Dolls (Collector’s Edition)
Director: Stuart Gordon
Screenwriter: Ed Naha
Cast: Stephen Lee, Guy Rolfe, Hilary Mason, Ian Patrick Williams, Carolyn Purdy Gordon, Cassie Stuart, Bunty Bailey, Carrie Lorraine
Rated R | 77 Minutes
Release Date: November 11, 2014
“They’re cute, they’re cuddly… and they kill!”
Directed by Stuart Gordon (Re-Animator, From Beyond), 1987’s Dolls is an Italian-American horror film about killer toys that predates Child’s Play (1988) and Puppet Master (1989).
From producer Brian Yuzna (Society) and screenwriter Ed Naha (Troll), Dolls tells the story of Judy Bower (Carrie Lorraine), a precocious little girl, and her awful parents (Carolyn Purdy Gordon and Ian Patrick Williams), who become stranded in the English countryside after a violent thunderstorm.
They find refuge at the Gothic mansion of Gabriel Hartwicke (Guy Rolfe) and Hilary Hartwicke (Hilary Mason), two ghoulish senior citizens with a penchant for crafting creepy dolls and puppets. The hospitable couple welcomes the Bowers and three other guests seeking shelter from the storm: two punk-rock hitchhikers (Bunty Bailey and Cassie Stuart) and their ride, a guileless salesman named Ralph (Stephen Lee).
One by one, the guests are attacked by the Hartwicke’s collection of demented dolls – playthings possessed by the spirits of evil people. Turns out the Hartwicke’s test their visitors to see if they’re truly good people. If they’re innocent and childlike, they survive. If they’re rotten and nasty inside, they’re “punished” – meaning they’re murdered and their soul is imprisoned inside a toy. You know, that old chestnut.
That’s really all there is to Dolls, which comes out on Blu-ray on November 11 from Scream Factory. As with most Scream Factory releases, this Collector’s Edition looks better than it has any right to, with healthy grain retention and full colors. With a 1080p transfer in 1.85:1 and a DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0, as well as a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 mix for home theater enthusiasts, this is the definitive home video release of Stuart Gordon’s killer doll flick.
As a kid, I rented Dolls on VHS from the local mom ‘n’ pop video store, based solely on the box art. Compared to other video store treasures like Ghoulies, Critters, and Troll, Dolls is pretty underwhelming. It isn’t so much of a horror film as it is a dark fairy tale.
Dolls isn’t that scary – or funny – or even that interesting, but I appreciate the film’s low-budget practical effects and ’80s kitsch. It’s a cool concept, but isn’t realized in an entertaining or particularly engaging way. For hardcore horror fans, however, this high-definition release of Stuart Gordon’s film is a worthy addition to any collection. Check out the bonus features below, and the new cover art, which manages to be just as creepy as the original!
* NEW! Toys Of Terror: The Making Of Dolls – An all-new retrospective featuring interviews With Director Stuart Gordon, Producer Brian Yuzna, Stars Carolyn Purdy-Gordon, Ian Patrick Williams, Executive Producer Charles Band
* Audio Commentary With Director Stuart Gordon And Writer Ed Naha
* Audio Commentary With Cast Members Stephen Lee, Ian Patrick Wiliams, Carolyn Purdy-Gordon And Carrie Lorraine
* Storyboard-To-Film Comparison
* Theatrical Trailer
* Photo Gallery
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