Written & Directed by Maria Lease
Elliot Wade...Sam Bottoms
Marilyn Wade...Denise Crosby
Jessica Wade...Candace Hutson
Jimmy Wade...Chris Demetral
Karl Resnick...Rip Torn
Toymaker Elliot Wade uproots his American family and moves them to Mexico when he purchases the Dolly Dearest Doll Factory, where the world's finest hand-crafted dolls are produced. Upon arriving, they realize that the factory is going to be a lot more work than initially thought, especially considering the factory isn't so much a factory as it is a ramshackle warehouse with dusty doll parts scattered everywhere. But Elliot is committed to the dream (why a grown man is so obsessed with making dolls is beyond me), and so he digs in his heels and gets down to business.
The very first doll out of the Dolly Dearest estate is given pro bono (fun fact: pro bono is Latin for Professional Bono) to Elliot's young daughter Jessica, who develops a very strong attachment to the toy, which she (unimaginatively) names Dolly. She lugs it with her everywhere, plays with it, and even holds full conversations with it.
Surely this is just a childish coping mechanism used to deal with the fact that her entire life has been reordered, that she is living in a strange town in a strange country, and that she has had to leave all of her little play friends behind. I mean, it's not like the doll has been possessed by some ancient evil that escaped from the archaeological dig positioned right next door.
Of course the doll has been possessed by some ancient evil that has escaped from the archaeological dig positioned right next door! This is a horror movie, after all. And before you scream "spoiler!", the audience knows that this is what happened before the opening credits even begin.
Sure, it's a bit cheesy. Sure, the script meanders more than it should. Sure, it's obviously derivative of the Child's Play series, which is why it was almost universally panned by critics. But let's be honest, Child's Play itself was just a variation on a theme that had been around for decades anyway. And sure, Dolly Dearest doesn't bring anything new to the table. But I have to say this for Dolly Dearest: It never tries to be anything more than what it is.
It's a schlocky, direct-to-video killer doll slasher flick just like you've seen a dozen times before. That being said, it's also pretty damn fun if you go into it with the right mind set--and maybe a six pack or two. The acting is, for the most part, pretty decent and the animatronics are well done, too. This movie takes a lot of heat, even to this day, but truth be told, Dolly Dearest is no worse of a movie than some of the Child's Play entries--and I'm fairly certain it's better than at least one or two of them. (Seed of Chucky, I'm lookin' at you!) The only thing it's missing is the vocal talents of Brad Dourif.
Perhaps sometime in the future we'll see the Mistress of Chucky, in which ol' Chucklehead steps out to Mexico for a belated bachelor party, and winds up nailing the stripper, a brunette who goes by the dance name Dolly Dearest.
Come on. You know you would watch it.
"I am not losing my daughter to a goddamn 900 year old goat head!"