Dolls (1987) Review

I originally posted this review for the Recommended By Blogathon over at Head In A Vice. Hopefully Tyson doesn’t mind me re-posting it in full now as it’s the perfect fit for the Creepy Dolls Week I’m doing here. ๐Ÿ™‚

Dolls (1987)

Directed by Stuart Gordon

Starring: Stephen Lee, Guy Rolfe, Hilary Mason, Ian Patrick Williams, Carolyn Purdy Gordon, Cassie Stuart, Bunty Bailey, Carrie Lorraine

Running time: 77 minutes

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDB)
A group of people stop by a mansion during a storm and discover two magical toy makers, and their haunted collection of dolls.

Why I Chose This For The Recommended By Blogathon:

Dolls was reviewed HERE by Laura over at FILMNERDBLOG & I thought it sounded hilariously bad but fun. Laura reviews a wide variety of films but seems to especially have a love/hate relationship with cheesy horror movies. I started following her when I saw she was reviewing things like Basket Case. ๐Ÿ™‚

I thought it was time I return the favor as Laura has watched a couple of movies based on my reviews (From Beyond, which is from the same director as Dolls, and the awesome Hardware). I think she regretted both, especially From Beyond. Lol! I mean, check this From Beyond shit out – what a trooper she is:

My Opinion On Dolls:

I don’t think I liked this QUITE as much as Laura did but I did have a lot of fun with it. It’s pure 80’s cheese with dodgy acting & fake-looking gore so it’s totally my type of thing (I can’t watch modern horror – too gross!). And the DOLLS… Man I hate dolls – I can’t think of anything much creepier than going into some strange old mansion in the middle of nowhere & finding it’s filled with THESE:

The characters in Dolls are exactly what you’d expect from a horror movie like this (and I mean that in a good way). The main character is the young girl and she’s cute & sweet and you want everything to turn out okay for her as she’s stranded in this mansion with her father & step-mother who are both complete assholes. I really thought the step-mother was a man until I looked her up at IMDB. Turns out she was also in From Beyond! Ha!


Also stranded in this mansion on this stormy night are two girls dressed as “punks” crossed with Madonna and they speak in ridiculously bad Cockney accents. I think? I’m bad with accents. And there’s a nice dorky guy who gave the punk girls a lift and he’s the only one of the bunch (besides the little girl) who isn’t an asshole. Finally, we have the fabulously clichรฉ owners of the mansion: an old doll maker & his wife. These two are great – they totally look the part. Both British actors, the woman was in Don’t Look Now & the man was in movies such as And Now The Screaming Starts! with Peter Cushing and was the Puppet Master in several of the films in that series. Look at these two! Perfect for Dolls:

Anyway – everything you expect to happen, happens. Everyone you expect to die, dies. It’s predictable and the acting is pretty atrocious but… C’mon – Who cares? It’s a movie about dolls that go around killing people! It’s fun! It even has a bit of a moral (which is more than can be said about most horror films). Basically, the moral is that you should always stay young at heart. If you don’t, DOLLS WILL COME TO LIFE & KILL YOU!

Awesome. Thanks, Laura! I really enjoyed watching this one. ๐Ÿ™‚

My Rating: 6.5/10

*I’ve upped my rating by half a point. This was a fun watch*

**Can I just add, as I didn’t realize this when I originally posted the review, that the girl (Bunty Bailey) from A-ha’s Take On Me video is in this?! She’s one of the two Cockney punk girls. Hilarious. ๐Ÿ™‚

My Top Ten Body Horror Movies

***WARNING: NASTY IMAGES***

This list wasn’t easy to create as it was hard deciding what movies I consider to be part of the “body horror” subgenre. While researching this to get an idea of what movies most often tend to be considered body horror, I also managed to see enough gory images to last me a lifetime. Yikes. Guess my love of the David-Cronenberg-style of body horror is pretty tame & mainstream stuff!

First of all, I’ll give you Wikipedia’s definition:

Body horror is horror fiction in which the horror is principally derived from the graphic destruction or degeneration of the body. Such works may deal with decay, disease, parasitism, mutation, or mutilation. Other types of body horror include unnatural movements, or the anatomically incorrect placement of limbs to create “monsters” from human body parts. David Cronenberg, Frank Henenlotter, Brian Yuzna, Stuart Gordon, Lloyd Kaufman, and Clive Barker are notable directors of this genre.

I totally agree with the directors listed by Wikipedia – their films are the exact ones I’ve always had in mind when I’ve heard the term “Body Horror”.

