Tuesday, October 8, 2019

TOYS ARE NOT FOR CHILDREN: Blu-ray debut for Stanley H. Brasloff's would-be cult classic

Whew! It's been awhile since TrustMovies has seen a movie -- even one from the early 1970s -- quite as bad as the please-mommy-let-me-become-a-cult-classic! piece of nonsense from one, Stanley H. Brasloff, entitled TOYS ARE NOT FOR CHILDREN.

According to the funny and certainly striving Bonus Feature on the disc about this would-be moviemaker, Mr. Brasloff based his film upon a supposedly true tale he had heard that I guess he felt might make a groundbreaking movie.

It probably did break some ground back in the 70s -- badly, but what-the-heck -- regarding sexuality, psychological disorder and especially incest. Yet so thuddingly poor is much of the dialog that the actors hired to speak this silliness should not be held fully responsible for the result. They try. Oh, god, do they try. (As director, Brasloff would seem to have encouraged them in this mode.)

Chief among them is the film's star, Marcia Forbes, shown above (with some of those titular toys) and below, right, whose only movie credit this film turned out to be. Talk about a career-stopper. In truth, Ms Forbes is asked to do what Meryl Streep perhaps could not (Ms Streep would have had the sense, however, to turn this movie down flat), but Forbes certainly gives it her best shot, playing a young woman whose very bad-parenting parents have managed to raise a real nutcase.

But she's a very pretty nutcase, so she pulls in just about everyone within her small orbit. Supposedly afraid of sexuality (especially from her young husband, played by Harlan Carey Poe, above, left), when she finally gets some, she's immediately ready to go for broke.

Much of the movie is devoted to our heroine's desire/attempt to locate her father, whom she has not seen for years and years, a task for which she uses a local Manhattan whore (Evelyn Kingsley, above, left), who has own designs on our girl, along with her pimp (Luis Arroyo, below, right).

Dad (Peter Lightstone, below) finally does make the expected appearance, and we have a family reunion to end all family reunions. At times, the movie does indeed approach the glories of unintentional camp but never quite goes full out enough to make us snort properly. And because it was made during those sexually-groundbreaking 70s, you can "read" it as a plea for heightened sexual awareness and openness -- until, that is, we get to the lesbian scene. Then it's all ooooh, naughty, naughty!

Ah, well. You can't have everything. And in the case of Toys Are Not for Children, you can't have much of anything. But if you are an aficionado of this sort of thing, be my guest. The new Blu-ray, from Arrow Video (distributed here in the USA via MVD Visual) -- running 85 minutes, and including a few of those usually notable Arrow special features -- hits the street today, Tuesday, October 8, for purchase and (I would hope) rental.

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