Pinocchio’s Revenge vs. Dolly Dearest!

In the wake of Child’s Play, Chucky left a trail of bodies, sequels, and copycat films. Here are two of the more memorable ones.

PINOCCHIO’S REVENGE (1996)

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Sounds bad, right? So why give it a chance? Because it comes from Kevin Tenney, who’d already brought us Night of the Demons and Witchboard.

Believe me. Pinocchio’s Revenge starts out as a horrible direct-to-video knockoff. This time, the single mom is a lawyer with a hot live-in nanny (excuse for the naked shower scene) and a bratty as hell daughter who’s had serious behavioral problems since her parents divorced. She has no friends in school. She just needs a friend. Conveniently, mom was defending a guy who killed his son and buried the body with a Pinocchio doll. So after the father is executed, the doll ends up in the hands of the lonely, impressionable daughter, who’s fascinated by the stories of Pinocchio coming to life if he does good instead of bad.

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Here’s where Pinocchio’s Revenge takes on its own life—because it doesn’t appear as if Pinocchio takes on his own life! You become pretty convinced that it’s the daughter doing all these evil things and blaming the doll. But is she? Or has the doll become possessed by the spirit of the executed killer?

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The movie isn’t very scary or bloody and has a low body count, but it does keep your interest and the final scene heaps on the horror, with the mom fighting against what appears to be the doll wielding a knife…and a fireplace poker…during a rainstorm…in the living room…by fireplace light. It all sounds familiar, doesn’t it? But man, a scene involving the mom taking the knife to the hand looks painful!

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The conclusion of Pinocchio’s Revenge is a little open-ended and leaves you to put together the pieces on your own and draw your own conclusions.

DOLLY DEAREST (1991)

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Dolly Dearest is everything Child’s Play isn’t…meaning the doll is actually scary for anyone with a pre-adolescent mentality. Fuck you, Dolly Dearest. You scare me.

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No doubt the story is just as cheesy and cliché as it gets. A family moves to Mexico so the dad can take over a doll factory next to their new house. He gives the daughter one of the mass-produced dolls and she begins to spend way too much time getting close to the doll in a cute little playhouse in the backyard. Oh. Did I mention there’s an ancient gravesite being excavated just over the fence…?

There are some familiar faces here that bring up the quality of this Chucky knockoff a bit. Pet Sematary’s mom Denise Crosby is also the mom here.

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Rip Torn plays the archaeologist. And Lupe Ontiveros, best known as Gabrielle’s mother-in-law on Desperate Housewives, is the housekeeper.

Again, there’s a bratty girl, but this little girl eventually talks like a demon! She also has a major cold war going on with the live-in housekeeper, who knows she’s evil…especially after she goes all Damien crazy when she’s splashed with holy water! Guess who’s going to win this cold war if Dolly Dearest has anything to say about it.

The body count is also low here, but Dolly Dearest is one mean and violent little bitch who devises some nasty kills. And Dolly Dearest herself is creepy as hell. She talks in an eerie little girl doll voice earlier in the film, its freaky when she darts through the shadows around the house, and her facial expressions get more hideous as the movie progresses. She eventually starts to look and act like a fricking Regan MacNeil doll.

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But most important of all? There are MULTIPLE Dolly Dearests! Yep, a nice little army of them comes to life in the factory. And of course, to end things on a super hokey note, the family is able to blow up the factory. But the son with a shotgun rules…and gets the big one-liner.

Even so, if it wasn’t for Chucky, Dolly Dearest could have been a horror star with decades of sequels, reboots, and remakes.

About Daniel

I am the author of the horror anthologies CLOSET MONSTERS: ZOMBIED OUT AND TALES OF GOTHROTICA and HORNY DEVILS, and the horror novels COMBUSTION and NO PLACE FOR LITTLE ONES. I am also the founder of BOYS, BEARS & SCARES, a facebook page for gay male horror fans! Check it out and like it at www.facebook.com/BoysBearsandScares.
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