DOLLS (1987)

Its another Halloween – lets find something that tries so hard to chill the inner workings of our soul and fails on every level. So we’re going to talk about the movie Dolls.

You should know this movie holds a 63% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.


Our story involves six people stranded in a creepy mansion in the middle of nowhere  (so far, our story wins originality points). There’s a little girl and her love withholding father and mother,  and two Madonna clones.

Parents, if your child isn’t getting the love and attention they need from home, they will look for it in creepy dolls. Its science.

They end up in the quaintly creepy home of an elderly couple who makes dolls and seems a wee bit too attached to them but still the best example of parenting you’re going to get in this film.

So cruel and uncaring parents have made Judy give up their teddy bear, but Judy gets something waaaaay better – this Punch doll. FACT – Punch dolls are twice as cuddly as teddy bears and kids just can’t get enough of Punch’s violent tendencies.

As you can guess, its a night of terror, with people being picked off. First to go is the Desperately Seeking Susans…

After watching these two try to steal from the elderly couple, and then get beaten up…

…and shot by a firing squad, its not a bad idea to have killer dolls as your house security system.  Lets see that pitch on Shark Tank.

Next up is the cruel mother. The dolls looked for a heart and couldn’t find one. So they attacked her post-shower and sent her out the window. Here’s where I’m really impressed with these killers. No laziness here – they actually bring the body back (cleaned up the mess) and put it back in the bedroom.

Dad runs into the same character flaw that most horror movie characters do. He’s unloving and insensitive  but incredibly bland. Espescially when it comes to the fact there’s a chance homicidal dolls are out for blood.

They’re also the spirits of others, but whatevs. Shrug it off.

As you can imagine, things get a little out of hand.

I used to work at a toy store where we had a whole wall full of Madame Alexander dolls. There is no difference between them and what I just watched.


And to the surprise of no one, Punch turns on Judy. There’s a big fight that involves human adults fighting off tiny dolls. Its stupider than it sounds. Also, there’s a lesson…

Its a very serious lesson and if you’re not paying attention you’ll miss its subtleness.

The kindly old people explain they have guests over all the time. But they put their guests through a test  to see if you respect childhood and are pure of heart – if you fail, you’re dismembered by a doll. Sort of like Willy Wonka’s less socially acceptable brother.

And we end with another group of terrible people coming to stay at the Doll house ignoring, what I’m assuming is its many negative Yelp reviews.

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For this week, I felt the need to dig deep in the hole that is Netflix and see what’s really at the bottom of the pit. While I could have gone further in title obscurity, I found gold in this title. Its sort of like being in love. Once you know, you just know.

You know that campfire story about the doll that murders people and just won’t leave your house? (It was also part of a Simpsons episode which was far better orchestrated) Insert a much loved and celebrated icon and you’ve got this movie (and yes, Simpsons did it much better).

A better story with more intriguing female characters.

Also, if you were hoping for the standard Pinocchio story about a wooden boy who becomes real with the help of flakey grasshoppers and a song about becoming an actor done by a hipster looking fox, then you’re not going to enjoy this.


We open with a murder mystery – the victim was a wooden doll buried in dirt.

We are also introduced to one of our main characters, the district attorney and a mother. We know she’s a mother because of the look of concern she always has.  We know she’s a district attorney because she wears suits and makes frantic phonecalls.

She has a daughter (hence fulfilling the mother title of her character) who is not popular and picked on by other kids. If I didn’t know better, I’d say that a creepy wooden doll is about to teach these girls important life lessons about accepting those that are different than you.

Mom literally brings her work home with her when she gives a important piece of crime evidence to her daughter for her birthday. And honestly, what kid wouldn’t fall in love with a creepy and heavy wooden doll?

Step aside, Teddy Ruxpin. Kids have got a new best friend to sing them to sleep at night.

Mom’s pretty stumped on this whole murderer case…

There’s one witness, and he ain’t talkin’…

So our intrepid district attorney takes detailed notes exhausting all options. Just kidding, she’s not trying at all.

So the innocent man dies for the crimes of a little wooden boy.  But in all fairness, you cannot try a puppet as an adult. The ACLU will come down fast and they’ll come down hard on you.

Any kid can fall under the influence of a bad friend. Again, no one pins the bad friend badge on a creepy wooden doll, so when the daughter starts to act strangely, Mom’s out of clues.  However if she thinks about it long enough, she may just use the insanity defense again.

Pinocchio just gives this face the whole time….

This one’s my favorite. It says, “You know there’s a nest of termites living inside me, right?”

Meanwhile, bully girls go after the daughter. Before they were pretty harmless – she handed out cards to her party and they were just thrown to the ground. Now she’s being thrown to the ground while holding a creepy wooden doll.  I’m not a scientist but I’m guessing this could have been avoided by not bringing your creepy wooden doll to school.

Through means not necessarily logical, Pinocchio does get some revenge by causing this girl to get hit by this bus….

…witnessed by two girls in the weirdest scream ever edited by Man.

We haven’t talked about Mom’s boyfriend – who somehow thought this movie would lead him to a recurring character on Friends.

“Could I be any more Chandler?”


So daughter retreats even further to her weird relationship with the creepy puppet and supports its career goal of becoming a real live boy.

It aims to kill again – this time aiming for that pesky meddling babysitter.

We enter a portion of the film that gives us the best character in it….

This mincy child psychologist who is completely ineffective and offers bad advice.

“Sometimes kids act through their toys. We call it the My Monster Syndrome.”

You can just tell that every minute away from his sweater vests is torture.

Pinocchio really is the best actor in this whole movie. Ordinarily you can’t put the term “wooden” and “actor” in the same breath and imply something good. Pinocchio proves you wrong.

Chandler Boyfriend knows what’s up…

…until Pinocchio kills him.

“Could I be killed in a more stupid way?

Sure, keep the doll kid. Its not like people are coming back from the grave.

Everything about this guy screams, “I’m not really a priest.”

The thing about these kind of movies is the parade of human stupidity. Do they get rid of the doll after suspecting it ill will? Kind of. If you really wanted to get rid of it, you would have put it in a chipper, set it on fire or whittled a clock out of him.

Look, I realize we live in an age of rampant victim blaming, but these people really were asking to get massacred by a puppet infused with the spirit of a dead seriel killer. Live and learn.

In closing, it should be noted that the story’s big conflict was preventing a little girl from letting Pinocchio become a real boy. If he had gotten his way, he would have least been able to be tried as one, but don’t let this DA represent him in court…

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