was real, or if it was all in Zoe's head. Then there were some that I did not find so enjoyable, such as taking a hour before Pinocchio showed signs of life and started attacking people. I have to admit that I was kind of disappointed by it, and it seems like others were as well since it only has a 2 and a half rating on Netflix. If you have Netflix, you can check it out since it is available on instant stream.