Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Dolls

Does she walk? Does she talk?
Does she come complete?
- J. Geils Band 

Dolls are inherently creepy. They just sit there with their dead glassy eyes and painted on smiles, looking all sweet and innocent, and you just know they're going to try and kill you with in your sleep with a big butcher knife. Okay, maybe that's just me. But still, dolls are weird.

Enter the movie Dolls, which is one of my favorite movies as an adult and would have been my worst nightmare as a child. Dolls, directed by Re-Animator director Stuart Gordon, is a fun horror flick that doesn't take itself too seriously.  Is there blood? Yep. People get gored, shot and stabbed. Is it scary? Yeah, it's creepy as hell. But it's also cute. Yeah I said it. It's cute.

Judy (Carrie Lorraine) is an imaginative little girl who is vacationing with her unfeeling father and bitchy stepmother when their car gets trapped in the mud. They take refuge in the home of an older couple (Guy Rolf and Hilary Mason having a grand old time) and meet a few other stranded travelers including Brit punk girls, Astrid and Isabel, and overgrown man-child Ralph.

So what we have here is your standard horror set-up with a bunch of people trapped in one house on a dark and stormy night. But then we learn about the old couple's creepy little doll collection and the real fun begins.

Dolls works well in part due to a good script and a good director. The acting is decent, the characters are fun and the pacing is spot on. But at the heart of the movie are the dolls themselves. Think 'killer doll' movie and everyone screams Chucky but whereas Chucky was a foul-mouthed little brat, the dolls in Dolls are, well, dolls. They smile. They have glassy eyes. When they frown, they frown sweetly. Heck, they even smile while trying to saw off your ankle. If you threw Chucky in a room with these dolls, they'd eat him for lunch but they'd also look darn cute doing it, which ups the creep factor.

I have yet to hear a single horror fan say they hate this movie. But a lot of people haven't seen it, which is a shame because it's a great little cult film with heart (and some guts too.) 

Favorite Moments (may contain spoilers):
  • Death by toy soldier firing squad.
  • Rosemary giving the dolls a look of utter contempt before leaping to her death.
  • Punch the Jester telling Ralph: "You know, Ralph...deep down, you know...."
 Fun Facts Kids!
  • Bunty Bailey, who plays punk girl Isabel, starred in A-Ha's "Take On Me" video.
  • Carolyn Purdy-Gordon (bitchy Step-Mom Rosemary) is the real-life wife of director Stuart Gordon. 
  • To make him appear older, Guy Rolfe had to have his very black hair dyed white.
  • The movie was produced by Full Moon Productions and apparently Charles Band was not happy with the finished product. Which is yet another reason to hate Charles Band. 

 Agree?  Disagree?  Or just have a random string of curse words you'd like to share? Comment!

    3 comments:

    Jacqueline Diaz said...

    I saw this film, several years ago with my young (8-10 at the time) daughter. It's one of those "family friendly" horror films, even though it's spooky and bloody at times.

    Personally, I thought it was okay, but my young daughter called it the scariest movie ever. The I recalled that as a kid I always thought to myself, what if dolls do have "life" in them, but only when human's aren't around to see.

    From an adult's perspective, this movie was okay; but for a younger person, yes, it's frightening and creepy as hell.

    Cheryl Z said...

    Ha, yeah maybe I never quite grew up. Or maybe it's because I had an extensive doll collection as child. But those dolls freak me right the heck out.

    Your daughter must have been very brave. : )

    Jacqueline Diaz said...

    She WAS pretty freaked for while about her dolls, but that ended quickly. She's much older now & doesn't really enjoy slasher/torture horror films and refuses to watch them. That's okay with me. :)

    However, she does enjoy an occasional zombie flick, or a "tamer" horror movies like Session 9 and the first Paranormal Activity.

    Whereas I grew up on a staple of Hammer Horror Films, the USA channel's Saturday Nightmares, and plenty of horror anthology series (Friday the Thirteenth, Tales From the Darkside, Monsters, The New Twilight Zone, Freddy's Nightmares, etc.), not to mention slasher flicks unedited on late night cable. So I'm a bit more inured to cinematic violence. For me it's a fun genre to enjoy, especially from a technical standpoint.

    By the way, I found your site from a link on IMDB, and am glad I did!