The German film of supernatural suspense Making Contact; aka, Joey(1985) can be viewed in German with English subtitles, or dubbed into English.
The dubbed version I found a little disconcerting due to voices & faces failing to match. For instance, right from the opening scene, with an African American voice coming out of that white German preacher... And no one's acting seems up to snuff in the Englished version.
The German version is a bit longer (uncut) as well, & the musical soundtrack fits much, much better. So I settled on viewing it in its original langauge, which improved the effect of the acting.
Joey (Joshua Morrell) has lost his father. Alone in his room after the funeral he goes to the window & looks out to pray to the night, "Daddy, please come back." The prayer seems to trigger a poltergiest event as all his toys begin moving about the room. Joey covers his eyes until the impossible event passes.
When things quieten down, Charlie the foot-tall robot is still alive, & does the E-T "finger touch" with Joey. At this point it's turning into a lovely fairy tale for the whole family, but it will eventually get very dark.
Besides friendly Charlie, there's also the toy phone, which becomes a conduit to talk to Daddy in the afterlife. When mom overhears her son talking to daddy on the play-phone, she gets a sorrowful look, but doesn't guess it might be real.
Soon it is obviousJoey has telekinetic powers, unless his father's spirit is following him to school to play little tricks. Indeed it appears quite possuble Joey is inducing all phenomena, though that will slowly seem less & less likely. The specific source of all the unfolding strangeness is never fully revealed, though it seems to have begun with Joey's wish for his daddy's return, which induced many other spiritual presences.
One day Charlie the robot, trying to escape from Joey's dog Scooter, enters the abandoned house down the block. His is first to encounter with a sinister ventriloquist doll with monocle. Joey looking for Charlie finds the puppet amidst dusty trash, & brings it home, cleans it up, displays it among other privileged toys. So far only Charlie realizes it is, like himself, alive. And the little robot has good reason to fear the evil doll.
Mom (Eva Kryll) discovers Joey's telekinesis & is slightly alarmed after realizing it's not a trick. "Daddy helps me," he explains, & the toy phone is at that moment ringing in his bedroom. He heads off to answer the phone, but Scooter refuses to go in the room with the evil doll, which uses its own telekinetic power to keep Joey from answering the phone, revealing himself as diabolical & intent on stopping the communications with Dad.
The television comes on & "coincidentally" is showing a documentary on an old vaudeville act, Fletcher & Fletcher, the human component of the ventriloquist act having died mysteriously in 1954.
The dummy at any event, communicating telepathically at first but later actually speaking, threatens to kill Joey's mother. So Joey's idyllic communications with the spirit of his father has transformed into a child's nightmare.
He buries the evil puppet in the back yard. Unfortunately neighborhood bullies saw the burial, & dig him up. The bullies also use radio control army tanks to terrorize cowardly Charlie the robot, so Joey uses his own powers to destroy the expensive toy tanks, as he evidently also has the power to blow things to bits.
Joey's teacher Martin (Jan Zierold) comes by & stays for dinner. Mom tells the teacher what's been going on, including phone calls from dad & threats made by the malicious puppet. Even if he doesn't believe it, he is soon witness to Joey's telekinetic & pyrokinetic powers, which might alone explain the other phenomena, if Joey is doing all of it.
Soon the evil puppet traps Joey in his room & begins a campaign of menace against Joey, his mom, & the teacher. A war of Joey's powers vs the puppet's powers results.
The story takes a chaotic left turn at this stage as the government sends in teams to investigate the events. They are calmly certain Joey has done everything by his own extraordinary abilities, & that he has interferred with the phone system city-wide. They block off his street, & hook Joey up to testing devices. The chief investigator has had experience with people who had similar powers.
Meanwhile the neighborhood kids, led by the bullies, are plotting to kidnap Joey Collins, even with government agents surrounding the place, a side-story that doesn't do much for the film. When the kids rout the government ivestigators, it's just nonsensical, the film having lost all focus & credibility at this point.
The evil dummy, tied up in the closet, simultaneously re-exerts his powers, as a spoof of Star Wars () unfolds with bits from Poltergeist () & ET the Extraterrestrial furhter clutter up the tale with goofy FX.
Mom unrealistically just ran off abandoning Joey to the government agents who took over their house. Martin goes after her & has to convince her to come back. When she finally exerts herself & tells the government to get out, they just do, & that's that. No attempt to make any of it consistent; the script is all over the place. The agents are soon replaced by a whole mess of policemen, however, when things continue to be crazy.
The bullies having failed to kidnap Joey at least steal the dummy, not knowing how much danger that puts them in. They gather in the abandoned house, which begins to fall down around them. Out of the floorboards arises an enormous demon-worm or penis-monster or the gods know what it's supposed to be.
By now the film is so ornately idiotic nothing needs to make a lick of sense, so all kinds of crap is tossed in without common thread, even a giant hamburger monster, apparently not intended as a joke. Even Scooby-doo is more credible than this stuff.
The film never could decide if it wanted to be a film for eight year olds or for the family or a horror story unsuitable for kids. It's a mishmash, with Joey & good-girl Sally (Tammy Shields) joining the bullies in the the abandoned house.
They're looking for the central source of everything that's happened, for a final confrontation with the dummy & the ghostly ventriloquist the dummy has long held captive, tacking on Joey's 2001: A Space Odyssey () type journey into the afterlife to find daddy.
There's still more clutter with Joey taken unconscious to the hospital, his temporary death, the return of the government investigators, & a final Poltergeist eruption of all the toys, with a happy ending the ultimate goal of this amazingly stupid film.
Incoherently written & nonsensical overall, Making Contact is nevertheless not badly acted & has a slick appearance, & the dummy at least really was creepy.
Continue to the next evil doll movie:
Dolly Dearest (1992)
copyright © by Paghat the Ratgirl