A Passion For Horror
Directed by Stuart Gordon
doesn’t take too much imagination to figure out what this 80s horror
movie is about. That’s right, you’ve guessed it, dolls; but these dolls
are not the common all garden type of dolls that you see little girls
pushing around in prams. These dolls have attitude. Try pushing these
dolls and they push back—hard.
When the weather takes a sudden turn for the worse
the Bowers find
themselves driving through a horrific thunderstorm and their car soon
becomes stuck in mud, leaving them stranded in the middle of nowhere.
Then a flash of lightning reveals a spooky-looking old house a little
distance away so they head towards it, seeking shelter from the storm.
When nobody answers the door though, they find their own way inside,
via an open basement door.
The house is owned by toymaker Gabrielle Hartwicke
wife Hilary, and when they discover they have uninvited
guests in their basement they are less than thrilled (the shotgun is a
bit of a giveaway), but as soon as the old couple set eyes on Judy they
mellow and invite the Bowers up to the kitchen to get warm.
It’s a good job the Hartwickes own such a
because they now have six guests for the night. Right from the start,
however, it is
obvious that there is something not quite right with the old couple,
but whatever their story is, the old couple seem to take to Judy and
Ralph, probably because they both love toys.
Six stranded travellers, a big, spooky, old house,
creepy-looking toys, and a storm that looks set to rage through what
promises to be a very long night. The stage is set and it is obvious
that pleasant dreams are never going to be on the agenda.
Carrie Lorraine was a good choice to play Judy.
She’d already had a few
bit parts, one of which was in Poltergeist
2, but until Dolls
never had a starring role. It was, however, her last, because she quit
acting and grew up to be a lawyer instead. Carolyn Purdy-Johnson was
equally well cast as the super-bitch, Rosemary Bowyer, and she did such
great job of making her character so believably obnoxious that I am
willing to bet that very few viewers will have much sympathy for
Rosemary when the dolls go to work on her. It’s quite a nasty scene, by
the way, and squeamish viewers may be forced to look away. But, for my
money, one of the most memorable parts of the movie is where
Isabel’s eyes fall out and she has to pick them up and replace them. I
know that last sentence sounds ridiculous, so I must point out that, by
the time this happens, Isabel has a new set of dolly peepers and her
face appears to be turning to plastic. The blood is minimal, but it is
still rather disturbing scene.
is not a particularly fast moving movie, but it has a good
storyline and should appeal to viewers who would rather watch something
creepy than try to keep up with a high action
splatter-fest-type of movie. The special effects are not as good as
those in modern movies, but the scenes were the dolls come to life are
convincing; though it has to be said that some of the early
scenes—where the dolls are heard, but not seen; or
where they are just out of range of the camera—are more powerful than
the ones in which the dolls put in a physical appearance.
was directed by Stuart Gordon (Reanimator,
though, and he
knows a thing or two about horror movies; so there is little wonder
the whole thing comes together so well.