Dolly Dearest (1992)
Directed by: Maria Lease
Elliot Wade and family have just moved to Mexico to take over the old "Dolly Dearest" doll factory. What they don't know is a recent, nearby archaeological accident has released a foul and ancient spirit that has decided to possess some of the dolls and wreak havoc. Wanna play...?
The First Stitches
Two things I love are killer doll movies and Denise Crosby. Oh, and Rip Torn. Okay, so that's three things I love. Anyway, I had no idea this was even a movie until maybe in the last year or so. This was one of the first movies I had planned to do a review of, but it was pushed to the back burner for accessibility reasons.
Mending the Seams
Plot: The storyline to Dolly Dearest pretty much revolves around Jessica getting one of the dolls from her dad's factory and the terror it subsequently produces. To set this apart from the likes of, say, Child's Play, it seems they decided to have her act like a bargain bin Reagan from The Exorcist. This accomplishes exactly two things. 1) It avoids a lawsuit. 2) It makes all her scenes more the hilarious when you realize the doll basically turns her into a Jenny Jones guest.
Characters: The best characters in this movie were Marilyn Wade (Denise Crosby) and the archaeologist, Karl Resnick (Rip Torn...when he's not losing his shit). I've always been a fan of Denise since Pet Semetary and this role wasn't too far off. I believe an honorable mention should go to little Jimmy Wade (Chris Demetral) in that snazzy suit.
Setting/Atmosphere: One unfortunate aspect to Dolly Dearest is the movie feels like it falls short in the "scary" category and is comfortable with just being "kinda creepy". I did have a few favorite scenes, like the subtle mirror scene and the scenes with the dolls running amok, but the overall run of the movie just lacks enough power to hold onto the feeling provided by the darker scenes.
Special Effects: The effects in Dolly Dearest weren't particularly graphic, but at the very least, the death scenes were still effectively gruesome. I'm still not sure if the sewing machine death was supposed to be funny or not, though.
Music/Audio: The audio aspect of Dolly Dearest is pretty solid. The music cues were appropriate and well orchestrated. The creepy doll voices were done very well. I did like that they didn't all sound the exact same.
The Binding Stitch
Dolly Dearest definitely has all the necessary elements for a doll horror right off the jump: a normal but oh, so creepy looking doll with an adorable but equally creepy kid, a slightly nonsensical story, a hot 90's mom and a station wagon. There are a few bumps along the way, but Dolly Dearest still holds its own as a quirky, but enjoyable horror movie. I believe this is one worthy of being viewed by anyone with a fondness for killer doll movies or Denise Crosby in general. Oh, and Rip Torn.