Saturday, 10 March 2018

Devil Doll.

A wicked Svengali (there are never any benign ones.) uses his mesmeric skills to trap the soul of his assistant in the body of a wooden ventriloquist doll, which he uses in his hugely successful act but which he also locks in a cage when not on stage. Tormenting the poor fellow, constantly humiliating him and telling him how useless and ugly he is. He is quite a piece of work, even as wicked Svengali go. He locks it in a cage because it is actually mobile. It goes for when late night danders and murders with bread knives. It is quite terrifying. The producers must have dressed a skinny wee kid in the body of the doll, Hugo, but it is so unnerving and supernatural to see it quietly padding about that I felt myself checking behind the sofa for a ghastly little visitor.
              I have an old ventriloquist doll in one of my upper rooms. He sits flumped atop a pile of old vinyl like a guardian on vigil for times past. He is called Charlie and he lost a hand some time in the past. Somewhere there is a tiny little hand crawling its way back to the body it was lost from..
               This is an old British horror movie made in 1964.  It is a story told in a world of adults , smokey bar rooms and concert venues. Whatever special effects that are within the movie are off a practicle kind. All done in front of the cameras with nothing added afterwards. It has at times an almost squalid quality mostly projected in the mean spirited and selfish demands of the Svengali. His imperative is whatever he wants whatever the cost to others for he has himself another doll in need of a host to drive it.
              The Devil is not in the doll. The Devil is in the wretched details.