Dolls (1987)

The collaboration between Stuart Gordon and Charles Band produced such memorable films as RE-ANIMATOR, FROM BEYOND, and minor gems like this mean little killer doll film under Empire Pictures' production. It finds a small family arriving at a mysterious mansion that is home to a strange old couple and their house full of dolls after a storm leaves them stranded in the woods. They, along with another car full of strangers, fall under attack by the miniature terrors as the night wares on. Gordon brings the same lavish cinematic style and fluid camerawork that he instills in each of his pictures, creating an excellent visual storytelling. Though the scares are softer since the film is geared largely towards a younger audience, the dolls are nevertheless terrifying and the deaths are surprisingly bloody. The use of high and low angled perspectives along with the flashing lightning each work to enhance the mood, but it is the sinister faces of the dolls, their contorted expressions, and the off-setting stop-motion FX which animate them into frightening reality. Guy Rolfe and Hilary Mason are both highly entertaining in their eccentric roles as the dolls' elderly caretakers, while young Carrie Loraine is sweet and endearing as the whimsical Judy. While the plot and characters are each extremely basic, DOLLS ranks highly based on Stuart Gordon's superior production and the film's lasting scares, making it one of the more enjoyable killer doll features.

Rating: 8/10.
Gore: 6/10.
Number of views: 5.

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  1. This sounds very interesting. Dolls themselves are eerie.

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  2. Yeah, I was pleasantly surprised by this movie when AMC aired it last Halloween. Some of the gore is surprisingly dramatic.

    If you're looking for more doll films to cover, you may want to check out the Full Moon stuff I'm doing all next week.

    Incidentally, there are also 'Black Devil Doll,' 'The Living Doll' and 'Doll Graveyard.'

  3. Ive heard THE LIVING DOLL is all sorts of fucked up slash necrophilic

  4. I remember reading about this in Fangoria when this first came out and being really excited to see it. I did enjoy it a lot, it just is a really short movie. Gordon's PIT & THE PENDULUM needs a damn DVD re-release and preferably uncut, too.

    BLACK DEVIL DOLL FROM HELL (1984) is a horrible movie and the recent remake is really bad, too, at least in my opinion. I couldn't finish it. Not sure which one Tim is referencing.

    Probably the best damn killer doll movie, imo, would have to be the Zuni Fetish doll segment in TRILOGY OF TERROR (1975). That thing was out there. The sequel story in TRILOGY OF TERROR 2 (1996) was pretty good, too.

  5. The Zuni is ABSOLUTELY at the top of the charts, V did you happen to grab the 1:1 replica that was released a few years back?? I might have to take pics and send you, we have it proudly displayed in our hutch

  6. No, I missed that one, but a friend of mine in NY has it. Lucky bastards, lol

  7. I don't always suggest things because they're good. In fact, that's usually not one of my major reasons.

    As to which version of 'Devil Doll' I was referring to, it was the original. The Cinema Snob actually did a video review of it back in the day. It's not good.

    I actually haven't seen 'The Living Doll,' save for the clips of it in the Mondo Macabro trailer video. I know that it has Eartha Kitt in it, if that helps.

    Incidentally, the first 'Doll' review is up tomorrow. It's 'Blood Dolls,' the film that Full Moon clearly wanted to start a series. It's been about 11 years, so don't go looking for one that hard...