1987 Movie Review: DOLLS, 1987

DOLLS, 1987
Movie Reviews

Directed by Stuart Gordon
Starring: Ian Patrick Williams, Carolyn Purdy-Gordon, Carrie Lorraine, Stephen Lee
Review by Melissa R. Mendelson


A group of people stop by a mansion during a storm and discover two magical toy makers, and their haunted collection of dolls


As the night closes in, lights dim, glowing from corners of the room. Bedtime stories are read before a kiss good-night. There is nothing to fear in the dark is gently assured, and there are no monsters hiding under the bed or in the closet. But do we tell the children this, so we can sleep in peace? Are we too afraid of what lies within the dark?

As a child, I never feared the creatures lying in wait under my bed. I worried more about what hid within the closet. As my eyes began to close, I could have sworn that my dolls were now facing me, and their eyes watched my every breath. Would they play at night when I was fast asleep? Would they tiptoe down the stairs and wreak havoc on anyone that crossed their path? Will they return to their shelves before the sunrise?

As I grew older, I packed my toys, my dolls, and stuffed animals into boxes and carted them off to the basement. Over time, they moved to the donation bin for another child to find and cherish them. Only one or two boxes remain now, and a child I am no longer. But I never forgot them, and I wonder if they never forgot me.

Our fascination with dolls and toys has led to movies such as Child’s Play, Puppet Master, and Dolls. Carved into life, their eyes open to the world, but does something live beneath its surface? If we stay a child, would the doll remain loyal, protecting us from those with cruelty in their hearts, or would they betray us to become alive?

In the movie, Dolls, a child’s summer vacation is derailed in the midst of a wicked storm. Her father and step-mother struggle to free their car from the mud, but it’s no use. They’re stuck, and the only shelter from the wailing winds and rain is an old house nearby. But as they make their way inside, they have no idea what they are about to find.

And as the storm continues to grow fierce, three more strangers enter the house, seeking shelter and are welcomed in by a seemingly innocent elderly couple. They are led through the house, passing by rooms and rooms filled with dolls. Once shown to their bedrooms, they settle in for the longest night of their lives.

Through the eyes and heart of a child, we journey to the center of fascination and fear. Curiosity will open doors that may lead to salvation, but stains of murder will paint the floor. And in the darkest of night will terror reign and the dolls run wild, and the wicked will fall. Dolls is a classic tale of terror, one warning to never give up the child that lies within.

DOLLS, 1987