Review of Toy Trouble by Engle and Barnes

August 19, 2008
Filed under: Reviews 

SFFaudio Review

TITLEToy Trouble
By Engle & Barnes; Performed by a full cast
2 CDs – ~2 hours – [AUDIO DRAMA]
Publisher: Brilliance Audio
Published: 1996
ISBN: 1423308387
Themes: / Horror / Fantasy / Possession / Toys / Young Adult

Some stories inspire great things. This story, being the second “Strange Matter” release I have listened to, has inspired me to write a computer program to generate any future reviews of the series. The reviewer just plugs in the story title, the main character, and the horror de jeur, and voila, out pops a review that starts like this: “Karen Sanders is a likeable little protagonist as the story opens. But even the first scene, in which she ‘loses’ one of her new toys in a tragic head-swapping surgery gone wrong, drags on past enjoyment…” and ends like this: “And so we come to a fiery, bloody conclusion that has left all sense and interesting character development so far behind, we can hardly remember what such noble pursuits feel like…” In between lie paragraphs of brilliant prose riddled with verbal howitzer shells like “pejorative” and “bamboozlement” to make you forget you’re reading something a computer typed.

It’s not that Toy Trouble is any worse than Plant People, it’s that the two are bad in the same ways. The general flow of action, the characters, and the gradual deterioration of the promising story into silly drivel are so frighteningly similar that the pair seem generated from the same generic outline.

I will say that the cast and audio effects people make a valiant attempt to bring Toy Trouble to life, but, like Karen Sanders’ doll, this story never had a chance. After the initial attempt to make our diminutive heroine seem something like an actual girl, the authors are happy to simply toss her around, smacking her against an evil spirit (a ghast, if you care) that possesses toys, her weirdo brother and her woefully underdeveloped friends in a series of increasingly improbable and illogical perils. No amount of voice acting or Foley wizardry can vivify that.

So save your time and money for something worthier of your attention. Like, say, a nice, short Computer-Generated Review®.

Posted by Kurt Dietz

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