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Living Doll (1990)

| Horror | 5 May 1990 (UK)
Howard, a shy morgue worker, falls in love with a girl who ends up in the morgue, but he doesn't let that stop him.


, (as Peter Litten)


(screenplay), (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
1 nomination. See more awards »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Mark Jax ...
Katie Orgill ...
Christine / Dead Christine
Marcel Grant ...
Alison Jenkins ...
Girl in Bar
Heather Robbins ...
Sean Aita ...
Night Shift Worker
David Taylor ...
Tanya Lee ...
Nurse Lorraine
Ted Maynard ...
Jane Rawlins ...
Mandy Curzon ...
1st Girlfriend
Alanna Lane ...
2nd Girlfriend


Howard has a secret - he is in love with Christine. There's only one problem, Christine is DEAD! A grave was no place for Christine, the only place for her was at Howard's side. At last she was his, his to dress, his to feed and to care for. Written by <LD@ironworks.demon.co.uk>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

morgue | suicide | rat | nudity | murder | See All (13) »


The flame of her love burned brightest in the shadow of the grave







Release Date:

5 May 1990 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

Boneca de Carne e Osso  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Living Doll
Performed by Gary Martin
Produced by Mike Stanley
Composed by Lionel Bart
Published by Peter Maurice Music Company Ltd.
used by permission
See more »

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User Reviews

Myehh -- Hunchback of the Morgue, Manhattan Style
8 October 2005 | by (New York, USA) – See all my reviews

Sort of a disappointment here from the usually stellar Mondo Macabro, who made an excellent DVD of a movie that is just sort of OK. LIVING DOLL is an updating of the story ideas realized so vividly in the 1972 Eurohorror classic HUNCHBACK OF THE MORGUE with Spanish horror star Paul Naschy, amongst other sources. Man who works in morgue encounters hot babe, falls in love from afar or other position of being unable to fulfill his longings, he witnesses a cruel brutalization by someone who should be caring for her, she dies tragically & turns up as the next case on his slab the following morning. Oops.

Mark Jax plays the twenty-something slacker who takes his obsession with the gorgeous female in question too far by probing into her apartment and (apparently) hallucinates or imagines finding a note that says she suffers from a rare neurological condition which may render her inert and deathlike in appearance. So like Naschy's Gotho the Hunchie, he digs her up, takes her home and props her up on his couch with a blanket to keep her warm. Meanwhile she's really dead and the body starts to decompose while Jax imagines himself having conversations with the girl, and they start having a relationship of sorts.

Much of the film "works", including the pretend NYC environments which give the film a claustrophobic look where walls, ceilings and the trappings of life always seem to be filling in the background. Living in NYC is very compartmentalized in that one spends their day going from one box to another, riding on or in boxes shuttling one to additional boxes, and eventually you go back to your own box which is only yours because someone allows you to mess it up. I liked the Eartha Kitt landlady role, the part of the slacker buddy who gets sidelined by Jax' strange new girlfriend, and the decaying body scenes were appropriately revolting. But for me the best moment in the movie was when he gets pulled over by the cops (driving his Trans Am, yeah right?) after digging his beloved's corpse up. The policeman lets him go with a stern comment about needing to have his headlight fixed. There was abundant nudity, some nice slashes of ultra-violence, and a macabre air to the film that was at odds with the 1990's production values, which are actually rather high for such a project. This movie was very well made.

The problem is that the story never really gets involving: We watch Jax on his slow descent into madness but are never really anything more than witnesses to a bizarre obsession. HUNCHBACK OF THE MORGUE is over the top, energetic and frenzied in it's blasts of graphic gore, sexuality and macabre touches, some of which seem alluded to by individual moments seen in LIVING DOLL. But the lead character is so blasé, unconcerned and unable to deal with the crisis that develops that his predicament is always held at arm's length. Jax plays his role as if he were in CLERKS, and merely demented instead of the deranged psychopath that the movie calls for. The film also seems preoccupied with the need to be respectable even while being revolting, a very British trait and again at odds with what could have been a really sleazy, sensationalistic descent into the gutters of a NYC hospital morgue. Instead we get a taste of trendy slacker life in NYC ala 1991 & what really is just another weird, dysfunctional emotional entanglement between two mismatched lovers. The dead body could have been a blow-up doll and the film would have generated just as much intrigue, perhaps more.

So yeah, for once I am in total agreement with the consensus: LIVING DOLL might be an interesting rental diversion to check out but it certainly isn't one that I'll be watching again anytime soon, which is sort of the whole idea behind lower budgeted 1990's horror movies in the first place. This one was meant to be on the racks of rental shops & you'll not be doing any harm to yourself by renting it once and then having it returned there for the next victim. It is a commodity rather than a statement, and HUNCHBACK OF THE MORGUE deserves the same kind of restorative treatment when anyone feels like getting around to it.

5/10: "Myehh."

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