Monsters: Season 1, Episode 23

Mannequins of Horror (20 May 1989)

TV Episode  -   -  Horror
7.6
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Title: Mannequins of Horror (20 May 1989)

Mannequins of Horror (20 May 1989) on IMDb 7.6/10

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Brian Brophy
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Horror

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20 May 1989 (USA)  »

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Definitely a high point of the series
29 May 2009 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

A once prominent doctor has gone mentally insane and spends his days in an asylum meticulously crafting clay figurines. When the staff confiscates them they discover just how important they really are to him...

"Mannikins of Horror" is another Monsters episode taken from the works of Robert Bloch. Of course, one must remember that Robert Bloch also wrote a short story that was made into the stinker known as "The Legacy." This episode provides some much-needed redemption.

The clay figures featured in the episode are worth the price of admission alone. It still amazes me the level of detail put into them. They have well-crafted physical features, they're even anatomically correct. We're treated to shots of some of their inner organs: a brain, a stomach and lungs if I remember correctly, and one is sliced open at the waist to reveal an intestinal tract! All the organs looked disturbingly real. If only some of the other episodes had this much attention to detail. You could almost teach an anatomy class with this episode as a visual aid.

The plot is simple yet engrossing. The doctor painstakingly crafts the clay figures in the image of man because he believes that he can act out through them as kind of a puppet. There are two doctors featured who bicker about his newfound hobby: one feels that indulging his habit will ultimately help him, the other feels that they're actually preventing his recovery. The doctor with no compassion wins out and takes away the little clay men and that's when the real fun begins.

The performances are very good, mostly from the patient and the friendly female doctor. You can buy into the patient's obsession with his clay dolls and his mental instability. There's even a scene where he experiences a creepy delusion that really adds nothing to the story but has some neat special effects. You also can believe that the nice doctor really cares about him and wants to help him get well.

If you follow the episode closely, the ending will probably not surprise you much, but that doesn't mean that it's by any means a letdown. Once again the special effects really shine here and help to make an already good ending even more satisfying.

"Mannikins of Horror" is an episode that does everything right and does it well. If it weren't for the disappointing follow-up, "La Strega," this would have been a great way to cap off the first season.


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