Dolly Dearest

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Dolly Dearest
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Directed by Maria Lease
Produced by Daniel Cady
Written by Maria Lease
Rod Nave
Peter Sutcliffe (story)
Maria Lease (screenplay)
Starring Denise Crosby
Sam Bottoms
Rip Torn
Chris Demetral
Candace Hutson
Lupe Ontiveros
Music by Mark Snow
Cinematography Eric D. Anderson
Edited by Geoffrey Rowland
Production
company
Patriot Pictures
Channeler Enterprises
Distributed by Trimark Pictures
Image Organization
Release date
  • October 18, 1991 (1991-10-18)
Running time
94 minutes
Country United States
Language English

Dolly Dearest is an American 1991 horror film starring Denise Crosby and Rip Torn. The movie was initially supposed to be direct-to-video, but did get a limited theatrical release in the Midwestern United States.[1]

Plot[edit]

American father, Elliot Wade, obtains ownership of the Dolly Dearest factory in Mexico. Not far from the factory lies the underground, Mayan tomb of Sanzia, or Satan on Earth. An archaeologist breaks into the sarcophagus but is crushed by the stone slab that covers the entrance and the malevolent spirit of Sanzia that has been trapped inside for hundreds of years is released. Upon its escape Sanzia takes refuge in the porcelain moppets of Dolly Dearest.

Despite the demise of the archaeologist, the sale is finalized and the unsuspecting Wade family travels from Los Angeles to Mexico to see their new home. Upon arrival, the family meets their realtor, Mr. Estrella and housekeeper, Camilla (Lupe Ontiveros)

After having the luggage unloaded, Estrella decides to take Elliot to see the factory, and seven-year-old daughter Jessica asks to go with them, to no objection of her father. Jimmy decides to tag along as well. The building, long abandoned, is structurally unstable to the consternation of Elliot, but Estrella hurriedly brushes his worries aside and discusses the history of the factory.

During the conversation, Jessica goes exploring. On a shelf she discovers many well-preserved dolls covered by a sheet. She asks her father if she may have one and he acquiesces. Outside, Jimmy finds the entrance to the cave which is blocked by a wire fence. Unaware of recent events, Jimmy inquires about that area, but his father warns him to never go back there again. However, he does not listen.

That night, Marilyn tucks Jessica into bed. As she falls asleep, Dolly slowly turns her head to stare at the child. The next day, when Jessica goes outside to play with Dolly, Marilyn finds a disturbing drawing that she believes Jessica drew. Although curious, Marilyn does not confront her. As the day progresses, Marilyn begins to experience unusual activities, such as phantom footsteps. As time progresses, Camilla sends a priest to bless the house. During the session, the Wade family is driving back to their house, and Jessica throws a tantrum in the car. Upon reaching their home, the Priest is seen walking away and Marilyn successfully calms her daughter. Jessica demands that she be given her Dolly immediately, and glares at Camilla, at which point Camilla becomes suspicious.

That night, Marilyn recounts the day's events to Elliot, but he seems unworried. However, Jessica becomes progressively more violent and obsessive with Dolly. To not arouse her father's suspicion, Jessica acts normal when he is around, but resumes her evil and threatening behavior around her mother. Camilla believes the doll is controlling Jessica. When the daughter speaks harshly in Sanzian tongue, Camilla's suspicions are proven correct, and she tries to warn Marilyn of the evil but is killed by the spirit. The mayhem continues as Jimmy sneaks out the house one night and breaks into the factory from an unlocked window. He finds the night watchman Luis, dead on the floor and flees. The dolls had come to life and toyed with him, causing him to injure himself in an attempt to escape and die from the shock.

Marilyn comes to the realization that Jessica may truly be possessed and tries to take the doll from her daughter. Jessica warns her mother not to touch the doll, but when Marilyn persists, Sanzia momentarily possesses Jessica and shouts, "I WILL KILL YOU!" before adding "The kid's mine."

