Review: Dolls / Cert: 18 / Director: Stuart Gordon / Screenplay: Ed Naha / Starring: Ian Patrick Williams, Carolyn Purdy-Gordon, Carrie Lorraine / Release Date: Out Now
The '80s were a boom-time for horror. The explosion of home video meant that a plethora of genre titles were released weekly, cashing in on the new format. One person who took advantage of this was Charles Band, who produced a whole slew of cheap terror films during the period. One of those films was Dolls.
The plot is simple enough – a storm maroons a group of strangers at an old mansion, where they are welcomed in by the elderly owners and they settle down for the night. However, they are not alone, as the titular figures start picking them off one by one. Told you it was simple!
It’s cheap and cheesy and reminds you of exactly why you loved horror films as a kid, but now you can see the cracks and gaps. Apart from the fact that the only characters to die are the ones who deserve it, there seems to be little to the film.
There are perhaps the two most annoyingly accented British characters in a horror film ever, sub-par special effects (it seems amazing that this was released the same year as Child’s Play) and some of the worst acting this side of the Razzie Awards.
The release itself is bare bones as you can get. Apart from a commentary (with Gordon and Naha), there are no extras, not even the original trailer. The sound mix appears to be off, as a lot of the dialogue is so low that you have to turn the volume up to try and decipher what part of the scenery is being chewed. In this day and age, with older films getting releases that they deserve, packages like this are pretty unacceptable.
The film is worth a viewing just to see how cheaply some of these films were put together before CGI came along, but be warned that it’s a film you’ll only need to watch once. And to think that this was directed by Stuart Gordon and part produced by Brian Yuzna, who both had hands in the classic Re-Animator. Shudder.
Extras: Audio commentary.