Perhaps it’s just my insatiable need for the video cheese nostalgia of the 80s. Maybe, I’ve been too disappointed over the past 15 years by the slow decline of the famous Full Moon Studios. You could even speculate that I have a guilty conscience from wishing that Charles Band would just call it a day and save the world from Birth Rite 2 or Puppet Master 50. Whatever the reason, as I sit here today contemplating the latest release from Band’s ubiquitous company, I am astounded by what I have to say….ladies and gentlemen step right back to the heyday of schlock and welcome one of the greatest video classics I’ve seen in the better part of a decade… Doll Graveyard.
It feels like a million years since Charles Band and Kenneth J. Hall unleashed Andre Toulon’s Puppets into the video world. Since that time Full Moon grew fat on the fans of all things inherently tacky, only to later fall into disrepair as the mid-nineties horror backlash drug on. But here halfway through the first decade in the dawn of the new millennium, Charles Band is back (not that he ever really left) and better than ever.
Many of you will cringe at the thought that Doll Graveyard is just another attempt to cash in on the old Puppet Master craze, not unlike Demonic Toys or Blood Dolls before it, but hey, it’s not like anyone is giving Woody Allen crap for making the same film over and over again for the past 35 years (Ok, so that’s a pretty weak argument). Anyway, what does it matter? In a little over an hour (71 minutes to be precise) Charles Band reaffirmed my faith in Full Moon Pictures and damn near wiped out a decade of bad memories.
Lets go ahead and get the plot out of the way, and with only 71 minutes to spare, there is precious little time for such trivial things as plot. In 1905 a young girl named Sophia is murdered by her father and buried in the backyard with her dolls. The dolls it seems are Sophia’s protectors. Now, fast forward 100 years and a young action figure collector by the name of Guy stumbles upon their shallow grave and unearths what in his mind is a brilliant new collectable. Queue the killing, as the other dolls are slowly resurrected and the spirit of Sophia enters Guy. The dolls terrorize Guy’s sister and her friends during a house party, stabbing, shooting, spearing and shredding the beauties and their beaus before turning their savagery against the father. Its up to three girls and (a) Guy (funny how that worked out…eh!) to fight the spirit of Sophia and stop the dolls’ reign of terror before the night turns into a bloody centennial sacrifice.
It can’t possibly take more than about 5 minutes of this flick before you are instantly transported to the dingy video shelves of some long forgotten mom and pop video stop. Band has really recaptured the spirit of the Full Moon glory days and even if you were too young to remember how exciting it was to rent a new Full Moon feature each month does not mean that this film will fall on deaf ears or blind eyes. Full Moon’s trademarks of slick cinematography, solid, if not exceptional, special effects, attractive leading ladies and swift plotlines will have even the uninitiated pleasantly surprised. In a direct-to-video universe that Charles Band helped to create, Doll Graveyard has shown that the true Puppet Master still rules them all.