Dolls (1987, Stuart Gordon)

Part three of my Stuart Gordon run during Shocktober 2007. Never thought I’d rent Dolls, but here I am. This movie predates Puppet Master by two years, Dollman and Demonic Toys by four and five years. Of course, stuff like Devil Doll has been around forever, but I used to see the box art for Dolls and assume it was a Puppet Master ripoff… guess not.

This is a gory horror movie for little kids. I’ll bet it didn’t do very well. A doll-loving little girl with an active imagination has a neglectful father and a wicked stepmother. Their car breaks down outside a huge house in the country owned by an elderly dollmaker couple. Coincidentally, a big doll-loving man-child and two brit-punk hitchhikers he picked up are in the same situation. Who will survive the night? Hint: only those who are pure of heart, treat children with respect, love dolls and don’t attempt to steal from the elderly.

Disturbingly, instead of (or in addition to?) outright killing people, the dolls capture them and turn them into new dolls, with awful little apple mummy heads behind their gentle ceramic faces. There are some doll-sized stabbings and shootings, but sadly no Puppet-Master blowtorches or drill-heads. Story really does play out like a children’s tale, which is just confusing. Kinda cool movie overall, cute and short.

The writer of this thing later co-wrote Honey I Shrunk The Kids with Gordon and Yuzna, and is now writing those badly-animated christian movies.

One britpunk girl starred in A-Ha’s “Take On Me” video. The manchild played the Big Bopper in La Bamba and costarred in Gordon’s Pit and the Pendulum. Gabriel the old man played Toulon in four of the Puppet Master films (heh, typecast as a murderous puppetmaker). The stepmother, awesome at being a completely horrible person, is the electroshock-giving evil doctor in From Beyond who gets her brain sucked out her eye socket by Jeffrey Combs. And the bad dad appeared in the Charles Band-written classic Terrorvision.

Movie starts the same way as Dagon… family vacation threatened by a suspiciously sudden thunderstorm.