Black Devil Doll From Hell (1984)
Cast: Shirley L. Jones, Keefe Turner, Gladys Ames
Director: Chester N. Turner
Nutshell: Devout Bible Woman brings home a puppet that changes her life
Having produced and directed a film on an invisible budget in 2006 it was of particular interest to see how people coped with the same scenario back in 1984 when Black Devil Doll from Hell was unleashed onto an unsuspecting and unprepared world. The film is shot on a dinosauric first generation Camcorder and looks worse than the sleaziest porn from that era. However it’s is weirdly and strangely compelling due to its sheer atrociousness and that spellbindingly horrendous Casiotone score is insanely irresistible.
The movie opens with an middle-aged and none too attractive frumpy Bible Preaching Afro American woman being accosted by a young man trying to sell her stolen goods from his no doubt stolen vehicle. She declines his generous offers citing that stealing is the devil’s work and that she is a righteous woman whose life is governed by the Bible and just to reinforce the point, the next twenty minutes of the movie consist of a phone call to her a debauched friend who is trying to get the Bible Woman laid but is coerced instead into meeting at church the coming Sunday.
Meanwhile, one morning the Bible Girl goes down to a local thrift shop and finds herself a rather ugly large black Stevie Wonder lookalike doll which she is told has strange powers and always returns to the shop even though it has been sold on four different occasions! Each time the doll has somehow mysteriously returned to the thrift shop having caused untold havoc. When told this fact the Bible Girl has a hysterical laughing fit and proceeds to mock both the thrift shop owner as well as her doll but all of a sudden quite inexplicably she has a change of heart and decides to buy the hideous doll after all. She lugs it home and props it up next to her pink furry rabbit and proceeds to go about her business of taking several showers a day for reasons best known to her.
Her bathing body appears to delight the doll who springs into action and soon brutally ambushes its new owner, tying her up and proceeding to rape her which in turn causes our Bible Girl to turn into an insatiable nymphomaniac who hits the streets bringing all sorts of dodgy men home to try to douse the sexual fire that has been aroused by the vile puppet who raped her. Now that the Bible Girl has awakened from her sexual slumber she seems to find satisfaction not with the string of hunks she brings home to bed but only from her puppet who appears to have vanished having tempted the ageing Bible Beauty off her righteous course.
In desperation the Bible Beauty goes out in search of the missing puppet and discovers it in the thrift shop where by habit it always returned having been sold to a new buyer. The shop owner insists that the Bible Beauty purchase the puppet all over again and in desperation she duly obliges, such is her physical need for the carnal pleasures that the puppet provides that no cost is high enough. She heads off home and strips off ready for a bout of action with the puppet but this time the doll has other ideas and complications abound. Will the Bible Beauty be reformed again or has she now been turned into a drooling sex maniac? Will Jesus be able to rescue her from the clutches of the heinous Black Devil Doll or will evil prevail.
Despite a predilection for zero budget atrocities from around the world, I had no idea that this monstrosity even existed until a visit to the home of legendary cult film director Frank Hennenlotter down in the Village in New York City the summer of 2007. While sipping on a Coke listening to Hennenlotter’s film making experiences, my eyes wandered across his mouthwatering collection of dubious old VHS tapes and my eyes soon settled on the intriguing title and artwork of the film Black Devil Doll From Hell which not only had a superlative name but an equally intriguing video cover reminding one instantly of the fabulous Zuni Doll episodes from the Trilogy of Terror from years ago.
Finally I asked Frank about the particular film and was delighted when he pulled it off the shelf and gave me a copy to check out and that is how I came to find this simply stunning film which was to redefine the phrase cinematic atrocity for all time to come. I truly thought I had seen the dregs of film making having watched countless Ed Wood movies, The Creeping Terror, Mesa of 1000 Woman and their ilk but nothing comes even close to matching Black Devil Doll From Hell for sheer tack and incompetence and zero budget awfulness. This film makes movies such as the Drive-in Massacre, Don’t Go in the Woods Alone and The Forrest appear like huge budgeted Hollywood fare when compared to the Casiotone dreadfulness that is Black Devil Doll.
Quite simply, this film redefines crap but does so with tremendous aplomb, a certain amount of guts and some very creditable thick skin. The result is a film that is so unbelievably dreadful that it deserves a place in the collection of any self respecting collector of shlock, horror and exploitation. Quite simply – Black Devil Doll From Hell is an astounding experience – a baffling, stunning and mindbogglingly horrendous cinematic experience – a treat for all purveyors of true grade A crap.
Shirly L. Jones turns in a breathtaking performance, quite possibly the best ever in a horror movie and one waits anxiously for her to be discovered by Hollywood.
Essential viewing for those with an interest in true shlock and quite possibly the worst cinematic atrocity ever witnessed by these jaded eyes. The film is almost rejuvenating in its awfulness – go seek it out and watch it without further delay, life will never be the same.` Also, the “music”score is something to behold and be amazed by and at this point in time words utterly fail me in trying to describe the score composed for Black Devil Doll From Hell.
It has to be acknowledged though that any film with quotes such as “Did you just fart bitch?” simply cannot be ignored.
Unmissable and essential viewing for true connoisseurs of crap.