Pay attention size fans!
Once more we will reach deep into the library of forgotten media to search for deliciously malevolent and size-themed horror. Will we find something worthwhile in today’s film? Let’s find out.
CONTENT WARNING: The film includes scenes implying cannibalism and necrophilia.
“The Toy Box” is a soft-core pornographic film released in 1971. Its poster depicts several tiny naked people in the clutches of an eerie old man without pupils. Does it actually have sizey elements? The answer is … yes, of a sort. First, let’s briefly discuss the main people involved in this production.
Ron Garcia directed and wrote this 89-minute long movie. After The Toy Box, Ron had an extensive career in TV primarily working as a cinematographer for shows such as “Gilmore Girls,” “Hawaii Five-0” (the 2010 reboot), and “Numb3rs.” (NOTE: Those mundane shows are vastly different than this bizarre porno!)
The lead performers in The Toy Box were Sean Kenney (under the pseudonym Evan Steele) as Ralph and Ann Perry (under the pseudonym Ann Myers) as his girlfriend Donna. As an aside, do I even need to reiterate this was produced in the 1970s? Somehow I think Ralph’s big mustache, exposed chest hair, large collar, and sideburns are enough evidence to prove that this was indeed made in the seventies.
Ann Perry appeared in a large number of erotic films after The Toy Box and was also active in the Adult Film Association of America (AFAA). The AFAA was the first American trade organization of pornographic film producers.
Ann Perry’s IMDb bio, click here to read it, claims that she served as the first female president of the AFAA, but I was unable to verify. Ann did serve as AFAA President before April 1980, but she may not have been the first female president. David Friedman reported that Connie Baker become the second AFAA President, presumably before Ann held that position. (NOTE: A reprint of A Brief History of the AFAA by David Friedman is available here.)
Regardless, I was impressed by Ann’s commitment to the AFAA’s goals of encouraging an upgrade in erotic film quality, using the Erotic Film Awards, and fighting censorship. That dedication was even more surprising because Ann, according to the IMDb bio, originally wanted to become a nun! (NOTE: The AFAA merged into the Free Speech Coalition in 1992.)
The male lead, Ralph, was played by Sean Kenney. Sean Kenney most famously played the crippled Captain Christopher Pike during the Star Trek: The Original Series (ST: TOS) episode “The Menagerie.” (NOTE: Originally The Menagerie was meant to be the series pilot, but most of the cast was replaced before Star Trek first aired on TV.)
The action begins with Donna remembering a time two years ago when Ralph bought a vibrator for her birthday. After watching her masturbate with the sex toy on the front seat of a car, Ralph then travels overseas to “… find people uncle wanted for his collection.” Readers take heed, the story is difficult to follow.
Upon his return two years later, Donna pretends to be drunk and Ralph accuses her of being a whore. Ralph then slaps Donna and forces her to look in the mirror. It wasn’t obvious how the viewers were intended to interpret this scene. Her reflection was shown very briefly, but it looked like someone smeared lipstick on her face. Although, she reacted with terror so, based on that strong response, perhaps the implication was that there was blood all over her face. However, we never saw her being hurt. So, where did the blood come from? Or was the mess on her face merely dirt meant to imply that chronic substance abuse prevented her from practicing personal hygiene? But then she asks Ralph if it was a good performance; so, apparently it was just practice for a performance at the party.
After they change their clothes, Donna and Ralph drive to a mansion owned by “Uncle.” (NOTE: Everyone calls him “Uncle” so it appears to be a term of endearment as opposed to him actually being someone’s relative.) Upon their arrival, the couple and the uncle’s maid greet each other with the phrase “Happy Uncle!” in the same manner as one would give a holiday greeting. Ergo, they say Happy Uncle just like people say Merry Christmas.
It is also important to note that uncle is dead and this party serves as his wake and also as an orgy. Not that being dead keeps the uncle from talking. Did I mention this film was a little odd? I should probably mention that again.
The orgy scene was soft-core insomuch as actual penetration was not depicted, only simulated. Genitalia, pussy lips and penises, were not shown, and appeared only in brief flashes, if at all. Men gyrate on top of women, but do not insert their penises into vaginas. Personally, that sounds like painful teasing to put naked people together, but forbid them from actually doing the deed. Given the lack of actual intercourse and visible genitalia, money shots were absent. Although, several women displayed neatly trimmed bushes.
Things get stranger when a busty blonde named Laura allows a disembodied hand within a box, presumably a parody of Thing from The Munsters, to fondle her right boob for a little while. Then she has sex with her bed. Not sex with another person on the bed, but sex with the bed itself.
After that sex scene which, to be frank, was a first for me, the plot turns darker as the maid turns up dead! Then a man, controlled by the undead uncle, stabs a woman with a knife while she is giving him a blow job. Not for nothing, but that sounds like a good way to get your dick bit off.
Many deaths take place, but knife chops and stabbings happened off-screen. There was little blood and absolutely no guts. The low-level of gore means The Toy Box will feel tame to modern horror fans.
Also, some scenes lacked narrative connection to the previous scenes and thus felt random. For instance, there was one in which a butcher is chopping meat and then puts a comatose, presumably dead, woman on his table. I had no idea who the butcher was, where he came from, if the ladies were meant to be party guests that had been killed or if they were going to be fed to the party guests. Maybe one of the “dead” girls was the maid? Either way, the “dead” girl revives and has sex with him. Another “dead” girl then begins to move and kills the butcher with his own knife. Afterward, the trio, now zombies, collect an unseen reward from the uncle’s toy box.
Eventually, there was a size-themed scene when a woman named Sally appeared as a giantess. The special effect was achieved merely by a low-angle shot of Sally while Donna and Ralph look up and are shrouded in fog. The giant Sally never physically interacted with Donna and Ralph and they were never in the same shot.
Then things get even stranger when the secret involvement of aliens from Arkon was exposed. This review won’t give away the final ending, but must report that it did provide some much-needed context.
Overall, I will not give a rating to The Toy Box. It’s too muddled and unfocused to recommend. However, I did appreciate that adult film makers were willing to take a big chance with an interesting and experimental concept. A few re-writes to clarify the narrative would have made this a worthwhile watch.
That’s it for today peasants. Until next time, keep screaming!
This review was written by Solomon E and is protected under Fair Use copyright law.
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