The Greatest Horror Movie Moments!
by: Dr. Boogie


As the title suggests, "Dolls" is a 1987 horror film about a family who is terrorized by an evil kangaroo named Dolls. However, the film's backers felt that American audiences wouldn't understand the kangaroo's obvious connection to the film's title, and so the whole thing was recut with the actors being terrorized by actual dolls instead of a kangaroo with a nailgun.

In this version of the film, David, an overbearing father with anger issues, is on a trip with his daughter, Judy, and second wife, Rosemary, when their car gets stuck in mud. Luckily, there is a house full of dolls and old people to provide them shelter. What could possibly go wrong?

Our featured moment of horror takes place at the film's climax: Lousy father David wakes up to find that someone has caved in his wife's skull and left her corpse in bed with him. Mondays, eh? Anyway, he blames his daughter's adult friend, Ralph, and decides to beat him to death with a chair leg. Lucky for Ralph, one of the dolls steps to his aid.

Who has the fancier outfit?

The doll proves a much more worthy opponent, if only because he actually fights back. If this were a film in the Puppet Master series, the doll might have eventually overpowered David, but even a movie entitled "Dolls" has to admit that the difference in weight class alone should mean trouble for the doll. David delivers a coup de grace and sends the doll off with a stinging quip:

Please hammer, don't hurt 'em!

That's not the moment, by the way. Just wanted to give you some context.

All the commotion has attracted homeowner/doll-maker Gabriel, and homemaker/doll-owner Hilary.

The scary thing is they're both in their sleeping clothes

They gently chastise David for making such a mess in their basement, and he just sort of stands there like this isn't the craziest shit he's seen in his whole life. No, dumbass that he is, he chooses to mock the man who made the dolls that almost killed him. Gabriel tells David that he can fix all the dolls, "with your help":

What's that smell?

Gabriel and his wife give David a vague explanation of how they judge all the people who wind up at their house. The winners get to leave, and the losers get to stay. Also, in spite of having a lot of doll maker's tools around, Gabriel prefers to take some shortcuts:

I forgot about my shellfish allergy!

60% Leno-fication and rising

"I'm bald? Noooooo!!!"

Much to his horror, David is transforming into the Six Flags guy!

Now you'll never ride another roller coaster again!

Good thing he was already wearing goofy pajamas and elf shoes.

Oh. Nevermind.

Those of you who have been paying attention might be wondering what David's daughter is going to do now that her parents are dead. Besides becoming emotionally stunted and requiring years of therapy, I mean. Well, the old couple cook up a transparently-fake letter explaining that her parents decided to leave her forever, and that Ralph will need to take her to stay with her biological mother in Boston. Ralph tries to ask questions, but they issue a few more thinly-veiled threats until he and Judy leave. The end. Based on a short story by Roland Dahl (not really).

Oddly enough, Guy Rolfe, the actor who portrayed the doll maker Gabriel, would continue his work as a creator of deadly toys when he appeared as Andre Toulon, the man who actually figured out how to bring puppets to life in three of the Puppet Master movies. By then, of course, he had gotten much better at making killer puppets, realizing that a puppet that could throw screwdrivers and wield a tiny hacksaw was nowhere near as effective as one with a drill in its head. In that way, I think he made for a much less pretentious maker of bloodthirsty toys.

Have any questions or comments about this piece?


Reader Comments

Oct 3rd, 2013, 06:16 AM
It's interesting that the daughter's name is Judy, and the dolls (both the one that tries to kill David and the one he turns into) both resemble a Punch puppet.

Click here to return to the Features homepage