Shocktoberfest 2017! Day Five: Dolls

Dolls (1987)

Written by Ed Naha / Directed by Stuart Gordon

What are you doing reading this review?  Go watch this amazing movie already!

What are you doing reading this review?  Go watch this amazing movie already!

From the opening shot of Dolls I knew I was in for an amazing time.  Two punks hitchhiking in the middle of nowhere get muddy water splashed on them from a car driven by a bitter woman, stuck on a trip with her lazy boyfriend and his child.  It only gets better from there.  Dolls accomplishes a task that more horror films should strive for, walking a balance beam between fun, playful filmmaking and genuinely horrifying filmmaking.  Even when it is scary, this movie never stops being just flat out fun.  The film feels like an R-rated version of a family adventure film, with most of the story filtered through the eyes of Judy Bower, the adorably plucky young child being dragged along on a family vacation by two comically terrible parental units.  Once their car breaks down in the middle of a rainstorm, the dysfunctional family is driven to a delightfully gothic old castle where an old toymaker and his wife reside.  Later on, the two punks from the side of the road and a warm-hearted man named Ralph also end up looking for shelter from the storm in the old dark house.  But after everyone retires for the night, some strange things start happening, particularly involving the collection of dolls made by the eccentric toymaker.  As silly as everything is, the characters of the story are sympathetic and well crafted.  Aside from a few caricatures, you genuinely care about what happens to these characters, trapped inside a magic house, chased around by demented toys.  Even the “villains” of the story are three-dimensional, with real motivations driving their actions.

Five out of Five Human Souls Trapped Inside Doll Bodies