Director: Stuart Gordon
Writer(s): Ed Naha
Starring: Carrie Lorraine, Stephen Lee, Guy Rolfe, Hilary Mason
It’s easy to get lost in the vast ocean of horror movies but being your local horror liaison, let’s talk specifically about the tried and true format of play things coming to life, only to terrorize the populace. I’d like to think a part of my role for this whole sick and twisted experiment that is the FearTASTIC Vault is to introduce people to horror flicks that either have a special place in my heart or some horror treasures that easily get lost in the variety of the genre (or sub-genre…or sub-genre of the sub-genre). In the genre that pits humans against the toys/dolls/puppets/stuffed animals/etc., I’m pretty certain even folks that aren’t even into horror movies can name some classics. We got the obvious Child’s Play series with the iconic Chucky Doll and we’re still cranking out gems from this genre with the most recent offering of Annabelle. This theme isn’t going away any time soon folks but with the innovators cranking away the good ones, the imitators will always follow. It’s difficult to try to distinguish between the two and it’s very easy to disregard a movie that seems to be the same old movie trying to squeeze out that last dollar for that market.
I was in an airport in Atlanta, GA some time ago on the way back from a business trip when a groan emitted from my fatigued body as I found out my flight was delayed for three hours. After sitting around for some time and even enjoying a conversation with American Idol winner, Taylor Hicks (for real folks, THAT happened), I remembered I lived in an age where I can watch a movie right from my iPhone using my Netflix app! Without sounding too much like a commercial, I was reminded why living in this age is pretty amazing. I of course, went straight to the horror section and came across a flick I hadn’t seen since I was 10. The movie poster and title itself had the plot staring me right at the face; DOLLS. The creepy poster featuring a doll with empty eye sockets gave me the thumbs up in the creep factor department so I gave it a go, keeping in mind that this was yet another movie in an inflated sub-genre.
As the movie played out, I realized that this was a movie that helped define, not merely building a genre! The story starts off simple enough with a young child traveling with her snotty parents along with some other weary travelers as they all end up in a creepy house owned by an eccentric old couple. Okay, let’s STOP here; this is the part that seems simple enough right? What came next was what helped boost this film from okay to FANTASTIC; the house is filled with dolls of all kinds that have their own unique way of disposing of their victims. There’s a great twist to the story that gave the dolls themselves some depth on why they kill and which victims they choose. The ending of the movie was also pretty clever, which wrapped everything pretty nicely but also giving you that last feeling of uneasiness as the credits rolled.
As I was reading the credits, I noticed that this movie was produced by Charles Band. Now where do I know that name? I realized that this movie served as a precursor to the studio that would crank out some of my favorite horror movies, especially in the sub-genre of killer toys (or puppets), FULL MOON. So yes, I’d like to think Dolls was a sort of prequel to the parade of movies that would forever change my childhood; a set of movies that would be the MASTER of the sub-genre using…PUPPETS.
*Cue music from The Dark Knight, then Click HERE