Rumpelstiltskin (Max Grodénchik) is a goblin-type guy in the 1400s wanting to trick people into letting him grant them wishes so he can claim their first-born babies. The local villagers are less than pleased with his conduct and hunt him down, and a witch turns him into a statue. Flash-forward to present-day LA, when housewife Shelley’s (Kim Johnston Ulrich) husband Russell (Jay Pickett) has recently been gunned down by a carjacker. She buys the statue and cries on it, wishing that Russell could meet their son, which allows the creature to manifest himself in the flesh. Russell “returns”, they have sex, and shortly after he reveals that he’s really Rumpelstiltskin (which is a cheat in my opinion, considering he didn’t actually bring Russell back from the dead—lawsuit!). Shelly is of course far from tickled at the prospect of losing baby John, and leads Rumpy on a merry chase. In the process she meets Max (Tommy Blaze), a talk show host who helps her out. Together with the help of another witch, they stop running and fight.
My sisters and I rented this in the mid-’90s when it was new, and about halfway through it our television’s picture tube quit. Yes, the movie’s so bad it broke my TV. The opening is less than auspicious, the title card reading “Somewhere in Europe—1400’s.” Vague and an unnecessary apostrophe. Rumpelstiltskin tells the crowd, “Come. Bring the pain.” That’s only the first in a series of terrible one-liners, for example “Fucketh me.” There are also goofy goings-on like the monster’s severed arm flipping Shelley off.
Meanwhile Shelley’s best friend Hildy (Allyce Beasley) is profoundly irritating (she’s doing the lonely woman with a string of bad boyfriends bit), as is Max, who delivers most of his dialogue at the top of his voice. I’m also annoyed that Shelley is frustrated at Max for not immediately believing her crazy story and that later they make plans for a date, even though Russell has only been dead for eight months. In addition, the sound is off-kilter; Rumpelstiltskin’s words hardly ever match his lips, and the baby tends to cry silently.
Max Grodénchik gives a good performance as Rumpelstiltskin, at least as far as the physical; he hops and squats and runs very nimbly. But the rest of the acting isn’t great, and the movie is somewhat melodramatic. Further also, the way the film is structured involves Shelley running away from the beast for about an hour, which gets really old. Give it a look if you’re in the mood for a Leprechaun rip-off without the charm of Warwick Davis.