Dolls


Year 1987

Ian Williams as  David Bower
Carolyn Purdy-Gordon   as Rosemary Bower
Carrie Lorraine as Judy Bower
Guy Rolfe as Gabriel Hartwicke  
Hilary Mason as Hilary Hartwicke
 
Director - Stuart Gordon
Screenwriter - Ed Naha
Producers - Charles Band
  - Brian Yuzna

This is one that I wish I could put in the not too shabby category, but unfortunately, it didn't earn a spot above the rock.

It's basically an old Twilight Zone style episode. Dolls come to life and kill people who aren't young at heart. That's fair right? It's like saying you have to be a murderer to be innocent.

The whole concept is not exactly original. But then very little that Stuart Gordon and Brian Yuzna do is original. Re-Animator, Body Snatchers, and From Beyond can be traced to one or both of them. So, that means that an original story isn't required for an original portrayal.

I had hopes for Dolls as a black comedy along the lines of Re-Animator or even Space Truckers. If there was any, comedy that is, it was overcome by really, really bad acting. What works for Jeffery Combs doesn't work for everyone. Jeffery Combs, in the role of Herbert West for example, becomes an intense parody of himself and the result is entrancing. Jeffery Combs is a good actor, though.

As for the people in this movie, well, the dolls have more pathos and nuance than the living. With the exception of one adult in the movie, a Pillsbury Doughboy of a man, adults are evil. They can't act, they shout a lot, they like to steal and hit children. With the exception of hitting children, they're just like Nancy Pelosi. They even roll their eyes as often as she does, and this movie came out before her thrust onto center stage.

(Don't get upset. She's just so available and so surreal that she can fit into any situation that calls for a Lady Macbeth character. Invasion of the Body Snatchers where the people have no emotion Nancy Pelosi. They Stole Hitler's Brain where tyrants are brought back from the dead Nancy Pelosi I mean have you looked at her? Night of the Living Dead where zombies eat living tissue, especially brains Nancy Pelosi. The list goes on...)

(Although to be fair, John McCain is another good candidate for mindlessness. McCain or Pelosi? McCain or Pelosi? Let's do the funhouse mirror test that I just made up. If both of these people were in a funhouse and saw their reflections in the wavy mirrors, which one would most likely say, "I don't see a difference?" Winner by a tax dollar funded face lift and Botox treatment (probably) Nancy Pelosi!)

Anyway, in Dolls there's an evil old couple that has a house in the forest. It was a nice touch to have the young protagonist be seen reading "Hansel and Gretel" a couple of times. And the people who played the old couple were the perfect combination of comforting and psychotic. Nice acting by these two. But for everyone else? "Dive! Dive!" ("But the captain's on the conning tower!" "Crash dive!")

You've got a cute little urchin in Judy...usually. But once she has lines to speak, it all falls apart. Am I picking on a young girl? Not really. I'm picking on the people who chose her for the part. If all the girl had to do was mug for the camera and say cute things like McCauley Caulkin used to, she would have been great.

Was she someone's daughter or granddaughter? I only ask this because one of the stars is Carolyn Purdy-Gordon. Related to Stuart Gordon? This film smacks of nepotism. It's its only justifiable defense.

Still, I watched it to the end, so it's not the worst thing ever committed to film. I'm a sucker for stop-action photography and it's not too badly done here. There are a couple of fuzzy scenes where camera focus was all screwed up. It was no King Kong, but for the most part the effects were appropriate.

Chick flick potential may be higher than I suspect. I mean, you've got the cute little girl (Judy) and the hero (Ralph) who may live happily ever with Judy's mom. But there is blood and a couple of gory scenes. I can't call this one.


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