SassyFlix | The Devil's Gift

The Devil's Gift

  • NR
  • 1984-01-01
  • 01:52:00
5/ 10
5 votes

Horror, Thriller

An evil demon that inhabits a monkey doll takes over the mind of a suburban housewife to carry out its plans.

There is a little toy monkey that becomes possessed. A young boy is given the monkey as a birthday gift. The monkey begins to systematically kill his way up the family food chain. Only Dad knows what’s going on. Only he can stop the evil of The Devil’s Gift.


The Devil’s Gift is a 90-minute movie and that is the entire plot. This would have made a decent half-hour or hour-long Twilight Zone episode. At its current length, all I can do is applaud the efforts of all involved. The film never lost me but it rarely grabbed me. It moves glacially from event to event. And I think the director knew it because he edited the film down quite a bit to make it the second half of his film Merlin’s Shop Of Mystical Wonders, with Ernest Borgnine.

The whole thing looks a lot like an after school special that never really found the issue it was after. There is a widowed dad raising a son in a lovely Don Dohler-esque suburb. He has a best friend next door who he pals around with all the time. Dad talks to his mother regularly and has a nice girlfriend. It all seems like it’s waiting for alcoholism or some such malady to rear its head. But instead, we get a possessed monkey toy.

Because it has that after school special feel and it never goes beyond PG scares, I believe my mother might like this movie. She likes to be scared but not too much. She’d have a lot to say about this film. She’d focus on how sweet the little boy is and the meanness of the monkey toy. Personally, I feel like I should say more, but my mind keeps spinning in circles. Try as I might, I have no strong opinions about The Devil’s Gift either way. I can see that it’s slow and goes on for far too long, but a part of me really liked it. However, I’m not sure I can use that criteria to send someone after a movie. Not when The Last Slumber Party remains unwatched by at least one person.

A Cheesy 80s "Annabelle" with a Monkey instead of a Doll

The movie is about a demon-possessed toy monkey with cymbals on its hands. Every time it claps its cymbals, something dies. First plants, then it moves to bigger prey. The premise is actually pretty good. You may recognize this movie because it was shoe-horned into the much worse "Merlin's Shop of Mystical Wonders," which was featured once on Mystery Science Theater 3000. It was nice to see it as a standalone movie, which I didn't even realized existed. Granted, this movie could have been edited down to half its length and been better, but that can be said about most cheesy horror movies. I don't think it's quite as bad as a lot of people say. The acting and script are terrible, but the story as a whole isn't too bad. Sure it's bad and laughable, but If you enjoy B-horror movies, you'll get a kick out of it.

Competent and Enjoyable

Why the hate? This is a perfectly fine horror 80's movie. It's cheesy with bland performances like every other mid-range 80's horror movie. AND it's got a creepy, cymbal playing monkey! What's creepier than that!? One review mention there was no swearing. So? It's about a family with a young boy. Are they really supposed to curse around him? As to a "Christian" bent, the guy wears a pentagon medallion which protects him, not a cross.

There are some tense moments which only come with good camera placement and editing. The final assault scene worked well and even though you could script it in your sleep, like a joke you love to hear, I gasped happily despite knowing the punchline.

This is *slightly* better than average.

Return to sender!

Susan (Vicki Saputo) buys a cymbal-playing toy monkey with glowing eyes at an antique store to give to her boyfriend's young son Micheal (Straun Robertson) for his birthday. It turns out to be possessed by a demon, which means the electricity goes off, the plants wilt and Charlie the goldfish and Sparkle the dog are goners. Eventually it possesses Susan which puts dad David (Bob Mendlesohn) on a quest to find out what's going on.

I think this was made by some Christian right-wing group to get back at the all the gory 80s slasher movies, because there's no violence, nudity or profanity. I can't think of a horror movie with more hugging, kissing, tickling, "knuckle sandwiches," back patting, good family values and platonic puppy-doggy lovey-dovey, and it's set in white bread middle class suburbia. David cheerfully tells his neighbor, "If there was a friend of the year award, you'd get it!" Even a psychic's home is littered with velvet paintings and statues of Jesus! Most of the running time is composed of the boring everyday events of boring everyday people, all set to bad elevator-style Muzak. It copies Stephen King's short story "The Monkey" and is pure torture from start to finish.

Cheap and predictable, but enjoyable

"The Devil's Gift" is a low budget, maybe even an amateur horror film, inspired by King's story "The Monkey." Girl of single-parenting father brings monkey-doll as a present for his son birthday. It turns out that in a monkey resides a murderous demon which is impossible to get rid of. When I saw the IMDb rating of 2.4, I was thinking whether to give it a chance at all, but I was dead set to see all the films inspired by Stephen King and not to skip anything. The first half hour is a real agony. The film shows an idyllic life in the suburbs and everything is bright and cheerful and the atmosphere is like in some Disney comedy for little children. In addition, the film is so cheap that it is difficult to classify it as B production. Rather somewhere in the range from X to Z. Literally nothing happens, not even introduction to characters so we can empathize with them later. So virtually redundant unprovoked half an hour. I was at the very edge of giving up on it when the movie finally caught my attention, until finally, I was sitting at the edge of my chair, and even stood up to go and turn the lights on. The story is great, and the film manages to be very creepy and even scary, despite the fact it is happening during the day and despite the complete absence of almost all elements typical of horror. There is no darkness, no surprises, no monsters, no gore. Even despite the terrible production. The end is quite predictable, but the fact that I knew what was going to happen did not spoil my experience at all. I was rather eager to see if I was right, and when the prediction came true, I rejoiced as a child. People resent the lack of nudity, violence, and gore typical of the B horrors of the '80s, but these objections are unfounded, since those elements do not fit into this story. Basically, the only really significant drawbacks are idling in the first half of the movie and poor production. With a decent budget, it might have been a great episode of some horror series, like "Twilight Zone" or "Tales from the Darkside". With better production and run-time between 30 and 45 minutes, this would be a strong eight, maybe more, but this way I rate it five out of ten, more for effort than objective quality.


I remember seeing this as a kid; I was born in 1985, so when I saw this I was like "cool" and it still is for the time it was created in. The concept was quite rare back then, a spirit possessing a doll. Back then horror was done right, with the focus on scaring the audience via emotion instead of over the top CGI. This is a gem, similar to the entity & wish master.

Smelly monkey turd.

"The Devil's Gift" is about a toy monkey that the mother has found in an old toy shop and bought for her son.No matter how the family tries to get rid of it,the monkey always comes back with deadly consequences.This film is strikingly similar to Stephen King's short story "The Monkey" about cymbal-banging monkey toy that is possessed by an evil spirit.Every time the monkey claps its little cymbals together somebody dies."The Devil's Gift" is so sweet and cheerful that you will want to vomit.The opening animated sequence is surprisingly clever,unfortunately the rest of the film is deadly dull and without any suspense or gore.One of the very worst horror movies from 80's.3 monkeys out of 10.

Original version of "Merlins Shop of Mystical Wonders", NO BETTER!

This is a c****y movie that for some reason was later tacked onto the "other" Kenneth J. Berton film "Merlin's Shop of Mystical wonders". It's about a toy monkey that kills animals and somehow keeps getting bought by the same damn family over and over again, i only have to say this about all the coincidences... BULL****! Which by the way describes this movie in full.



Directed by:

Kenneth J. Berton

Writing Credits: