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Dolls (1986) Review

Dolls is a 1986 American horror film directed by Stuart Gordon and written by Ed Naha. It stars Carolyn Purdy-Gordon, Stephen Lee, and Guy Rolfe.

The film tells the story of a group of children who are left in the care of a doll maker and his wife after their parents are killed in a car accident. The doll maker, Udo Kier, is a demented individual who believes that the children are his own personal dolls. He and his wife subject the children to a series of horrific experiments in an attempt to turn them into perfect dolls.

The film is a highly effective horror film that is both disturbing and visually appealing. The acting is top notch, and the direction is tight. The film is also surprisingly funny in places, which helps to offset the disturbing nature of the subject matter.

This another one of those movies that i’ve been meaning to watch for a very long time, we recently decided to bite the bullet and get a copy of the North American DVD to see what we’ve been missing. It turns out Dolls is actually a little gem of a movie.

This is a Stuart Gordon flick and that only means good things. The director is one of my personal favourites when it comes to making horror movies. I can thankfully say Dolls lives up to Stuart’s standards and is indeed a fine addition to the stable.

Firstly the acting standard is above average. The performances of Guy Rolfe and Hilary Mason who play the old couple is just superb. Their characters are enigmatic/devious yet strangely likeable and all of these qualities are delivered to perfection. Carolyn Purdy-Gordon puts in a great performance as the intolerant rich bitch who you just know is gonna get it. In fact all the cast are superb… Including the dolls!

Dolls, whilst perhaps not the most terrifying movies i’ve ever seen, is without doubt a very creepy/eerie one. The atmosphere and clever use of lighting really make for an unnerving watch at times and indeed the movie can get quite gory in parts, which was something i didn’t expect for some reason.

The general special effects/production level is what you’d expect from an Empire movie from the 80’s, AKA: it’s solid.

I have no qualms whatsoever in recommending Dolls, it’s a superb piece which shows why Stuart Gordon is held in such high regard in the horror world, indeed there’s very little bad to say about this movie as a whole. Definitely one to see if you haven’t already.

Overall, Dolls is a well-made horror film that is sure to please fans of the genre. It is disturbing, funny, and visually appealing, and is sure to leave viewers rattled.


In the early hours of Christmas morning, a young boy named Billy wanders the streets of Harlem, looking for a present for his sister. He comes across a group of kids playing with a doll in an alleyway and joins in. The doll, however, is no ordinary toy – it’s possessed by the spirit of a vengeful voodoo priestess, and it soon starts to exert a sinister influence over the children.

As the kids become more and more aggressive, terrorising their neighbourhood with acts of vandalism and violence, Billy realises that the doll is responsible. He tries to warn the others, but they’re under the doll’s spell and refuse to believe him. Billy knows he has to stop the doll before it’s too late – but how?

Meanwhile, the doll’s creator, a voodoo priestess called Mama Maitresse, is watching from the shadows and laughing as the children descend into chaos. She’s been waiting a long time for her revenge, and the doll is her instrument of destruction. But even she doesn’t realise the true extent of the doll’s power.

As Christmas Day dawns, the body count starts to rise. Billy is in a race against time to save his friends – and his city – from the doll’s evil influence. But can he stop it before it’s too late?

Movie Details

Director: Stuart Gordon
Writer: Ed Naha
Actors: Stephen Lee, Carrie Lorraine, Guy Rolfe
Release Year: 1986