Ian Patrick Williams (Superhero Movie)
Carolyn Purdy-Gordon (Fortress)
Carrie Lorraine (Poltergeist II)
Guy Rolfe (Retro Puppet Master)
Stephen Lee (War Games)
A violent thunderstorm strands six people in the gothic English countryside including little Judy, who’s traveling with her selfish, uncaring father, David Bower, and her callous, arrogant stepmother Rosemary. They are accompanied by an amiable, mild-mannered businessman Ralph, who has given a ride to Isabel and Enid, two British punk rock girls who are hitchhiking. They all wind up at a mansion inhabited by Gabriel and Hilary Hartwicke, a kindly elderly people who appear to be toy makers; their house literally abounds with dolls, puppets, and other beautifully detailed toys. They give Judy a new doll, Mr. Punch, after she had been forced to give up her old teddy bear by her cruel stepmother before they arrived at the house. The Hartwickes invite the stranded travelers to join them for dinner and stay as guests until the storm ends.
One by one, the overnight guests are attacked by dolls, who turn out to be cursed, immoral people that have been killed and imprisoned in toys to pay for their crimes. The first to suffer the wrath of the dolls are the two female punks, for trying to steal antiques from the house they believe to be valuable: Isabel, who’s beautiful but rude and vain, is brutally beaten by the dolls, who smash her head into a wall before dragging her into the attic to become one of them; Enid is shot by a group of toy soldiers after finding her nearly transformed friend and attempting to escape. For her constant berating of her stepdaughter, Rosemary ends up being ambushed and stabbed repeatedly by the toys before leaping to her death out of the window into a mutilated mess. Her body is brought back to the bedroom, where she is found by her husband. Thinking that Ralph murdered her, David prepares to kill him.
In the meantime, Ralph accompanies Judy for her search of the first punk girl after he notices blood on the little girl’s slippers. They encounter the dolls, and Ralph accidentally falls into a trap they set for the other bad guests, but all is cleared up when Judy calls on the dolls to get Ralph out of it. Right afterwards, however, they are both attacked and knocked out by Judy’s maddened father, but before a killing blow can be struck, the dolls intervene, dragging the unconscious Ralph and Judy away while Mr. Punch distracts David. Mr. Punch is destroyed by David, who is then confronted by Gabriel and Hilary. It is revealed that Gabriel and Hilary are actually a wizard and witch couple who see toys as the heart and soul of childhood and believe toys will be around for as long as children (or even those with the hearts of children) want them. They also believe that the bitterness adults feel can turn to love if they surrender to the goodwill that toys provide. They explain that people come to their house every now and then and spend the night. When this happens, they test their visitors to see if they can change, giving them a sporting chance to save themselves. Some people like Ralph (people who are able to see the love and respect of childhood) are saved/spared and leave the house with a much better perspective of life. But the ones like David, Rosemary and the two punk girls who refuse to show respect to childhood and don’t change their ways, never leave and have to start over and play a new role in the world of children by becoming toys. It is shown what that new role is when David is transformed into a doll to replace Mr. Punch. The next morning, Ralph and Judy wake up, being convinced by Gabriel and Hilary that the night’s events were all just a dream, and receive a letter saying that David is leaving her behind because he never was a good father to her and that she will be much happier living in Boston with her mother. The letter also states that her father and stepmother are moving to another country and changing their names and have also taken the two girls with them, but have left enough money behind for Judy and Ralph to buy plane tickets back to Boston. Though the letter was really written by the Hartwickles and that Ralph was a little suspicious that the letter wasn’t written by David, in a twisted way, everything in it is the truth. Ralph and Judy then leave the house together after being bid farewell by Gabriel and Hilary, who even invite them to come back whenever they want and even rejoin Judy with her lost teddy. After Judy returns Teddy to the old people as a gift, she and Ralph then drive off for the airport. Judy, who has grown quite fond of Ralph, tells him that he’ll really like her mother and hints to him if he’d like to stay with her and her mother and be Judy’s new father. Though Ralph doesn’t answer, he seems interested in the idea.
The movie ends with the Bowers and the punk girls sitting on a shelf as dolls. Just then, another car with another family with a set of obnoxious parents suddenly arrives and their car breaks down yards from the mansion.Dolls is a great film with some great special effects and the sound of the dolls when they attacked was really creepy, but what I loved about this film was the old couple and their old creepy house which was so atmospheric, and its such a shame there was never sequel.