Dolls (1987)

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Having loved Stuart Gordon’s Reanimator (1986) and From Beyond (1987), it took me a long time to view a movie that he made in between these two gorefests, called Dolls (1987). Although the Puppet Master and Childs Play series were all great fun, it is bizarre that this little gem never quite managed a sequel. By all accounts, Gordon had a storyline all ready but the project never got the greenlight.

Dolls follows the story of a young girl, Judy and her brutish father and cold, but rich, stepmother breaking down outside an old house in the forest en route to their vacation destination. It soon becomes apparent that Judy is baggage that is clearly unwanted. The family take refuge in the house along with a shy businessman, Ralph and two repugnant female punk rockers.The owners, Gabriel and Hilary are eccentric old toymakers (or so it seems) with plenty of their creations occupying each and every corner of the property. They enthusiastically invite their guests to spend the night. A night in which very few are likely to survive.

Although this tale is dark and gruesome, it has a warmth and big heart beating at its core. It is short and fast moving with almost no filler. You never quite know if Judy is safe from the occupants of the house or more in danger from her unstable and unloving guardians. Stephen Lee (Ralph) is likeable as the shy but caring protector to the young girl.

The dolls themselves are very creepy but used sparingly and are all the more sinister for it. Naturally all hell breaks loose and the little critters do not disappoint when thinking up imaginative ways to dispose of the wrong doers.

I thought this was a cracking little horror. Maybe some of the performances are slightly amateurish but it all wraps itself up to a satisfyingly bitter-sweet conclusion. The golden rule seems to be ‘it’s best to stay young at heart and always listen to your kids’.

Rating: ★★★★★★★☆☆☆


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About DAVID GILLESPIE 169 Articles
Fighting for clean bathrooms and restrooms since 1974.

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