DVD Review: Dolls (1987)

A car breaks down on an isolated country road. It is not only a dark and stormy night, it is the longest night in the world. The occupants, little Judy and her dysfunctional parents, are forced to seek shelter for the night in a remote old mansion. The mansion comes into view as it is illuminated by a flash of lightning, of course.

Dolls pokes fun at the formulaic haunted house cliche while also providing some genuine scares. This late-80s thrillfest is not gentle with the gore. In fact, it kind of revels in the gore, but in a comedic, self-indulgent way. It is not cruel and sadistic as some of the more recent horror movies have become.

Meanwhile, back at the spooky old mansion, the family is greeted by an elderly couple who manage to be benevolent and frightening at the same time. The couple, Gabriel and Hilary Hartwicke, are dollmakers.

They are enchanted by Judy (who has amazing comic timing for a child), if a little put off by her snooty, cold-hearted bickering father and step-mother. Soon another trio, a guiless, puppy-dog friendly salesman and two Madonna-damaged “punk rock” troublemaking hitch-hikers escape from the storm to join the party.

Hmm, horror movie + dolls + stranded strangers + stormy night = yes! Dolls that come to life! Bloodthirsty, evil dolls that kill! Score! I love dolls that come to life. In spite of the comedic moments, these dolls are no joke. They are some scary-ass dolls.

Director Stuart Gordon of the Re-animator films has an adept hand at combining comedy and horror. Although not quite on par with films like Evil Dead, this B-movie is still one of the best in the genre.

Along with the campy laughs and cringing horror, there is a definite sense of Twilight Zone-like karma, where the characters you have come to loathe get theirs in the end. The relatively unknown actors are all perfectly cast and have a blast with their roles. This is one of my favorite “sleepers” to turn people on to. So get together a fun group of friends, make some popcorn, and watch the dolls go wild.

Related Posts
13 Films For Halloween That May Have Crawled Beneath Your Radar
What's in a good horror film? The answer to that is no longer as it once was in the days of the movie palaces and the flickering lights and cheap hard ...
READ MORE
Scary Movie Alternatives for the Halloween Season: Oct 8, “The ABCs of Death”
Everyone has their staples for Halloween watching, like John Carpenter’s “Halloween” and “Nightmare Before Christmas.” But be forewarned, gentle reader, because your master of Scarimonies (God, I sound like the ...
READ MORE
Disc Junkie: DVD and Blu-Ray New Releases, August 21-27, 2012
Please note: titles released solely in DVD format are listed in italics, while Blu-ray and Blu-ray/DVD combos are in italic and bold fonts. MULTIPLEX I will solve your dilemma over whether or ...
READ MORE
Interview With James D. Cooper – Lambert and Stamp
I recently discussed the making of Lambert and Stamp with first-time Director James Cooper.  More than just your usual music-related documentary, this stark film hits home on both an artistic ...
READ MORE
Movies ‘Till Dawn: Saturday Morning Matinee Theater – “Stingray”
9 a.m. "Stingray" - "Titan Goes Pop" - Children's Programming/Science Fiction (1964, Shout! Factory/Timeless Media Group) Intentionally funny episode of the popular Gerry Anderson “Supermarionation” series “Stingray” (1964-1965) which pokes fun ...
READ MORE
Movies Till Dawn: All Night All-American ‘70s Crime Wave
12 a.m. – “Dillinger” – Action (1973, Arrow Video) Writer-direction John Milius’ penchant for storytelling on a semi-mythical level makes him the ideal choice to helm this revisionist take on Depression ...
READ MORE
Movies ‘Till Dawn: “The Frozen Dead” (1966)
Nazi scientist Nordberg (Dana Andrews) endures the worst week at the office imaginable in The Frozen Dead: sequestered in a genteel English village since the end of the war, Nordberg ...
READ MORE
Scary Movie Alternatives for the Halloween Season: Oct 12 The Whip And The Body
Everyone has their staples for Halloween watching, like John Carpenter’s “Halloween” and “Nightmare Before Christmas.” But be forewarned, gentle reader, because your master of Scarimonies (God, I sound like the ...
READ MORE
Movies Till Dawn: Saturday Dusk-to-Dawn Marathon
6 p.m. – “Supermensch: The Legend of Shep Gordon” - Documentary (2014, Anchor Bay/Radius) Frothy but entertaining documentary from Mike Myers about talent manager and chutzpah machine Shep Gordon, who guided ...
READ MORE
Disc Junkie: DVD and Blu-ray Releases March 20-26, 2012
Multiplex Let us begin this inaugural tip sheet for home video omnivores with some recent Oscar winners and nominees on DVD and Bluray: David Fincher's gorgeously gloomy U.S version of The Girl ...
READ MORE
13 Films For Halloween That May Have Crawled
Scary Movie Alternatives for the Halloween Season: Oct
Disc Junkie: DVD and Blu-Ray New Releases, August
Interview With James D. Cooper – Lambert and
Movies ‘Till Dawn: Saturday Morning Matinee Theater –
Movies Till Dawn: All Night All-American ‘70s Crime
Movies ‘Till Dawn: “The Frozen Dead” (1966)
Scary Movie Alternatives for the Halloween Season: Oct
Movies Till Dawn: Saturday Dusk-to-Dawn Marathon
Disc Junkie: DVD and Blu-ray Releases March 20-26,
Elise Thompson

About Elise Thompson

Born and raised in the great city of Los Angeles, this food, culture and music-loving punk rock angeleno wants to turn you on to all that is funky, delicious and weird in the city. While Elise holds down the fort, her adventurous alter ego Kiki Maraschino is known to roam the country in search of catfish.
This entry was posted in DVDs. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply