“TOYS ARE NOT FOR CHILDREN”
Psychological Trauma and Aberrant Sexuality
Psychological trauma and aberrant sexuality abound in ‘”Toys Are Not for Children”, a 1972 tale of a young woman with severe daddy issues that send her on a downward spiral. Jamie (Marcia Forbes) years for the love of her estranged father and lives in an infantile world with lots of toys that her dad sends to her. She marries Charlie (Harlan Clay Poe) but is unable to consummate her marriage. By chance Jamie meets Pearl (Evelyn Kingsley), an elderly sex worker who takes her into the world of prostitution where her most erotic fantasies ply out. Directed by Sidney H. Brasloff, this is a strangely affecting movie and a representative of American sexploitation films that were popular in the 70s. The film builds to a devastating climax that stays with the viewer long after the film is over.
The movie opens on a dark bedroom and we hear hot and heavy breathing and see that a naked girl is in bed. She moans “Daddy . . . Daddy . . . Oh Daddy. . . .” She writhes sensually on top of the sheets, her bare legs moving up and down while she is embracing a doll. The girl’s mother walks in on her and gets uptight. She is disgusted and calls this dry-humping “unnatural.”
Jamie Godard works at a toy store and we see her as an innocent, wide-eyed girl. She is twenty yet still plays with toys. She loves them and according to the store manager, has a real emotional connection with them. At home, her bedroom is filled with dolls and stuffed animals from her father. Even though he walked out of her life many, many years ago, he still sends her a doll for every occasion. We begin to understand that Jamie has Daddy issues as well as Mommy issues (that give her Daddy issues). Jamie’s mother tells her that men are evil and as a result, Jamie lives in fear of penises.
When Jamie and Charlie get married, she can’t even undress in front of her new husband! There are flashbacks to her mother warning about men to her as a little girl playing with her father. Jamie is paralyzed with fear. She starts to cry but, Charlie claims to understand and tells her that, “Everyone’s afraid of their first time.”
We fast forward in time and see Charlie at a disco, hitting the sauce and hitting on the ladies. Jamie has turned him off so he must look elsewhere. Meanwhile Jamie looks for her father but meets Pearland Jamie is fascinated. Eventually she gives herself up to Pearl’s pimp. And from here the movie slowly grows and devolves into a twisted pseudo-psycho-sexual drama.
The movie takes huge leaps in logic and proves that narrative devices like character development and motivation are unnecessary to develop a plot. Yet everything is presented beautifully and thoughtfully — flashbacks are expertly and artfully cut in with dialogue. We hear and see Jamie’s father as she faces carnal desires. The entire movie has a dissociative air. The plot slowly unfolds, each scene more pleasantly ridiculous than the last. Jamie’s outfits become more outlandish and revealing. The dress she wears to meet her father is something you’d get at a sex shop. .
Her husband wants to penetrate Jamie and a former New York Yankee great wants to penetrate her and even her father wants to penetrate her. Her father wants nothing to do with his daughter. On the other hand, she definitely wants to have sex with her father. Here is a film that delivers sleaze that could be construed as off-kilter.
Is this film really about a childlike twenty year-old woman who decides to become a whore in order to reunite with her long lost father? So it seems. A great movie or even a good movie, this is not but I did have a lot of fun watching it.
SPECIAL EDITION CONTENTS
Brand new 2K restoration from original film elements
High Definition Blu-rayTM (1080p) presentation
Original uncompressed mono audio
Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
Brand new audio commentary with Kat Ellinger and Heather Drain
Newly-filmed appreciation by Nightmare USA author Stephen Thrower
Dirty Dolls: Femininity, Perversion and Play – a brand new video essay by Alexandra Heller-Nicholas
Original theme song Lonely Am I , newly transferred from the original 45-RPM vinyl single
Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by The Twins of Evil
FIRST PRESSING ONLY: Collector s booklet featuring new writing on the film by Vanity Celis