Monday, April 15, 2013

Dolls (Why You Should Be Nice to Your Toys)

Sometimes I feel like a bad horror movie fan. As in, not a fan of bad horror movies, but a bad fan of horror movies. Such was the case when I finally sat down to watch Dolls, by Re-Animator's Stuart Gordon and wondered how I could have let this languish for so long on the shelf of the video store as a child. Probably because I don't really remember seeing it there. I remember the cover for Dolly Dearest, but not this one. Which is a shame if my store didn't carry it, for it is awesome.

Though chances are it was in a different section, like kids' films, as this  plays out pretty much like a movie geared towards a younger crowd, what with the whole message that playing with toys is great and you should always stay young at heart. Of course, the brutal murders in it would probably stop me from showing it to my own child.

Probably.



I'd be more concerned with some of the dolls scaring her more, as the designs on them are well done and utterly creepy, making them look at times like a dolls face mask that is covering a completely horrid appearance. Which is also kind of the case. Kind of.

The story revolves around some waylaid travelers whose cars are stuck in the mud. One group is made up of a family of sorts--a little girl named Judy and her asshole father and step-mother. The other is two punk rock chicks and a nice goof named Ralph. They seek shelter in a mysterious old house (never a good idea), where they are taken in by a kindly old couple, one of whom is Andre Toulon from Puppetmaster 3. Of course something seems a little off about them and we should be clued into what is going to happen by the fact they laugh maniacally at being called witches. Of course the name of the movie probably helps telegraph that as well. As well as the dolls that basically litter the house.

It doesn't take long before everyone heads to bed and weird things start happening. Murderous things. Also, Judy is given a Punch doll to play with since her stepmother threw away her teddy bear and he is awesome.

And someone gets thrown through a window.

And there's an attic filled with torture devices.

And there's a clown doll.

The movie has a fantastic, dream-like quality about it, which makes you wonder if everything isn't some horrible nightmare that Judy is having to get our her frustrations over having some wankers for parents. The house is a great location and rather expansive and exploring it to find out what's happening adds quite a bit of tension. The acting is solid, with Guy Rolfe pretty much stealing the show every time he's on the screen. Judy isn't annoying, which is pretty much the only quality I need in a child actor.

If there's a complaint I have, it's that it is rather easy to pick out who is going to live just by their attitude alone. Still, the people who die are pretty much dicks so it's not like you're rooting for them over the dolls.

The special effects are well done for the budget, utilizing a combination of puppetry and stop-motion to bring the dolls to life. All in all, it's a hoot and I'm saddened that it took me this long to discover the film.

Check it out.

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