Monday, February 14, 2011

Pinnochio Sematery

Stand tall, little ones. This is YOUR month to shine, and shine you shall...even when 
you’ve been buried in a Charles Band cemetery since 2005 possessed by the Full Moon spirit circa 1991.
Quick Plot: In 1905, a young girl named Sophia survives her cruel single father with the comfort of her ugly and politically incorrect collection of dolls. When she breaks a vase during playtime, Pops punishes Sophia by forcing her to bury her friends in the backyard, a stressful little process that leads to her bumping her head and apparently, dying instantly. Rather than do something moral like call a doctor or check your pulse, Dad decides to cover Sophia with her pals as the film flashes forward a century.

New millennium, new family, still headed by a single dad (still played by the poor man’s Tim Roth, Ken Lyle). We also have self-proclaimed hottie senior Deedee and her geeky little brother Guy, a kid with a soft spot for collectibles. He happens to discover the burial ground of Sophia’s dolls on the same night Dad’s got a date and slutty big sis is having an unauthorized, uninteresting house party with the token jock jerks, blond bimbo, and good girl. In no time, the dirt-caked, vendetta-holding dollies are scurrying around the house with tiny guns loaded, jagged teeth sharpened, and stabby sticks aimed.

Doll Graveyard is a Charles Band production, a fact you can smell from the very first glimpse of Sophia’s horrifically adorable toys. Between the sweetly sleazy Blood Dolls and the tamest women-in-prison B-movie ever made that was Dangerous Worry Dolls, I’m starting to wonder if Band actually purchased all rights to the word ‘doll’ when used in films. I’ve also learned to expect a few hallmarks:
-Neat effects and unique doll designs not without their charms
-Tiny glassy eyes that rarely blink
-Questionable but generally high energy levels of acting

-Very little attempt to explain any form of backstory for the highly fantastical plotline
The final point is the oddest, as Doll Graveyard is barely 71 minutes long. And that’s including an opening credits sequence, best-of cast listing at the end, and slowest scrolling credits I’ve ever seen. It’s something of a shame that Doll Graveyard doesn’t stretch out its welcome a tad more. The body count is low and story barely there, but the dolls are as fun as anything in Band’s Puppet Master series and could have easily earned more screentime if the script gave them half a chance.
High Points
A good killer doll movie can only be as good as its own killer dolls (apologies, Cathy’s Curse) and it pleases me to say that the wrinkled Samurai, sad-eyed soldier, rotted baby and--dear me--well-hung Oogah Boogah are all interesting little creatures

Like many a Charles Band production, the instrumental score is quite grand and good
Low Points
Too many survivors is a problem I personally often cite with ‘nicer’ horror movies, but it’s especially apparent in Doll Graveyard, where we don’t really like anyone enough to need their survival, yet end the day with what feels like more characters than we started with

Lessons Learned
A samurai is also known as a hobo with a sword

Lincoln freed the slaves
When looking for your cell phone in a room that is clearly hosting a killer doll, approach with caution. Enter at normal speed, fumble through everything you see with nervous speed, but always be sure to pause, wait for the music to kick in, then reach--everrrrr sooooo sloooooooowllllllllyyyyyy--for your phone once you spot it, because clearly that’s what tension calls for
Doll Graveyard is, in its essence, a modern day Full Moon picture, meaning you can expect a certain amount of intrigue, cool kills, surprisingly well-orchestrated music, and an ultimate sense of twee. Even the most sensitive dollophobe (what are you looking at?) won’t really find anything to fear, though there’s enough to amuse certain fans .This is the kind of film that belongs on Instant Watch or tucked comfortably in a value pack, fun enough for a snow day that wasn’t or laundry folding accompaniment, but not worth a journey into your wallet.


  1. I was particularly fond of how nobody seemed to question why there were little dolls running around killing people and going so far as to admire Oogah Boogah's physique.

  2. I suppose the easy answer to that is alcohol, but even at my drunkest, I'm pretty sure I would ask a few questions about the animated doll aiming a spear at my eye.

  3. I think Charles band invented dolls.