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Dolly Dearest (1991)

R  |   |  Horror, Thriller  |  18 October 1991 (USA)
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Ratings: 4.6/10 from 1,789 users  
Reviews: 30 user | 24 critic

An American family moves to Mexico to fabricate dolls, but their toy factory happens to be next to a Sanzian grave and the toys come into possession of an old, malicious spirit.



(screenplay), (story), 2 more credits »
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Title: Dolly Dearest (1991)

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Complete credited cast:
Chris Demetral ...
Candace Hutson ...
Jessica Wade (as Candy Hutson)
Enrique Renaldo ...
Alva (as Alma Martínez)
Will Gotay ...
Rene Victor ...
Luis Cortez ...
Brass Adams ...


An American family moves to Mexico to fabricate dolls, but their toy factory happens to be next to a Sanzian grave and the toys come into possession of an old, malicious spirit. Written by Jan Teekman <>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


This is where the fairy tale ends and the nightmare begins. See more »


Horror | Thriller

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for horror violence | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






Release Date:

18 October 1991 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A Boneca Diabólica  »

Filming Locations:

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


See  »

Did You Know?


Had a brief theatrical run in the midwest before its May 1992 video release. See more »


The family's last name is repeatedly stated as "Wade" in the film and even appears on some of the boxes in the doll factory. However, the end credits list it as "Read". See more »


[last lines]
Marilyn: Honey, it's over.
See more »


References Mommie Dearest (1981) See more »

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User Reviews

Evil force leads to one hellish dolly mixture.
29 July 2010 | by (Edinburgh.) – See all my reviews

Child's Play certainly has a lot to answer for. Well, maybe that's not really fair as Child's Play simply exploited a great horror conceit that had been used again and again over the years (from Dead Of Night to the "Living Doll" episode of The Twilight Zone) and wrapped it up in a wonderfully entertaining way for more modern audiences. But Child's Play led to the likes of Child's Play 2 and Dolly Dearest, both inferior movies and with the latter being the worst of the lot.

Dolly Dearest is a gender-twisted version of Child's Play with all of the good stuff thrown out and a lot of illogical, implausible moments left in (and, let's face it, Child's Play wasn't that logical or plausible itself but at least tried to paper over some of the bigger cracks). It's written and directed by Maria Lease so it would seem that the main person to point a finger at would be . . . Maria Lease.

We start off with a man trying to enter some area of archaeological worth in Mexico with fatal results. This seems to release an evil force in the shape of some lively red mist that travels into a nearby, run-down doll workshop. Cut to one man taking his family (including wife Denise Crosby) all the way to live in the house by that very workshop to begin his new life as a maker of fine dolls. When his daughter spies one of the little plastic gals sitting on a shelf she asks for one and that's the start of mini menace and dolly devilishness.

Let's go through things one at a time here, starting with the script. It's bad. It's not on a par with the worst of the worst but it's simply flat and unentertaining throughout while the actual machinations of the plot are even more unbelievable than most, mixing in elements from The Omen, Child's Play and even the likes of Don't Go To Sleep but doing so with far less success than any of them.

The acting is pretty bad. I don't know who kept giving Denise Crosby these "caring mother" roles at this stage in her career but they just don't suit her. Luckily, she went on to find other roles that she was much better suited to but here she barely rises up to average in places. The only other really well-known face here is Rip Torn, doing okay in his role despite mangling a terrible accent at all times. The husband character (played by Sam Bottoms) is almost completely redundant until the finale, the young lad (Chris Dematral) is the best of the lot and the girl (Candy Hutson) who grows so dangerously attached to Dolly is almost embarrassing in places with her exaggerated attempts at nastiness and feigned affection.

Direction is flat and uninspired. There are TWO "cat jumps" in here even though nobody in the family actually owns a cat. That's just laziness in the extreme, even if we're to believe that someone else's cat just keeps nosing round. Everything is done that can be done to drain all tension and scares out of every scene. The big reveal of Dolly's true self and the threat she really is? As flat as every other scene, which is annoying for genre fans like myself who know that the concept is a winner and in the right hands can always deliver solid fare.

For the central notion alone, and the very rare moment of near-goodness, this gets 3/10.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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scared the *beep* outta me Pyro93
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