Here’s a film that will induce random laughter for approximately one week after a viewing. Dolly Dearest is a cheesy b-movie knock-off of the cheesy, but oh so famous, b-movie Child’s Play. And from a b-movie standpoint, this effort captures just about everything you could ask for.
You want better acting from an inanimate doll than actual human people being paid to act? Check. Need some Rip Torn in your life? Check. Need the Child of Satan? Check. Need an ancient burial ground? Check. Need a bunch of Mexicans being killed because they are random Mexicans in a horror movie. Check. Yep, this thing has it all.
An American family moves to Mexico where Dad has purchased an old doll factory with the goal of mass producing crappy dolls and exploiting the cheap labor down South. Daddy played by Sam Bottoms (who gives a wonderfully terrible performance) gives his little girl, Jessica, one of the dolls from the factory. Of course, the doll is possessed, along with several others, by the child of Satan. Yes, not Satan, but his child (because regular Satan couldn’t fit into the dolls?). Jessica and the doll begin to have closed door play sessions which lead to Jessica speaking in tongues. Ancient tongues! The Mom doesn’t take well to it and drops a line that should be quoted for a least a few centuries, “I’m not going to lose my daughter to a Goddamn 900 year-old Goathead!” Don’t eff with Mom!
The Mexican maid, a devout Catholic, does not approve. The doll knocks her down the stairs, stabs her, chucks her into a pool in the basement and then electrocutes her. Of course, this is a totally normal occurrence to the family. Nothing to investigate here. Maids are a like a dime a dozen anyway, right?
Other scenes of violence (which cause much laughter) involve a worker in the shop who, while making a burrito (the stereotypes in this film are astounding), gets into a fight with a bunch of dolls. This culminates with his hand meeting a sewing machine with gruesome results, causing him to die. You know, death from a violent hand injury (and maybe a little magic). Also, at one point the Dad, after taking a six-inch blade bone deep to the thigh, manages to run like an Olympian away from an exploding building. Yes, you can die from a hand injury in this film, but knives to the leg have no impact.
The “rules” of this film are a study of the insane.
Now for the Rip Torn stuff, because Rip Torn is an important dude. He is the scientist investigating the ancient burial ground which happens to be next to the doll factory. Convenient, I know. I’m not so sure he is useful for anything but exposition, but his eyebrows make all his parts memorable. Just looking at those big beautiful eyebrows is a joy to behold.
My absolute favorite part of this film though is the ending. (SPOILER) The dolls get locked in the factory, now filled up with dynamite, and are blown to smitherines. The mom looks over and says, “It’s over” immediately followed by credits. This occurs because once Mom says something is over, it is. There is no negotiating with Moms, even if you are the child of Satan.
Snore Factor: ZZZ