DOLLS (1986) Reviews and overview

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‘They walk. They talk. They kill.’

Dolls is a 1986 American-Italian horror film directed by Stuart Gordon, produced by Charles Band and Brian Yuzna and was written by Ed Naha.

The movie stars Ian Patrick Williams, Carolyn Purdy-Gordon, Carrie Lorraine, Guy Rolfe and Hilary Mason.

Because Empire Pictures wanted the film to be more like Stuart Gordon‘s previous film, Re-Animator, additional gore footage was shot for the death of Rosemary. A shot was filmed where one doll used a pitchfork to pull out some of her intestines. The footage was eventually scrapped when the filmmakers decided that the scene didn’t really fit the overall tone of the movie.

Dolls was released on March 6, 1987, grossing $3.5 million worldwide against a reported budget of $2 million.

On November 11, 2014, Dolls was released as a Blu-ray Collector’s Edition by Scream Factory.


Toys of Terror: The Making of “Dolls”

An all-new retrospective featuring interviews with Director Stuart Gordon, Producer Brian Yuzna, Stars Carolyn Purdy-Gordon, Ian Patrick Williams, Executive Producer Charles Band, and Special Make-Up Effects Artists Gabe Bartalos, and John Vulich and more!
Audio Commentary with director Stuart Gordon and writer Ed Naha
Audio Commentary with cast members Stephen Lee, Ian Patrick Williams, Carolyn Purdy Gordon and Carrie Lorraine
Storyboard-to-Film Comparison
Theatrical Trailer
Photo Gallery


During a raging thunderstorm, six travellers arrive at the mansion of an elderly puppet-maker and his wife. It is eventually revealed that the puppet maker’s puppets in the house are actually cursed immoral people who had been killed and imprisoned in puppet bodies for years in order to pay for their crimes…


Dolls’ dark fairy tale aspect mixed with some surprising sharp character writing, fun effects and gore make a movie that really stands above the type of film you might expect from this era, with this subject matter.” Ain’t It Cool News

“The film’s delicate balance of dark fairytale and horror film tips towards the latter, but this is perhaps appropriate since its moral is directed at adults. Rolfe and Mason turn in appropriately warm yet authoritative performances […] while Bailey and Stuart are delightfully tacky.” DVD Drive-In

“We get clever dialogue and double meanings, puns and arch understatements, but so what, if we don’t care about the dolls? The haunted house looks magnificent, but so what, if it’s not haunted by great and frightening creatures? At some point Dolls remains only an idea, a concept.” Roger Ebert

“The best way to describe Dolls is as a fairy tale gone wrong. It’s a lively time and still holds up all these years later as an enjoyable time waster that just happened to be unfortunate enough to be wedged in between two of Gordon’s most beloved films.” Chris Hartley, The Video Graveyard

Cast and characters:

Ian Patrick Williams … David Bower
Carolyn Purdy-Gordon … Rosemary Bower
Carrie Lorraine … Judy Bower
Guy Rolfe … Gabriel Hartwicke
Hilary Mason … Hilary Hartwicke
Bunty Bailey … Isabel Prange
Cassie Stuart … Enid
Stephen Lee … Ralph Morris

Running time:

87 minutes


Principal photography was shot in Italy in 1985 before director Stuart Gordon’s next film, From Beyond. It was shot on the same sets but released almost a year afterwards due to all the doll effects in post-production.


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