Dolls Stuart Gordon

Dolls are fucking creepy, but they're also the perfect specimens for a horror film. Like clowns and leprechauns, dolls are innocent characters that can easily be twisted into evil beings and ruin how you perceive them for the rest of your life. Dolls, which preceded Chucky and Child's Play, isn't quite the scare-fest it was likely intended to be, but it is certainly effective enough to make you do a triple-take on your little sister's Cabbage Patch Kids collection the next time you invade her room. When a car ride goes wrong for little Judy, her hot-headed father and her bitchy stepmother, they end up at an eerie mansion owned by a mysterious elderly couple who collect and make dolls of all sorts. When hapless salesman Ralph and two punker girls show up the same night, well, there's some blood to be shed by Barbie, Skipper and Ken. Where Child's Play took a more modern and vicious approach, Dolls was written more in the vein of a fairy tale, complete with nods to many well-known tales besides Pinocchio, like Goldilocks and Hansel and Gretel. This aspect alone sets the film up for something a little more special than the typical "doll with a knife" slasher film, as director Gordon created an authentic setting of a beautiful old British home to give some extra atmosphere to the spooky story. In the age of CGI, the special effects tend to feel dated, but taking into consideration that the film is 18 years old, for the time, bringing the dolls to life looked rather impressive. The commentary by Gordon and writer Ed Naha is a little slow and dull, but there is a little insight into the making of the film that borders on interesting, such as the revelation that both stop-motion animation and mechanical dolls were used. Plus: cast commentary, storyboard comparison, gallery. (Sony/MGM)