Devil Doll - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Devil Doll Reviews

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½ October 21, 2013
Lionel Barrymore in drag. Or at least earrings. He really looks like Granny, the owner of Tweety Bird. Maybe he was the inspiration. As a revenge tale this is somewhat incomprehensible. Why is it set in Paris, Noelle kept asking. I had no answer. The special effects are stunning for 1936. But, here is the thing, Lavond did not need little people to do any of what he did. Not really. But this one features one of the maddest mad scientist schemes in existence - shrinking all the humans in the world to eliminate starvation and over population. Kooky.
October 21, 2013
The Image and the Description has been mixed up. The Devil Doll in which the description explains was made in 1936. I just finished viewing this film on TV.
September 16, 2012
Years before something like Child's Play fueled nightmares, Devil Doll attempted to scare 'em up but wasn't all that successful at it. While the film is definitely creepy (it's the doll, obviously) there isn't much in the way of atmosphere or plot. Eventually the plot is revealed but it takes an awfully long time to get there, and anyone with half a brain (even in those days) could figure out what's going on. It lacks any sort of style and just features many close-ups of the doll's face for effect instead of trying to create any kind of atmosphere. It's a shame too because with a doll that looks like this one, a good creepy but fun movie could've been made. The gang at Mystery Science Theater 3000 also did an episode on this movie. It's not a skippable movie, but as far as what went into making and what came out, it only seems to be mildly watchable to me. Oh, and Flixster loses points for revealing the plot in the description. If you don't want spoilers, don't read it.
August 10, 2012
I've sent an e-mail to Flixster pointing out how this entire page seems to be a mash-up of both "The Devil-Doll" (1936) and "Devil Doll" (1964). I suggested that the page be wiped clean, and to post separate pages for each movie. That would indeed result in several reviews being 'lost," but it'd probably be better than having a single page polluted with incorrect reviews (including several from so-called "super reviewers" who apparently didn't even review the page itself - some referring to the '64 movie and some referring to the Lionel Barrymore film (which I feel has been adversely affected by this error, as the 32% rating might indicate).
Super Reviewer
½ March 24, 2012
it was made in the thirties not sixties.
wrong flixster data.
March 20, 2012
A few creepy parts, but the story is boring and the characters aren't too great. The puppet is rather annoying but the ending had a nice twist. It's a pretty good MST3K episode too.
Super Reviewer
February 18, 2012
"What Is the strange, terrifying evil secret of the dummy... and why is it locked in a cage every night? Is it flesh or wood? Man or monster? Alive or dead? The Devil Doll. It walks. It talks. It kills. Strange! Terrifying! Evil!" -tagline
November 9, 2011
Has some laughs. The mad scientist lady, sporting a truncated Bride of Frankenstein hair-do, enthusing to Barrymore (who spends most of the movie in drag), "We're going to make everything small!" is the sort of statement of crazed purpose you'd expect from few besides Professor Hubert Farnsworth.
November 8, 2011
I'm driving using my mind!
July 8, 2011
They've given the wrong description for this movie; it's about a ventriloquist who puts the soul of his German assistant into a doll and then tries to do the same thing with a girl who wears way too much eye makeup. It's a weird movie, much more enjoyable with MST3K.
½ June 4, 2011
Weird. Flixter seems to have merged a couple of different 'Devil Dolls' together. Mine is from 1936 and was made by Tod Browning. And what a film it is! It has cross dressing, mad science, shrunken puppies, more cross dressing. Did I mention cross dressing? You bet.
February 13, 2011
The life of a ventriloquist has to be a tough one. I'd imagine you talk to yourself more than most normal people, only possibly out loud and in a different voice (and maybe even a different gender). Then there's the whole deal where you carry around the trapped soul of a former stage actor named Hugo in your charmingly hideous doll as you hypnotize people into doing things that benefit you before you try stealing their souls while entertaining sold out audiences and debutante's parties. Or maybe that's just a facet of the profession explored solely in this movie. Which brings up an interesting point because for some reason, Flixster has two different movies by the same name entered into this link for "Devil Doll." I'm sure the 1936 film of the same name is entertaining in its own right but for all intents and purposes, we're looking at the 1964 version that somehow manages to be equal parts captivating and yawn-inducing. Well, "captivating" may be too strong a word to use here but there is some pretty sick stuff going on (and I'm not talking about our villain's assistant's choice in wardrobe... or the lack thereof). Our hero is an average guy with above average curiosity who knows something is up with his gal pal after she agrees to be a part of a stage show involving hypnotism and a ventriloquist dummy that is able to walk and move on its own. Stuff happens but none of it really matters considering the pacing drags this down to the point of almost no return. It can be an unnerving and creepy little picture when it wants to be (the image of Hugo sitting in the cage is both discomforting and oddly hilarious) and while the story it is based upon is probably 39 times better in execution, you could do far worse than this if you happen to come across it in the middle of the night and you've seen all the other infomercials the TV is currently showing.
½ November 28, 2010
wishes you were here.
Horror Movie Project
Super Reviewer
November 19, 2010
The 1936's Devil-Doll is a crazy mix of Frankenstein, The Littles, and Mrs. Doubtfire. Sounds strange enough right? This movie marks the steep decline in quality and in popularity of Tod Brownings work. He really picked up steam by directing classics like Dracula and Freaks, however he wasn't able to maintain that level of quality. Instead he retired from directing in 1939 and fell out of society; completely cutting himself off from everyone, including his family, until his death in 1962.

