Curse of the Doll People (1960)

It seems like it was only a little over a year ago (because it was) that I was catapulted head over heals into the Halloween spirit by a DVD box set of Mexican horror films presented under the title CRYPT OF TERROR VOL 1. Naturally I would have gotten into the spirit eventually anyway but it never hurts to have a turbo boost speed ya there. I realize that lightening rarely strikes twice and that thunder only happens when it’s raining and that players only love you when they’re playing, but how could I resist purchasing another CRYPT OF TERROR offering when I spied it in the used bin, especially when the film they were pimping was entitled CURSE OF THE DOLL PEOPLE? I had to yell “YOLO!” even though for me that acronym stands for “You Only Lose Ordinarily.”

I wasn’t so crazy about the sloth-like CURSE OF THE DOLL PEOPLE. Maybe I was in a jittery mood but it felt repetitive. I may have even said to myself, “Self, if I have to hear one more fruitless conversation about science vs. magic I’m going to flip over the non-existent coffee table.” I mean, I totally believe in magic but not when it’s used as a trapdoor to escape from explaining things. At least “science” stands its ground and doesn’t mumble while hoping you’ll just give up and accept it. I give the film mega leeway for the limitations of the time period in which it was spawned but even I have my limits when it comes to tail-chasing dialogue drudgery. I’ll give the film props though for having a lady person who is smarter than everybody else and a bad guy who dresses like a gay wizard. I think it even has some agreeable atmosphere, but I get the feeling that this may be due to random circumstances rather than artistry. So there- that’s the bad news. It’s off my chest. This is all kinda about waiting for a bus outta bores-ville until…

…the Doll People show up! Yay! Alright, I have to admit, as much as this movie made me want to pick up a pen and a crossword puzzle and then put down the crossword puzzle and shove the pen in my eye, there’s no getting around the fact that the titular Doll People were worthy of embarrassing air guitar solos. Here is the deal. When a person is killed in this movie (a bunch of them are cursed for stealing a voodoo statue- whatever.) they are turned into a doll man and that doll man is represented by a little person wearing a paper mache mask of an awkward likeness of their face. The masks kind of look like the original person but they also kind of look like that old lady who screwed up the restoration of that Jesus painting had a hand in them. I should also add that the Doll People kill with giant needles and I’m pretty sure a decapitated head’s eyes glowed. The movie, as a whole, may not be much but whenever these dudes show up it’s DAVID LYNCH meets DEVIL DOLL. So you know what? I recommend just looking at pictures of the doll people instead of watching the movie. I have a feeling if I came across this one late at night and just caught a few scenes out of context I would have been much more satisfied. Standing alone without a tired story to drag them down, the Doll People seem to loom much larger.

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9 years ago

Okay, that shiz is going to haunt my dreams tonight. It looks like facial prosthetics used during WWI and the girl in the Ukraine turning herslef into a living Anime doll.
Unk, only you could reference Stevie Nicks and gay wizards in the same essay and make it totally work. 😉

9 years ago

I have to admit, I do like the looks of those doll people – not to mention the slightly sexually suggestive yet tense music in the clip.

But they sure took their sweet time getting over to the chick on the bed. She could have jumped up and run 10 circles around them by the time they got over there for crying out loud!

9 years ago

You’re the greatest, Unkle_Lancifer!

A friend of mine who worked at a video store that closed (as most of them sadly have) gave me this gem a few years ago, and I was severely creeped out by the doll people.

Unfortunately, my VHS has very bad English dubbing, and as you said the film lacks momentum until the lil dollies show up with the needles. Still it’s well worth the wait. A genuinely creepy film made for probably a few bucks.