VHS Review: Dolly Dearest



There are five things that scare the bejeezus out of me; Spiders, snakes, little people, clowns, and dolls. While Chucky from Child’s Play did frighten me as a child, he’s laughably one of the dumbest villains in present time.  It never occurred to me how silly Chucky was with all his one-liners and shitty sequels until recently. Maybe silly sequels toned down the effect. Dolly Dearest however, that was one ugly doll that remains on my heebie jeebie list. I’ll never forget the first time I saw this film at a dance company slumber party when I was eight and how it effected all the girls.

Directed by a FEMALE (Maria Lease,) she filmed it in a span of a month and released it straight to video in 1992. Little is known about the production company “Dolly Dearest Productions” since this is their only film and that’s a shame because this feature is surprisingly terrifying with talented actors and an absence of cliched jump scares. The special effects are pretty spectacular as well. There’s no stop-go animation, making every little movement by this doll very unsettling.


So what’s up with this ugly as sin doll? I’m glad you asked. She was manufactured in this dude’s Mexican warehouse and these new dolls are the hottest trend since Cabbage Patch Dolls. The man’s daughter Jessica points to the doll she wants and would you believe it? Next door lies a Mayan tomb that holds the spirit of Sanzia, err Satan. Those pesky archaeologists are always causing trouble in horror films.

This ugly ass doll soon turns pure spirited Jessica into an evil co-conspirator. Jessica begins acting out and her mother, played by Denise Crosby (Pet Sematary,) is all out of ideas as to how to deal with her behavior. Jessica is played by Candace Hutson, someone who managed to drift out of horror and into bad girl dinosaur Cera in The Land Before Time films.  Sam Bottoms is easily forgettable but Rip Torn is a presence worth mentioning. Though I wonder, why the hell Torn got involved with Dolly Dearest when he’s getting so much work.

You would think that this direct to video killer doll flick is a dud. It isn’t perfect but it’s without a doubt one of the better of the sub-genre. What Dolly Dearest is really lacking is the amount of blood shed and death toll us gore lovers desire. It’s also slow moving in some parts. Lastly, I cannot wrap my head around a guy moving his family to Mexico so he can play in his doll factory.

There are plenty of mixed reviews regarding Dolly Dearest. Some say it’s the best of killer doll flicks. Some say it’s the worst piece of shit they had ever seen. What does that tell you? Everyone has their own God damn opinion. Watch it and talk amongst yourselves.