The next day, Marilyn visits the dig for the first time and talks with the archaeologist, Resnick (Rip Torn) about the purpose of their dig. Resnick tells Marilyn that they are searching for the remains of the Sanzia devil child inside the tomb, which hasn't been opened yet. Resnick continues to explain that the devil child, a true force of evil, fed on the warm blood of children. The tribe eventually killed the creature because its dietary needs almost wiped out the population of the tribe. Marilyn then explains that Jessica is being controlled by her doll and visits Camilla's sister, a nun at a convent. The nun already knows about her plight but informs her it's too late. Not giving up, Marilyn decides to take matters into her own hands.

At home, Marilyn looks for Jessica. She finds Jimmy hiding on the floor of the hallway closet, and he tells her that Jessica and Dolly are in Jessica's room. He also reveals that he's seen Dolly talk and move. Jimmy hands her the key to Jessica's room, and inside Dolly reveals its true self to Marilyn.

Marilyn goes back downstairs, loads ammo into the shotgun and tells Jimmy to call his father. At the factory, the dolls take the phones off the hook. Marilyn returns to Jessica's room to find the doll gone. While his mother is battling, Jimmy continues to try to contact his father. When he cannot get through, he decides to call the operator. Unfortunately, he is unable to communicate because he doesn't speak Spanish, so he hangs up and aids his mother.

When Jessica becomes separated from Dolly, her mother snatches her up and the family runs for the front door, only to be blocked by Dolly, who is holding the car key. Dolly calls to Jessica, and Jessica attacks her mother. The shotgun slides on the floor toward Jimmy. As the mother and daughter struggle, Dolly starts advancing towards them with a kitchen knife. Jimmy clutches the shotgun, and after figuring out how it works, fires it at Dolly.

The impact of the bullets sends Dolly crashing through the door, and Jessica becomes herself again. Marilyn, Jessica and Jimmy get in the car and drive to the factory were Elliot is being attacked by the dolls. Meanwhile, the professor enters the tomb and sees the remains of the devil child, which has the body of an infant and the head of a goat. Realizing the myth was true, the professor runs to the factory where he saves Elliot from the dolls. They run outside and reunite with Elliot's family, but the professor comes back with dynamite, and they plant it around the factory. The dolls try to stop them, but fail, and the factory explodes, killing the dolls. As the explosions continue, an agonizing demonic scream is heard, implying the evil Sanzia spirit is destroyed. The film ends as the family watches the factory burn.

Cast[edit]

  • Denise Crosby as Marilyn Wade, Eliot's wife and Jessica and Jimmy's mother. She is the protagonist.
  • Sam Bottoms as Eliot Wade, Marilyn's husband, Jessica and Jimmy's father, and the toy maker and manufacturer of the "Dolly Dearest" toy factory.
  • Rip Torn as Karl Resnick, an archaeologist who is trying to find the remains of the Sanzia Devil child.
  • Lupe Ontiveros as Camilla, the housekeeper. She is later killed by Dolly.
  • Candace Hutson as Jessica "Jessie" Wade, Eliot and Marilyn's daughter and Jimmy's younger sister. (Credited as Candy Hutson)
  • Chris Demetral as Jimmy Wade, Jessica's older brother.
  • Ed Gale as the Dolly double. Serves as the film's antagonist.

Reception[edit]

Critical reception for Dolly Dearest was mostly negative,[2] with DVD Verdict writing that "aside from a handful of fun moments, there's nothing much here to separate it from the lineup of Child's Play clones it dwells among."[3] Variety praised Hutson's performance but criticized the movie's "clutzy dialogue".[1] DVD Talk panned the film, saying "in the "killer doll" subgenre of stupid horror flicks, Dolly Dearest may very well be the most moronic".[4] The Austin Chronicle also reviewed the movie, giving Dolly Dearest 2 1/2 out of 5 stars.[5]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Variety Reviews - Dolly Dearest Variety
  2. ^ Dolly Dearest X-Entertainment
  3. ^ DVD Verdict Review: Dolly Dearest DVD Verdict
  4. ^ Dolly Dearest DVD Talk
  5. ^ Dolly Dearest Austin Chronicle

External links[edit]