"Doll Graveyard" DVD
Apparently, just in time
for the new millenium, Charles Band decided that Full Moon was no
longer a movie studio, but an action figure clearinghouse.
Some might say Im
being unnecessarily cruel with this assessment, but those same people
might be surprised to know that no less a personage than Band himself
agrees with me.
From the Full Moon studios
Videozone magazine on Retro Puppet Master, one minute
twelve seconds in, Band is quoted, almost offhandedly, as saying:
Were in the
action figure business.
Its a funny thing
thought Full Moon was in the movie business. At least thats
what I thought from all those darn DVDs that keep showing up on
video store shelves. And after seeing Doll Graveyard,
a movie obviously released for the express purpose of hawking a
new line of toys, I guess what Band had to say was true.
Full Moon really is in
the action figure business.
So what we have here
is the commercial of a whole bunch of dolls that turn homicidal.
I know, youre probably confusing this with Puppet Master,
but you shouldnt be. That was about puppets. Those of you
who are confusing this with Blood Dolls arent
too far off the mark as it too was a Charles Band commercial about
homicidal dolls. But this time around, the dolls start out in the
possession of an abused little girl who will accidentally die while
being punished by her father. Roughly a hundred years later, the
dolls will find their way back to the downtrodden, and start up
a killing spree, the likes of which they
got around to back in 1905 with the little abused girl.
Which, lets face
it, isnt much of a commercial. Its an hour long. I know
I said that its got a runtime of seventy one minutes, but
what no one except me will bother to tell you is that the last ten
minutes are devoted to the credits.
And in the right hands,
this might well have been something rather special. The first minute
or so, an opening credit roll with a fog-shrouded chunk of land
populated by pieces of porcelain dollsarms sticking up from
the ground, heads lying shattered on the earth, and so onand
lit entirely by the light ofsurprise, surprisea full
moon, is actually pretty creepy.
In fact, if it had been
done correctly, as an actual movie instead of a sixty minute toy
ad, this could have been the start of something great and innovative:
Pet Cemetery for dolls. Think about that for a minute
Baby Puke-On-You sunk into the soil of the Micmac burial ground
and coming back for blood. If that doesnt give you cold chills
youre more jaded than I give you credit for.
we get is a sad and shoddy display of Bands seemingly boundless
greed and capacity to exploit holy hell out of his audience and
a premise so shoddy that it stopped being effective back in the
eighties. Weve got mindless violence (including a steel spike
to a guys crotch, a fate no man deserves) and equally mindless
clichés (including a beautiful sequence at the fifty two
minute thirty seven second mark wheres someones actually
so abysmally stupid as to call 911 and gibber into the phone about
how theyre being attacked by killer dolls) and lots of face
time with Bands new money making properties, the killer dolls
of the Doll Graveyard (which as it turns out was nothing
more than a small chunk of dirt in someones backyard.).
The ending is confused,
and abrupt. In fact, the whole commercial feels rushed, as though
Band was renting the footage and needed to clock out the commercial
in an hour or less or face additional charges.
The special features
include a behind the scenes featurette, a blooper reel, Charles
Bands latest diatribe, a link to a website for all you DVD-ROM
enthusiasts, DVD credits, and trailers for other commercials Doll
Graveyard, The Gingerdead Man, Monsters
Gone Wild!, When Puppets and Dolls Attack!, Decadent
Evil and Petrified. Theres also a brief
discussion of Cinemaker. net, which serves another example of Bands
sheer reprehensibility as he advises other moviemakers that a monster
or hero action figure in toy stores is great advertising for the
All in all, Im
revolted by both Bands strategy and Doll Graveyard,
the inevitable result of using such a strategy. I dont have
anything against merchandising, but action figures should be based
on characters! Movies shouldnt be made with action figures
in mind! And charging other filmmakers to hear his vile advice on
using his practices is just a sorry display. Doll Graveyard
is little more than a commercial for a toy line, and certainly not
the quality movie that it might well have been if it had been given
a chance to be a movie instead of an hour-long toy commercial.
by Charles Band
Written by Charles Band, August White
Starring Jared Kusnitz, Gabrielle Lynn, Kristyn Green, Anna Alicia
by Charles Band
Video Store Guy knows the best movies you've never seen. Check his
Reel Advice weekly at www.monstersandcritics.com