Thursday, April 16, 2015

Dolly Dearest - Sanzian Devil Children Just Wanna Have Fun

Dolly Dearest
D: Maria Lease
W: Maria Lease
S: Denise Crosby, Sam Bottoms, Rip Torn
Rated R - Approx 93 Min
Channeler Enterprises/Dolly Dearest Productions

- She walks. She talks. She kills.
 - This is where the fairy tale ends and the nightmare begins.
 - It's time to play...
 - A doll with a bad attitude.
 - She has a life of her own. Now she wants yours.
 - To Dolly, slaughtering adults is 'child's play.'

Alternate Titles: (Literal Translations)
Killer Doll - Brazil
The Spawn of Satan - Germany
Playing Kill - Spain
Doll With Which Not Played - Finland
Toys of Terror - Greece
Dolly, The Murderous Spirit - Hungary
The Murderous Doll - Mexico
Beloved Doll - Poland
The Diabolical Doll - Portugal

"Play with this, bitch!"

I've gotta tell ya....when I sat down to watch Dolly Dearest, I was expecting it to be your standard low budget Child's Play clone.  Instead what I got was a low budget demonic possession/killer doll hybrid flick with Rip Torn!  Imagine my surprise! I happened to DVR this flick off Chiller a while ago on a lark, figuring I'd watch it at some point.  I'd never seen the flick before but it was quite prevalent in the video stores back in the 90's.....I just always seemed to find something else that I wanted to watch more.  Now that I've seen the edited Chiller version, I will have to go back and watch it in it's original format to see if I missed out on anything good.  Probably not, but at least the swears won't be muted!

The Doll isn't even showing sign of possession yet and it's STILL but ugly!

Going into this with virtually no knowledge of the film was quite fun.  When I saw that Denise Crosby was in this, I thought to myself  "Sweet!  She was awesome in Pet Sematary!"  (She played Rachel Creed).  I'm sad to say that she was really phoning in her performance here as Marilyn (The mother of the family.)  Of course most everyone was...except for Rip Torn.  Rip Torn, if you don't know played Maax in The Beastmaster.....but you kids may know him as Zed from the Men in Black series of films or as Patches O'Hoolihan in Dodgeball:  A True Underdog's Story.  He's also been in a metric shit ton of film and TV.  He's pretty much awesome in everything he does, this film included.  Torn plays archaeologist Karl Resnick.

Rounding out the main cast is Sam Bottoms (Lance B. Johnson in Apocalypse Now) as father, Elliot.  Chris Demetrol as brother Jimmy and of course Candace Hutson as little Jessica, whom is the target of the evil spirit/doll in the film.  I've gotta tell ya, from an acting standpoint it was pretty damn rough and Sam Bottoms performance was surprisingly robotic.  Jimmy really cracked me the hell up.  The kid is supposed to be in seventh grade, but flip flops between acting like an eager college student and a smart ass kid.  Still, he was probably the best actor (besides of course Rip Torn) and my favorite character!

Marilyn forces Jessica to apologize to Ultra-Religious Housekeeper™ for attacking her.

Okay, so now that we've got cast and acting abilities out of the way, let's get down to brass tacks here.  The film opens with an archaeologist trying to open a giant stone door.....and BOY does he open it.  The damn thing flies open and crushes him like a nut.  Unfortunately this also unleashes some glowing red animated evil energy, which flies out of the crypt and (through Evil Dead style POV) heads over to the nearby doll factory.  

Enter our family.  Elliot has apparently sunk the family funds into buying said doll factory and the whole family is moving to Mexico so he can make dolls.  What could possibly go wrong, eh?  Upon arrival, the fam checks out their new house (which oddly enough has a human sized dollhouse in the backyard......convenient, isn't it?) and then goes to check out their brand new factory.  Okay well, brand new is not the best way to describe it.  Broken down, busted, abandoned factory is a more accurate descriptor.  Little Jessica spies one of the few remaining dolls and of course Elliot lets her have one.

Jessica cuts her hair to look like Dolly's.......or so she says.

Next thing you know, Jessica is starting to act strange.  Especially when she freaks the fuck out just because a priest is blessing their new house.  Then she starts to push and shove the Ultra-Religious Housekeeper™.  Then Dolly straight up murders Ultra-Religious Housekeeper™  Death by electrocution as she's pushed into a pool of water (is it like a basement well?  I have no's just like a square pool of water in the basement.  I'm not horribly intelligent so I have no idea why that was there) and then a lightbulb is tossed in.  ZZZZZZZAP!

Meanwhile Jimmy is trying to convince Resnick that he should hire him on as his apprentice.  As a matter of fact, Jimmy is so intrigued by the dig site (which remember is conveniently located right behind the doll factory) that he starts to read up on the Sanzian people that inhabited the area some 900 years before.  Turns out those crazy bastards were trying to create a devil child.  Why?  Who the fuck knows!  They were friggin' nuts, and that's why they're not around anymore.  

Well, wouldn't you know it....turns out that those crazy Sanzians were successful and the evil unleashed from the crypt in the beginning is now inhabiting all the dolls at the factory.  I say ALL the dolls....but really it's like three of them.  Because it's all the same entity possessing all the dolls, they all know what each of the others know even if one of them is away from the others.....say in a house with a little girl.  

HOLY SHIT!  That's just messed up.

Once the dolls animate and come to life it's pure Puppet Master/Child's Play style fun.  It's pretty easy to tell when they've got an actor running around dressed up as the doll....but all in all the effects are pretty well done.  The dolls are pure nightmare fuel with their twisted and grotesque little faces.  There are only two deaths (unless there were more that were cut out of the Chiller version) but it was still fun to watch the little bastards run around and terrorize everyone.

Because I watched the film on Chiller and I'm actually not writing this review on my home computer, I don't have any screencaps of my own, so I had to pillage from a Google search.  Otherwise I would have included a shot of the nifty mummified Devil Child in it's crypt.  Wow....that sounded messed up......sometimes I type weird sentences like that.  One of the perks of reviewing these type of films, I guess!

I can't really answer this one honestly because as stated a few times, I watched an edited version on Chiller.  I really should not be reviewing the film without having seen it unedited.  Something tells me that I didn't miss much though.

Again.....I doubt that there was any.....but I could be wrong.

Damn right there are monsters.  Creepy ass dolls possessed by a Sanzian Devil Child! 

Final Thoughts:
I regret not watching the unedited film before reviewing and it's not a practice that I'll likely repeat.  Live and learn, I suppose.  I still had a lot of fun with this one.  I watched it with lunch.  So this was more of a Noon Cinephile venture.....but I've been behind the 8-Ball lately so I figured what the hell.  If you haven't seen it yet, by all means check it out!  It's a fun little slice of 90's horror. 

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