This movie is really intriguing with its use of the early "green screen" work and its other effects. That is really what drives the film. Other than that the movie sort of falls flat and ends very bizarrely.

Lionel Barrymore (Great uncle of Drew Barrymore) and Marcel are on the run after escaping from prison. Marcel is a great scientist and he drags Barrymore to his experiments once they escape. The experiments Marcel performs involve shrinking things down to 1/6th their original size. For the most part he carries out these feats of size reduction on his seemingly endless supply of dogs. The doctor has a heart attack and before he dies tells his vision of the world to Barrymore and his assistant (some lady with a limp). The Lady, determined to finish the doctor's work, decides that Barrymore must help her realize the late doctor's dream. So naturally Barrymore just becomes a doctor in about 5 minuets. He even comments "I couldn't help, I was a Banker". How does this guy just up and become a scientist?It bugs me! The movie goes on from there with Barrymore using the method used to shrink things to clear his name, and then lives out the rest of his years in peace. That is pretty much the entire movie.

There are some freaky parts like when he tortures his victims by paralyzing them with a tiny dagger dipped in paralyzing potion, or when Lionel Barrymore dresses up as an old woman to allude the police. His make-up is pretty uncanny. You wouldn't even know that you were looking at veteran actor of the stage and screen. The movie didn't have a lasting impression on me though and I am going to give it a mere 4 out of 10.

I am going to go be a surgeon now.

½ August 14, 2010
i believe it is the first killer doll film made by tod browning the guy who made dracula and freaks its not exactly a masterpiece but its pretty good 7\10
February 1, 2010
While this movie is filled with kitschy moments and horrible acting, the scenes with the dummy are actually pretty creepy. This movie seemed heavily influenced by another movie called Dead of Night, which was probably the first English made horror film in 1942. It's not great, but I would say that I did enjoy watching this movie. It's a good evil hypnotist film.
October 2, 2009
Evul puppets, check.
Creepy hypnotist with bad childhood, check.
Foxy ladies acting like boiled potatoes, double check.
May 18, 2009
It seems as though Flixter has taken the two movies with this title (the 1936 Tod Browning film and the 1964 flick by Lindsay Shonteff) and just kind of smooshed them together for this page. This review pertains to the Browning picture.

It was interesting seeing this with an audience who were initially laughing at the absurdity, then gradually started taking the movie on its own terms. There were a couple near-Hitchcockian moments of suspense and an ending that could have been maudlin but turned out to be genuinely touching. There's a bit of recycling from Browning's The Unholy Three (which is at lest tacitly acknowledged in the trailer) but the film still works on its own merits.
½ March 26, 2009
Surprisingly good, I was pretty much expecting an 80 minute nap but it kept my interest for the most part.
Super Reviewer
March 12, 2009
Pretty good acting with a bit of tension thrown in at the beginning and a trippy ending, made this interesting. It does go a bit slow, so it does take some of the fun out of it.
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