Here’s a boring, rambling bit that no one has to read: It’s become a little joke with my hubby that my top ten lists often come with rules that exclude the Alien series of films (for the record, I think the first two films are pretty much the greatest things ever created & they’d top every list if I always included them). Such as, I don’t count them as “horror” so always say they don’t count in any “horror” lists that I do.ย Well, I’m once again not including Alien/Aliensย as, while what happens to the body falls into the “body horror” definition, the body horror aspect is notย the main focus of those films. The one other questionable one is John Carpenter’s The Thing and I went back & forth on whether to include it. The body horror is focused on much more than in the Alien films but it’s once again not the main focus. Plus, it seems too good to be included with the likes of the other movies on my list. Well, I’ve included it mainly so people don’t yell at me but it means it’s my number one by far. ๐Ÿ˜‰

What I’ve Not Seen:

I’ll also point out that I’ve of course only seen a handful of “Body Horror” movies so, if I’ve not seen them, they won’t be on the list. I had wanted to do a body horror week but just haven’t had the time to get anything watched for it other than Cronenberg’s Shivers & Rabid. Maybe next October – I can always update this list! Most films in this genre are really too gross for me (I like my gore old & quite fake-looking) but the two I had really hoped to see before making this list were Altered States & Tetsuo: The Iron Man. So don’t ask why they (and the Alien films) are not on the list!!!!! (Someone will as no one reads these damn intros). ๐Ÿ˜‰

**Edit to say I’ve now seen Altered States as of September 2017. My review is HERE. It doesn’t quite make my top ten (it’s not actually “body horror” enough). And I’ve now seen Tetsuo: The Iron Man, which also doesn’t make this list. Review HERE.

Enough blathering! Here are MY Top Ten Body Horror Movies counting down to my favorite:

10. TIE: From Beyond & Re-Animator

9. Basket Case

8. TIE: The Brood & Scanners

7. Night Of The Creeps

6. Videodrome

5. eXistenZ

4. Society

3. Slither

2. The Fly (1986)

1. The Thing (1982)

Honorable Mentions:
The Evil Dead
Shivers
Rabid
Teeth
The Toxic Avenger
Splice
Altered States
Tetsuo: The Iron Man

I’ve Not Seen:
Tusk

From Beyond (1986) Review for Halloween Horror Fest

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Bloody hell I can’t find a good poster for this movie…

From Beyond (1986)

Directed by Stuart Gordon

Based on From Beyond by H.P. Lovecraft

Starring:
Jeffrey Combs
Barbara Crampton
Ken Foree
Ted Sorel
Carolyn Purdy-Gordon

Running time: 80 minutes (original), 85 minutes (unrated)

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
From Beyond centers around a pair of scientists attempting to stimulate the pineal gland with a device called The Resonator. An unforeseen result of their experiments is the ability to perceive creatures from another dimension that proceed to drag the head scientist into their world, returning him as a grotesque shape-changing monster that preys upon the others at the laboratory.

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Before I Start…

This review will be full of SPOILERS, especially in the pictures. But I HAVE to include the pictures – this movie is mental.

This is the first movie I’m reviewing for my Halloween Horror Fest. Saw it about a month ago. Now, this is a film that is definitely not for everyone. If you like Re-Animator meets Society meets Slither meets The Thing meets David Cronenberg meets H.R. Giger-type sexual imagery meets “body horror”, From Beyond will be right up your alley. If you’re now looking at me like I’m nuts, you might want to skip this one.

Put it this way – there was this annoying woman I used to work with and couldn’t stand. She was all “perfect mother”, “perfect housewife”, yada yada. She used to look at me like I was mental when I would go all geeky discussing films & couldn’t understand why I had no interest in the things she did for fun like sew & bake cakes (nothing against anyone here who does these things for fun!). My point is this: If she still worked with me, I’d totally recommend From Beyond to her in the hope that she would hate me forever & stop talking to me. It’s one of those types of movies.

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My Opinion:

Like I said – If you like any of the movies that I mentioned above, you’ll like this. This was made by Stuart Gordon, who also made Re-Animator. Both films also star Jeffrey Combs & Barbara Crampton and are (I assume very loosely!) based on H.P. Lovecraft stories. (Barbara Crampton also starred in the recent horror You’re Next). I know Re-Animator is a cult classic but I’d not heard of From Beyond until recently. I think it’s just as good/bad as Re-Animator. I actually think it’s more memorable.

20131011-092854 am.jpgSo anyway – these two scientist dudes are conducting experiments to stimulate the pineal gland, a small gland in the brain which apparently (according to this movie, at least!) looks like a tiny penis. Especially when the experiment causes it to grow & pop out of this dude’s head. Yeah, spoiler. But, seriously – check this shit out!:

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Hilarious! Anyway, I’ve looked the pineal gland up online and still don’t fully understand why stimulating it makes you all into S&M and made Barbara Crampton put this outfit on:

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I also don’t understand why it allows you to see creatures from another dimension. But, anyway, it does in this film. It also makes you want to eat brains. Yum.

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Ken Foree, the dude above, is from one of my all-time favorite movies (Dawn Of The Dead) so it was cool seeing him here. Barbara Crampton gets naked (as usual?) so guys should like that. And. Yeah. Not much else to say. This movie was probably even more fun than Romero’s Monkey Shines. It’s completely mental. And that phallic pineal gland will haunt me forever.

My Rating: 6/10

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My From Beyond Haiku:

Brains and S&M
Protruding pineal glands
Naked Crampton boobs