Of Dolls and Murder

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Of Dolls and Murder
Directed bySusan Marks
Produced byJohn Dehn
Narrated byJohn Waters
Music byJohn Dehn
CinematographyMatt Ehling
Edited byJohn Dehn
Release date
  • April 14, 2012 (2012-04-14) (Titanic International Filmpresence Festival)

Of Dolls and Murder is a documentary film about a collection of dollhouse crime scenes and society's collective fascination with death. It was released in April 2012.[1]

Subject matter[edit]

In the 1930s and 1940s, heiress Frances Glessner Lee, created dollhouse crime scenes to help train detectives in the art of reading crime scenes. The dollhouses, known as The Nutshell Studies of Unexplained Death, are on permanent loan to the Maryland Medical Examiner's Office in Baltimore, and are not open to the public.[2]

The film follows how these intricate dioramas are still used to train homicide detectives, despite all the technological advances in death investigation. The dioramas also provided inspiration for The Miniature Killer, a recurring villain in season seven of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation. The villain's modus operandi is to leave behind accurate dioramas of her crime scenes.[3]

In a further exploration of morbid curiosity, the filmmakers also shadow a Baltimore homicide detective, and visit The Body Farm, a famous forensic anthropology site in Tennessee where researchers study the decay of bodies.[4]


  1. ^ "Of Dolls and Murder (2012)".
  2. ^ Monroe, Rachel (May 5, 2010). "The Art of Murder". Baltimore City Paper. Archived from the original on May 31, 2012. Retrieved 4 July 2017.
  3. ^ Kerr, Euan (May 18, 2009). "New name for "Our Wildest Dreams" (and Movie Natters helped.)". MPRNews. Archived from the original on October 9, 2012. Retrieved 4 July 2017.
  4. ^ Kerr, Euan (January 12, 2009). "Of Dolls and Murder: local film examines the grisly details". Minnesota Public Radio. Archived from the original on October 9, 2012. Retrieved 4 July 2017.

External links[edit]