Movie Review: Dolls (1987)

by StevenHelmer

A review of the 1987 horror film starring Guy Rolfe and Carrie Lorraine.

Synopsis: A thunderstorm strands Judy, her uncaring father and her new stepmother while they are driving through the English countryside. They take refuge at a nearby mansion owned by a kind but seemingly-eccentric toymaker and his wife and are soon joined by a businessman and two hitchhikers he had picked up. They are invited to spend the night but, as they do, they quickly learn the hundreds of antique dolls scattered throughout the house are alive and out for blood.


My oldest daughter loves watching classic horror films with me and, up until this point, I had pretty much stuck with the milder black-and-white movies. However, since she’ll be turning 12 in a few months (about the same age I was when I first became hooked on horror movies), I decided to give her the opportunity to watch one that had a bit more gore in it.

When she said she was interested (and with her mother’s approval), I picked this movie, which is one I had mentioned to her in the past and cited as one of the reasons why I can’t sleep in a room that has porcelain dolls in it. While the movie wasn’t quite as scary as I remembered it being when I was younger, it still proved to be a good choice.

The thing I found I really like about this movie is the mystery. It’s pretty obvious, from the second we are introduced to the toymaker (Rolfe) and his wife (Hilary Mason), they are hiding something. And, the various giggles that are heard from behind closed doors, along with the title of the film, do give away some of that secret. However, even as the dolls start coming to life, it’s unclear why they are as violent as they are. Plus, as the movie progresses, it also becomes easy to wonder if they are actually dolls or something else (such as elves or maybe fairies).

As part of that, it’s also hard to tell what sort of role the toymaker and his wife play in all of this. They seem friendly. But, the toys are working toward some sort of goal and they have to know what that goal is.

As I mentioned before, the movie wasn’t quite as scary as I remember it being, which, ironically, turned out to be a good thing because I didn’t want my daughter having nightmares from it. There are some moments that did make us jump, such as when they revealed what happened to the evil stepmother (Gordon) and plenty of violence.

However, since the dolls seemed to only attack the people who deserved it, such as the girl’s father (Williams), who made it clear he didn’t want anything to do with her and was just trying to avoid paying child support, we found ourselves cheering for the dolls rather than being afraid of them. That, fortunately, made the movie fun to watch.


They're cute, they're cuddly...and they kill! From horror director Stuart Gordon (Re-Animator) and screenwriter Ed Naha (Troll) comes this "fiendish nightmare" (The Hollywood Re...

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Final Opinion

This film, as I mentioned, isn’t as scary today as it might have been when it first came out. But, if you’re able to stand the gore and occasional bad language, it’s an entertaining movie and one I would definitely recommend taking the time to watch.

My Grade: A

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Updated: 01/18/2016, StevenHelmer
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Judy on 01/19/2016

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