A wholly ludicrous, misconceived and plain crappy film about just
what the title promises. Need I say more?
This mess was released straight to video back in 1984.
Beyond that I don’t know much about the film, or its
writer-producer-director Chester N. Turner (who also made the equally
appalling 1987 anthology flick
TALES FROM THE QUADEAD ZONE), except
that it inspired 2009’s
BLACK DEVIL DOLL--which unlike this one
is actually a pretty good movie!
Helen is a lonely black woman who purchases a black
puppet from an antique shop. Never mind that the shop’s proprietor
claims she’s sold the puppet four ties already and it “Always
comes back.” At home Helen finds that the doll has a way of moving
around the house seemingly of its own volition, and its presence seems
to inspire sexually-tinged hallucinations. Eventually the doll attacks
Helen and knocks her unconscious, with the rejoinder “How d’ya like
Helen awakens to find herself tied spread-eagled to her
bed, with the doll standing over her. After blowing a blast of fetid
breath in her face the doll promises, “You’ve smelled the foulness of my
breath, and now you may taste the sweetness of my tongue!” The doll
delivers on that promise, licking Helen all over and then raping her.
Helen, for her part, quite enjoys the experience, so
much so that she takes to calling the doll “Mr. Wonderful.” Eager to
repeat the experience, Helen skips work the following morning--but
unfortunately the doll is nowhere to be found.
Helen later tells her boyfriend about what occurred,
and becomes so aroused by the recounting that she takes him to bed. She
doesn’t enjoy the experience. She picks up a stud at a bar, but the
resulting sexcapade isn’t any more inspiring than the last one. In
desperation Helen returns to the antique store where she initially
bought the doll, and finds it has returned. She purchases it once again
and brings it back to her home, but the puppet’s actions this time
around are far less joyous than before.
You know a film is in trouble when its opening credits,
presented over a black screen, last a full six minutes! There are many,
many more examples of gratuitous padding in endless scenes of people
walking and the protagonist wandering around her apartment.
Other appalling elements include an early phone
conversation during which the camera roams aimlessly around the
speaker’s cluttered home. Keeping people and objects in the frame is a
constant challenge for director Chester N. Turner, as is merely keeping
the camera steady. The sound mixing is an even bigger problem, with an
ambient drone that runs throughout the entire film and is often so loud
it drowns out the dialogue--as does the hideous synthesizer score, which
frequently utilizes noisy, siren-like drones. As for the acting, it’s
pretty much as you’d expect.
What really makes this film the bad movie classic it
is, however, is the title character. It’s a walking, talking puppet,
although we only really ever see it from the neck up. For wide shots of
the thing walking a child is utilized, while an attack sequence is
presented in particularly shameless fashion via a succession of still
shots! The Black Devil Doll’s growling vocals by Keefe Turner--who’s
also credited with the puppetry--are unforgettable.
Interestingly enough, BLACK DEVIL DOLL, the unofficial
comedy remake of the present film, isn’t nearly as odd, offensive,
shocking or laugh-out-loud funny as BLACK DEVIL DOLL FROM HELL--even
though most of its humor is unintentional!
BLACK DEVIL DOLL FROM HELL
C.N.T. Production Company Inc.
Director/Producer/Screenwriter/Editor: Chester N. Turner
Cinematography: Anna Holiday
“Re”-Editing: David T. Ichikawa
Cast: Shirley L. Jones, Rickey Roach, Chester Tankersley, Marie
Sainvilvs, Jeanine Johican, Thalia Holloway, Kathleen Turner, Keefe