Blood Dolls (1999)

Blood Dolls (1999)

Power… Lust… Freaks.

Virgil Travis is a wealthy recluse who lives in his mansion with his dwarf butler and his servant with a painted face. He keeps a female rock band imprisoned in an electrified cage who play music on his command. And he also has a trio of deformed, living dolls which will do his every bidding. When some of his corporate buddies swindle him out of a million dollars, he sends the dolls out to kill them. But he doesn’t expect to fall in love with one of them.

 

Charles Band’s monopoly of the ‘little things killing each other’ genre continues with what is essentially another poor reworking of his most successful hit, Puppet Master, but with all manner of nonsense and silliness thrown in for good measure. Please tell me you just read that plot and had just the smallest bit of curiosity as to what the heck is going on here? It’s easily the weirdest of all of these films, potentially the weirdest film that Band has ever directed (and it’s a big field to choose from!). It’s like he thought of all of the crazy ideas they ever had for a film, stuck them in a blender and then pulled out the resultant script. There’s no other reason for almost everything in Blood Dolls to completely bonkers beyond belief.

Blood Dolls is clearly an attempt to create another franchise in the vein of Puppet Master as each of the little killer dolls has their own personalities and different methods of killing. With there only being three of them, at least their already-limited screen time is spread evenly across the group. They look and act much like their genre counterparts – quite cool looking little things which come to life pretty realistically when they’re in puppet form but as soon as they become digital (no stop-motion here folks) then they look daft. Like the majority of the Puppet Master sequels and all of the similarly-themed Full Moon flicks, the dolls get little screen time but at least they get to do some damage. If their victims aren’t getting their chests drilled, they are getting weights dropped on their heads or being garrotted. Don’t expect anything other than lots of cheesy gore but it’s all done in the same daft spirit as the rest of the film. Most of it is overblown but there are a few instances where Band lets the audience use their imagination.

If the thought of little dolls killing people wasn’t weird enough, check out the rest of the film. It’s just totally manic from the get-go as two investigators head to the mansion and we’re introduced to the rock band, the dwarf, Mr Mascaro (the man servant with a clown-painted face) and then Virgil himself, who wears a huge mask but eventually takes it off to reveal that he has a shrunken head. It’s hard to root for anyone in this film as originally we’re led to believe that Virgil, Mascaro and the dolls will be the villains but later on in the film we come to see that maybe he’s not so bad after all and it’s the slimy corporate suits that are the real bad guys. It’s nice to see evil versus evil for a change instead of some goody-two shoes heroes. Acting wise, it’s your usual mixed bag from Full Moon. There are plenty of unknowns in the lead roles and a couple of character actors in supporting roles. Williams Burns as Mr Mascaro is probably the best of lot. Being able to act serious when you’ve got clown make-up on was probably hard to do but he comes across as intelligent and calculated. Add in a couple of amusing moments with S&M, some ok gore effects, some not so good, and you have a watchable flick that doesn’t take itself too seriously.

 

Blood Dolls may not be Puppet Master but at least Charles Band still knows how to create an interesting low budget flick filled with weird characters and wacky situations. How many mainstream films can you say included most of the mentioned above? Without being as bonkers as it is, Blood Dolls would have been pretty hard to sit through. But at least with the end result, you’re never sure of what else is hiding around the corner.

 

 ★★☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆ 

 

 

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