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The Strange Things Boutique




DVD region 0. Lowest Common Denominator Entertainment.

Black Devil DollBlack Devil Doll comes with one of the coolest posters since the 1970s, the best strapline ever (‘he’s a lover! He’s a killer! He’s a muthafuckin’ puppet!’) and a hilarious trailer, and so has a lot to live up to. I’ll let you know if it does in a moment, but a quick history lesson first.

In 1984, Chester Turner made one of the first shot-on-home-video horror movies to see release, Black Devil Doll from Hell – a film that would achieve some notoriety amongst horror fandom a few years later as reviews and mentions turned up in fanzines like Video Drive-In and Gore Gazette. In the days before the internet, getting hold of a film like this – especially for English fans - was almost impossible, and that made the sleazy sounding film all the more interesting. Some 20-odd years later, I finally got hold of an nth generation copy that was barely watchable (and not just because of the tape quality). Little did I know that around the same time, Shawn and Jonathan Lewis were about to do a re-imagining of the whole idea. And hell, that’s some achievement for such an obscure movie – no one is remaking Haven of Horror or Pretty Girls Snuffed as far as I know.

So we come to Black Devil Doll itself – a gleefully offensive, ultra-low-budget and ultra-low-taste sleazefest that will probably keep fans of scumbag cinema more than happy.

The film tells the story of a black militant who is executed for rape and murder, and who finds himself reincarnated as a potty-mouthed ventriloquist dummy after busty Heather (Heather Murphy) foolishly toys with a Ouija board. At first, the BDD and Heather are content to fuck each other’s brains out, but eventually, he needs more, and convinces her to invite her skanky friends around for a game of Twister. As Heather makes herself scarce, BDD kills and screws (in that order) the girls – and Heather’s ex-boyfriend – but eventually faces her wrath when she returns home to find a house full of the dead bodies of her friends.

Black Devil DollIf you are the sensitive, PC type, then this isn’t the film for you. With frequent, almost relentless use of terms like ‘nigger’ (including the classic line “Baby, I say ‘nigga’ over a hundred times a day, it’s the only thing that keeps my teeth white!”), 'bitch', and wall-to-wall sexism and general rudeness, the soundtrack alone will have your average Guardian reader kicking their TV in; add to that copious nudity, gore, necrophilia, rape and general unsavoury behaviour, and you have a film that is going to upset people left, right and centre.

Of course, a lot of people are humourless dicks, and to take offence against this film is to wholly miss the point. Black Devil Doll is deliberately, gloriously tasteless, and so ridiculously over-the-top that you’d have to be an idiot to take it seriously - unless you are precisely the sort of person it aims to offend, in which case it will push all your buttons. The acting is bad, the effects cheesy and the humour crude, all of which combine to make it a lot of fun – and with the film’s credits starting to roll after just 65 minutes, it doesn’t waste time on niceties. With funkadelic opening titles, some effective music, surprisingly decent production values and a fuck-you attitude, Black Devil Doll isn’t for everyone – but fans of low-rent grindhouse and blaxploitation pastiches will find much here to enjoy.

The DVD is packed to the gills with extras too – five commentary tracks cover every aspect of the movie, including one by the Black Devil Doll himself and another by three fans (you probably don’t need that, but hey…). There’s also a live audience recording from LA’s New Beverly (which is an idea that Birdemic should’ve ripped off), trailers and behind-the-scenes footage, plus a foldout poster with hilarious sleeve notes. A classy package for such a scuzzy little film.



Visit for more in the surprisingly extensive Black Devil Doll merchandise range!



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