JULY 6, 2011
You know, all I ask of my Charles Band killer toy movies is that each killer toy lands at least one kill a piece, but Doll Graveyard can’t even give us that much, offering a pitiful three kills despite four puppets (plus the ghost of their original owner). I also would like some new designs, but these are for the most part just modified Puppet Master dolls; one is clearly modeled from Torch, and another looks like one of those little alien zuni dudes from Puppet Masters 4 and 5. Come on, Band!
Hilariously, I got more than I bargained for with regards to the running time. The movie is on a 3 film (1 disc) set with Dangerous Worry Dolls and Demonic Toys 2, and I chose this one because it had the shortest runtime. However, the 72 minutes is actually an exaggeration of sorts, as the actual movie is about 59 minutes, with 3 for opening titles, another 2-3 for a “cast picture” montage at the end, and then 5-6 for the end titles, which run so ridiculously slow I actually filmed part of it so you guys wouldn’t think I was exaggerating:
Even on fast-forward I could read them (and find some typos!), but by doing so you’d miss the best part of the movie, which would be the Alex Band b-side that accompanied the credit roll. Alex is Charles’ son, and thankfully for the lad he doesn’t play the “I’m your father!” card too often, as this appears to be the one time one of Alex’s songs appeared in a Full Moon production, at least as far as the IMDb is concerned (he has appeared as an actor in a couple of them when he was a kid). Dig that guy’s stuff (sad guy pop rock, don’t bother unless you’ve been to a Lifehouse or Tonic show in your life).
Anyway, the movie sucks, though not because of the effects. CGI is kept to a minimum (so is their movement, for the record), but it doesn't matter much, because it takes relatively forever for the things to start killing. Our first attack is around the 37 minute mark, which would be fine for a 90 minute movie, but not when there’s really only another 25 before the credits start rolling. And it’s the clunkiest plot scenario ever, even when you factor in the obvious handicap of being directed by Charles Band. The whole thing takes place in a fairly normal sized two story house, but no one ever seems to be aware of what’s going on in other rooms. When our first guy is attacked (which is kind of awesome, the fake Torch impales his groin) the girl he’s banging screams, but no one else seems to hear it. Later, two of the girls are menaced by one of them as they attempt to get a cell phone, yet another character is in the next room, somehow oblivious to the whole thing.
In fact, I actually started to wonder if I had just missed something and the characters were in two different houses, but then the two who were upstairs (also deaf to the chaos around them) meet up with the others and say “You wouldn’t believe what was going on upstairs!”, as if the two areas were somehow separated by more than a fucking staircase. Get your goddamn hearing checked, idiot characters!
Another bit that no one else seems to hear is when our hero (who is played by that jerk high schooler who harassed Jeff and the others on Community in the first season) is inexplicably bullied in his own home by two jock assholes who have crashed his older sister’s party (hey, it’s Slumber Party Massacre with killer dolls!). I mean, even for assholes, aren’t they a little old for this sort of shit? They literally just go into his room and smack him around and break his action figures, even though one of them wants to bang the kid’s sister. Just ignore him! Then again, most of the plot pre-killer dolls seems stolen from a low-rent mid 80s comedy, with a kid blackmailing his sister with her diary and getting called names like “Dork shit”, so I guess having ridiculous bullies is just part of the package.
Luckily there is just enough (largely unintentional) entertainment value to save it from the “Crap” heap. I liked that one jock didn’t even seem fazed about a killer doll walking up to him (I think we’re supposed to assume he’s too drunk to notice something’s amiss, but I just imagined he was open to other races co-existing with ours), asking him if he worked out and such. And everyone seems to trash this one girl’s sexual history (i.e. they all call her a slut at one point or another), which is always charming. And again, one of them impales a dude’s junk, with blood spraying everywhere – awesome. I was also tickled by the half-assed prologue, which was apparently made up on the spot since it made so little sense. Basically this little girl owned the dolls and her dad didn’t want her to have them, so he made her bury them in the yard (?). However, she digs a hole conveniently big enough for her to fall into (??), which is exactly what happens, and thus the dad just decides to cut his losses and bury her (???). Like, is this really the best they could come up with?
Now, the little girl’s soul is what powers the dolls, but she also has enough power to possess Guy for some reason, so why Band even bothered with this opening bit instead of having it revealed to Guy via “flashes” when the girl was possessing him is beyond me, but I guess that’s what happens when you actually brainstorm how to make a better, more intriguing movie instead of just rushing into one as he always does. Perhaps more thinking could have also explained why the characters act as if they are trapped in the house; they see killer dolls and their response is to stand there and scream or make up idiotic excuses to keep going back into danger (“I forgot my purse!”). And if it’s supposed to be campy, why such a low body count? Have you ever seen a teen horror film where the bitchy slut character survived? What kind of nonsense is that?
Thankfully, it appears this one didn’t take off like Puppet Master or Demonic Toys, and thus has never been sequelized, spun off, or “VS’d” with one of their other lame series. Which is almost kind of a shame, since the little female doll is actually kind of creepy looking and thus could/should have been used in a better film. Oh well.
What say you?