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Home | Film Review: Black Devil Doll From Hell (1984)

Film Review: Black Devil Doll From Hell (1984)


A woman buys a doll at a magic shop. Unbeknownst to her, the doll is possessed by an evil spirit, and it proceeds to take her over.


Director – Chester N. Turner
Starring – Shirley L. Jones, “?” (the name for the puppet in the credits, nice touch)

I suppose if there was a bucket list for watching horror movies this “insanely crazy little movie that could and probably have shouldn’t” would be on it. Does that mean I’m glad that I’ve finally seen it? Actually yes, crazy as that sounds. I saw it and I survived. As for my mind I’m not so sure.

We all know that “Plan 9 From Outer Space” usually takes the top billing for any worst movie ever made list and in all honesty it pretty much deserves it. But if you think that this world is in any way a just and fair one than Black Devil Doll From Hell can’t be lurking far behind.

Whatever you have heard about the film is pretty much dead on accurate. Shot with a VHS camcorder. Check. Casio keyboard soundtrack. Check. Puppet having his way with a woman and then turning her into an insatiable sex hungry madwoman. Double check.

Let’s put it this way. Before the credits even roll you have the blue screen with the words in white, “VCR – Record SP” and “VCR – Index Write.” For those too young to remember the glory days of VHS, “SP” stands for standard play, which basically meant two hours. In fact, even though the movie has a run time of about seventy-four minutes, afterwards you get an infomercial and blue screen to round out the rest of the forty-six minutes.

In a way this is the movie’s charm. It is so low budget and so out of this world, not to mention offensive in parts, that you can’t help but shake your head in disbelief and smile. Smile? Laugh, too, at the pure absurdity of it all. Chester N. Turner wrote, directed, produced and even did the score. I don’t have anything to add to that.

So what is this movie even about? Well, Helen Black is a good, God-fearing woman who attends church regularly and whose house is filled with all kinds of religious trinkets and wares. And even though her friend would love for her to get out and have some fun with some guys, she’s firm in her resolution to save herself for marriage. If only she didn’t stop by a store to purchase an almost three foot high black doll.

She even gets a warning from the shopkeeper that this doll will, despite granting any heartfelt wish, return to the store. But like all good horror movie characters Helen promptly ignores the warning and takes the doll home. Can you say bad idea? This is one Black Devil Doll that has a little more on his mind than Helen knows and it doesn’t take long for her to find out just what that is.

Black Devil Doll From Hell is a movie that is hard to recommend. As mentioned above it should be seen at least once but at what cost to the viewer? At the very least it does have three things going for it. One, I didn’t see the end coming and that was cool. Two, the doll has an absolutely brilliant cackle slash laugh, you know, in between him calling Helen “bitch.” Last, some truly unbelievable lines of dialogue, my favorite being, “Now that you have smelled the foulness of my breath, you may now taste the sweetness of my tongue.” If that doesn’t sum up the movie I’m not sure what will.

In a weird way a shout out should be given to Chester N. Turner. I feel pretty confident in saying that most of us would not have the guts to put something like this out there. Add to that that he did this more or less by himself pretty much sums up the, “a man armed only with a camcorder and a dream” line. In the end this movie is what it is. Probably best seen with a group of friends. If you ever get the chance, check it out if for nothing else than to say you saw “Black Devil Doll From Hell.”

Black Devil Doll From Hell (1984)

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