Does that poster look cool to you? Well too bad, the movie’s nothing like that.
I decided recently that I’ve been watching too many good movies, so I thought it would be best to watch something completely abhorrent, and man, did I succeed. Did I ever. Merlin’s Shop of Mystical Wonders is ostensibly a children’s film, only one involving a douchebag store critic for the local newspaper and a psycho demon monkey doll. Both of these very different ideas are put together as two stories that Ernest Borgnine is making his bored grandson suffer through during a storm. At least I really hope that was his grandson.
Yep, we’re in portmanteau territory. Anyway, the stories focus on Merlin opening a trinket store in Southern California to make people believe in magic…or else. A lot of his stuff happens to kill people though, and he doesn’t really explain how anything works, so truth be told it appears that really he’s there to bumble around like he needs Metamucil and get everybody killed. Borgnine’s stories then have Merlin give said douchebag his book of magic, which the douchebag uses and then accidentally turns himself into a baby after maybe talking to Satan in the mirror. In the second story, a thief steals Merlin’s monkey with cymbals doll, which just so happens to be possessed by a demon to kill. In fact the second story is actually a totally different film that was recut and put into this film about what the world would be like under the threat of the toy from the Monkey Shines movie poster.
I think this movie was supposed to be a fantasy film involving magic, only instead it went haywire somewhere along the way and added in fertility problems, a demon cat, a weird Freudian wet dream, dead pets, and the 1970s. All of it is delivered with acting that makes blue cheese deserve an Emmy, and both of our magical “heroes,” Merlin and his…wife, look like they’ve both escaped the side of some guy’s airbrushed van. You know the guy I’m talking about. The one who uses his sunglasses to offset his poorly kept mullet and always thought he was cool, but deep down inside everybody really knows the truth. That guy’s a loser. That’s exactly what we’re talking about here. This is the movie equivalent of that guy’s van. Would you thrill to scenes of a bearded old dude in a robe asking ladies if they’ve seen his monkey? Because that totally happens.
About the only thing tolerable about this film is that it was terrible enough to end up appearing on Mystery Science Theater 3000, in which they promptly made fun of everything. I highly recommend that as being the best way to suffer through this one.
If however you like pain, well, the non-Mystery Science Theater 3000 version can be streamed on Amazon Prime for free.
Since I can’t find a trailer, enjoy some montage a guy on YouTube made. Also enjoy the ’90s porno camera work while Ernest Borgnine talks about “magical things” folks.