PRIME TIME: Dolled to death

I believe I’ve reached the end of the line of scary doll movies I hadn’t yet seen on Prime with these four. Was I being smart putting them off for so long or are any of them worth a watch?

HEIDI (2014)

Like most found footage films these days, it appears the creators watched lots of them and simply mimicked what they’ve seen.

The premise: two teenage boys known for their prank videos find a doll in a neighbor’s attic and then can’t get rid of it. Basically, they constantly walk around filming and there’s the doll, just sitting there over and over. Oooooooh…scary! UGH.

They do film the doll in time lapse overnight, and eventually it changes position, but don’t ever expect to see it running around killing people. We know it kills people by the occasional blood trail.

As they investigate the issues, they do mention Annabelle, Robert, and even Chucky. They also go to a psychic medium. Pretty standard stuff, but what I do like about the film is that it takes an unexpected turn. Not to mention, the final act, in which they attempt to destroy the doll in any way possible, has some ridiculous yet unique surprises. And for a tiny doll we never see moving, it’s amazing how Heidi can tie people up, sew their mouths shut, and dump then in a pool.

Meanwhile, every time it feels like the movie has wrapped up, it keeps going! And the final frame is so bizarre and freaky. We finally see the doll in a different way that would be even creepier if the movie were just better than it is.

But…the final frame isn’t the final frame. Little time is wasted on closing credits; we get another scene. Which means…beware, there might be a sequel.

MANDY THE HAUNTED DOLL (2018)

Things start off with some cute shirtless guy action and killer doll action, so that’s a plus.


See anything you like?

Then we meet two girls and a guy (the hottie from Bride of Scarecrow).

They plan to rob a woman’s house, so one girl takes a job babysitting for her. Left alone, she soon discovers that she’s not sitting a child, but a doll! She lets her other friends in to start cleaning out the house and, well, you know what happens next.

The doll does a lot of talking, and she sounds like the little British girl from Umbrella in the Resident Evil movies with a delay effect on her voice to make it eerie. We see the doll move in stop motion, which is better than nothing, but we don’t actually see her doing the killings. There’s eventually a corpse dinner party (never gets old), the mother of the house returns, and, well…”never send a doll to do a human’s work” could be the mantra for this movie.

It’s short and to the point, and if you like doll movies, I’d say it’s somewhat better than many of the low budget ones out there. Oddly, there’s a final scene that could be a short film of its own, having nothing to do with the characters from the bulk of the movie. And naturally it establishes the possibility of a sequel.

ANNE (2018)

I was excited to learn this one is from the director of Halloween at Aunt Ethel’s, one of my recent faves. Plus, it stars the kick ass actress that played Aunt Ethel.

The film does a great job of making us feel the isolation, loneliness, and instability of a mentally ill woman with insomnia.

She watches TV, stares at walls, treats her collection of dolls like humans, and creates an all-around creepy atmosphere in her own home.

Unfortunately, that’s all she does for the entire movie. It simply goes nowhere until the very end, and it’s really not about the dolls. The woman’s son, played by gay horror director Michael Kenneth Fahr (Victimized), does stop in from time to time.

The problem is, he plays a pivotal role in the twist at the end, yet it really makes little sense since the entire movie is from her perspective and he’s barely in it. I think this would have worked better as a short film.

CURSE OF THE WITCH’S DOLL (2018)

I was all about this movie until it completely went off the rails. I can’t even comprehend why anyone thought it was a good idea to branch off the way it does.

This woman and her daughter come to live in an old house in the woods. Things immediately get old school British gothic. The mother hears things. The daughter finds the freakiest doll I’ve ever seen in a doll movie. And as this thing begins playing its games, the mother begins to have run-ins with a freaky looking witch. I was so there.

Then…everything changes. The movie shifts focus to a diabolical doctor at a mental institution. It doesn’t even feel like the same movie anymore, and the doll is all but forgotten.

Then the story changes again. I wouldn’t be surprised if the final act was tacked on by orders of a producer or studio exec to bring back the doll and give the audience what it expects from a doll movie. It jumps 75 years ahead. A young couple breaks into the abandoned asylum to shoot some video, and needless to say, the doll is still around. But she’s lost all her mystique at this point, and we get a totally generic killer doll horror short.

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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