Before Chucky, there was Dolls! And by the time Chucky found a wife, Full Moon had milked killer dolls to death, mostly with the Puppet Master movies, and then with its own rip-off film, Blood Dolls! Seems like Charles Band spent the decade after he executive produced Dolls trying to cash in on its popularity…
While Charles Band’s name is in the credits, this absolute cable and video store rental classic was directed by horror King Stuart Gordon of Re-Animator fame.
Dolls is traditional horror movie perfection, with an ideal balance of lovable and easy to hate characters ending up at a creepy old mansion during a rainstorm.
There’s a man and his over-the-top, evil second wife, who treats his adorable little girl like shit.
There are also two punk rock bitches (so why does one dress like Madonna circa 1984?) that hitched a ride with the late, adorable Stephen Lee, who plays a child at heart.
The old man that hosts them for the night with his wife is a doll maker, so the house is filled with dolls—dolls that come to life and brutally kill anyone who behaves badly…
The scares, the gore, the darkly humorous moments, and the awesomely devilish dolls make this the doll movie by which all others should be judged.
BLOOD DOLLS (1999)
Charles Band directs this Full Moon film, which follows the basic template of all his films by the late 90s—a mansion, a vengeful, deformed crazy guy that creates evil little critters to do his bidding killing a bunch of unlikable victims.
The crazy dude in this film, who readily admits his dolls are specifically designed based on his racist views, hides his deformed head behind a mask.
He has two henchman: a burly clown and, as usual, Phil Fondacaro.
He also has an all-girl rock band locked in a cage and electrocutes them whenever he wants them to play for him.
His victims are business people who did him wrong, but at this point the dolls don’t even try to live up to the intensity of the kills the Puppet Master puppets pulled off in the first few films. These might be “blood” dolls, but it’s the plain old Dolls that delivers all the blood.
Nicholas Worth of Don’t Answer the Phone! fame has a cameo in which he does a throwback workout routine and then referenced his “hairy ass” while arguing on the phone. There’s also an S&M mistress who straps her man bitch up in a wire torture contraption. Needless to say, the dolls finish the job.
Blood Dolls gets stupidly campy like every Full Moon feature made in the 90s once the quality of their films went to shit (and yet, I have them all on DVD). But in a novel moment, the film actually incorporates an alternate ending right into the movie, introduced by the clown henchman.
Just as lame as the regular ending, but at least it adds something new to Band’s cookie cutter output from this era. I’m just shocked he never made a Puppet Master vs. Blood Dolls film. My guess is because not even they would be able to tell each other apart.