Plot: On a stormy night in the middle of nowhere, a rural road host a few travelers in search of some refuge. After their car gets stuck in the mud, a rich couple and their young daughter walk to the only house in sight, a large old home that looks a little creepy on a night like this. As it turns out, the house belongs to Gabriel (Guy Rolfe) and his wife and luckily, they are quite hospitable. The couple is unimpressed with the musty old home, but the young girl Judy loves the place. Gabriel is a doll maker, so he gives her a special doll named Mr. Punch and Judy is elated. Soon after they arrive, another motorist comes in and has two young hitch-hikers in tow. Once again, Gabriel and his wife are quite welcoming, though the hitch-hikers seem more interested in what they can steal before they leave. As the night continues, it becomes clear this old house has some secrets and the dolls that Gabriel crafts are more than meets the eye. What will become of those who sought shelter from the storm?
Entertainment Value: No one does killer doll movies like Charles Band, who produced a host of them at Full Moon and before that, Empire Pictures. Dolls was produced by Band and directed by Stuart Gordon with special effects by John Carl Buechler, so this is one packs some serious talent behind the scenes. The narrative is simple and to the point, as some stranded motorists wind up at an old, creepy house and discover the doll maker’s creations aren’t just decorations. This one is a lot of fun, with a brisk pace and some quite impressive special effects. The various dolls are fun to watch and the sheer variety is remarkable, from clowns to baby dolls to porcelain ladies to toy soldiers, and even more types of dolls. This allows the movie to set up attacks and kills of numerous types, which keeps things fresh. This isn’t just one doll with a knife, this is a house full of pissed off toys out for blood. The scenes with crowds of living dolls are a highlight, especially one where they all turn their heads toward a character in unison, that is nightmare inducing stuff. The dolls are a prominent presence as well, not just pushed into a few scenes, but a consistent part of the narrative. The cast is rock solid, but Guy Rolfe steals the show as the doll maker Gabriel. If you’re a fan of horror movies, creepy dolls, or cool special effects, don’t miss Dolls.
No nakedness. If you were hoping for some doll on human romance, you’ll need to go watch Black Devil Doll from Hell. The movie has some fun bloodshed though, with the dolls on a rampage throughout. I love the scenes where the dolls swarm on victims, as they’re so creepy and if you’re afraid of eerie dolls, those scenes are bound to stick with you after. The dolls also use a punk girl’s head as a battering ram, stab people, slice people, and as the poster suggests, someone has their eyeballs torn out. You also have some fun effects when the dolls get cracked open, revealing gross green creatures inside, complete with sticky ooze. But to me, the highlight is a toy soldier firing squad, which is just a super fun sequence. The dialogue has some bright spots, from the punk girls to Gabriel’s creepy presence, but not much in terms of memorable lines. This has a mostly serious tone though, so its not unexpected. I do think there’s some craziness here though, as the doll related horror is super creepy and creative. Not a total festival of mayhem, but a few nice moments of craziness, I think.
Overall Insanity: 2/10