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Vorelli is a ventriloquist & hypnotist, with an amazing dummy, Hugo. Vorelli meets and pursues a beautiful heiress (Marianne); he mesmerizes her, and induces a baffling coma. His buxom mistress (Magda) fears he'll dump her for the younger woman, and threatens to expose him. Vorelli tricks Hugo into killing Magda while he's safely elsewhere. Marianne's boyfriend Mark investigates. He discovers another killing in Vorelli's past, of a man called Hugo. The girl wakes from her coma, and announces she will marry the hypnotist. When the triumphant Vorelli tells Hugo his plans for Marianne and a new, female dummy, a final confrontation yields surprising results.Written by
Mike Rogers <MICHAELPEM@aol.com>
The international version is different from the original British version.
The opening and closing credits are different.
The international version replaces two scenes with topless women with alternate takes, featuring them clothed or covered.
The international version contains a scene which explains the motivation for Magda's murder, while the British version replaces this with a stage performance in which a woman is hypnotized and strips, ending up topless.
Hey, what's with the ridiculously low and miserable rating of not even 3 out of 10? I ventured into this film without checking its title page on IMDb, which is something I rarely ever do, but now I'm glad, otherwise I probably would have passed an missed out on a fairly engaging, original and chilling little 60's gem. Perhaps the low rating is linked to the fact that this is another film that undeservedly received the feared and notorious MST3K-treatment, which tends to hugely influence viewers opinions, but it really isn't such a bad film albeit admittedly a bit derivative and suffering from a lack of budgetary means. But at least the film is atmospheric. Like clowns, ventriloquist dummies have some sort of uncanny aura surrounding them and the more you look at them, the scarier they become. Director Lindsay Shonteff ("The Million Eyes of Sumuru") clearly realized this as well, because he stuffed his film with extended still shots of dummy. It's strangely unsettling because you're staring at something lifeless, yet you somehow feel like he's staring back at you. The script of "Devil Doll" also centers on another eerie surreal phenomenon apart from ventriloquism, namely hypnotism. The Great Vorelli has a successful act where he hypnotizes people on stage and then ends with his dummy Hugo, a dummy that can not only talk and pull menacing grimaces, but also walk all by himself! The skeptical journalist Mark English is intrigued with the act, and whilst he's trying to unravel the mystery of Hugo's ability to walk, Vorelli has set his mind on conquering the heart and soul of Mark's enchanting fiancée Marianne, whether she wants to or not. The revelation of the mysterious dummy's secret is ingenious and I don't think I've seen this type of twist in any other movie ever before. The acting performances are good, notably Bryant Haliday's sinister role of the Great Vorelli is memorable, there's a constant atmosphere of tension and Hugo is one scary Pinocchio! If you come across this film, please do ignore the bashing reviews and low scores and give it a chance. It may be not nearly as good as other wicked-dummy movies, like "The Great Gabbo" and the downright brilliant short segment in the horror anthology "Dead of Night", but it's unquestionably a worthwhile 60's horror effort.
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