The Toy Box (1971)

A section 3 video nasty and a production of Harry Novak, this movie should come complete with soap so that you can clean yourself up after the way you feel post-watch. But hey, before we luxuriate in filth, let’s talk about Harry and Boxoffice International Pictures.

Just take a cursory scan through some of the films that Boxoffice brought to the eyes of maniacs like you and me: Kiss Me Quick! in which an alien comes to our planet in search of feminine breeding stock*, the spectacularly named mondo  Suburban Pagans, the drinking suburban housewives and their pot-smoking daughters in The Muthers, Jean Rollin’s The Nude Vampire, the Gary Graver-directed Erika’s Hot Summer, redneck trash (a good thing) like Country Cuzzins and Sweet Georgia, the brutal and wonderful Toys Are Not for ChildrenThe Sinful Dwarf, Frankenstein’s Castle of FreaksLisaRattlersThe Child and so many more. When I first started buying trailer collections, the Something Weird Extra Weird Sampler was where I first saw Harry’s signature swirl onto my screen and then blow my mind with the aberrant junk that he was fostering on the movie buying public.

The actual story of this movie isn’t really a story as much as it’s an opportunity to get single women one handing it and couplings two handing it. So yeah, Ralph has taken Donna to see his crazy uncle again, but first she has to see her man in the boat before putting on a scene before the somehow dead and yet able to speak from beyond the grave uncle. And then this movie makes me wonder, who is this for? Who wants to see fellatio interrupted by stabbing or Uschi Digard have sex with — not in — a bed** or a necrophilia scene that ends with a pitchfork murder? Someone, I guess. As Harry Novak himself once said, “When I was a kid, my Daddy told me, “There’s a buyer for everything.” And I lived to find out that he was right.”

But if you make it through all that freaky 70s not so sexy sex, well, you learn the truth. The fact that Donna is really the uncle who is really an alien who sells human brains as drugs on the planet Arkon and the gifts promised from the toy box are really death as we watch a whole bunch of hippies get trapped inside a death house.

Director and writer Ronald Víctor García started out as an electro-mechanical packaging designer for the Apollo Command Module, the Saturn Stage II Helium Purge System and the Polaris Atomic Submarine Launching Systems before making movies like this. And somehow, some way, he became the director of photography for Twin Peaks and One from the Heart. In fact, he’s still out there today, working as a cinematographer on The Good Fight.

I wouldn’t say that this movie was good, but I will say that I was pretty messed up in a good way by it. It has a great movie somewhere in there and I wished that they had found it.

*Harry had a thing for sexy aliens, producing one of my favorite named movies of all time, 1975’s Wham! Bam! Thank You, Spaceman!

**To be fair, I am a red-blooded male and I am willing to watch Uschi Digard do pretty much whatever she wants to do.

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