Sunday, February 16, 2020
Review - Black Devil Doll From Hell (1984)
Review By Tony Masiello
Helen Black is a lonely repressed religious fanatic who is saving herself for marriage. That is until she stumbles across a strange puppet in an old curio shop. The doll has the ability to grant the owner their hearts-felt wish, but at a sinister price.
Black Devil Doll From Hell is notable for not only being one of the first SOV's released for the newly emerging home video market, but also because it was made by an all black cast and crew. Director Chester Novell Turner's Chicago lensed masterpiece is a weird mix of erotica, horror, and comedy that has yet to be matched (though many have emulated it).
Originally released (in a re-edited version) on video by the PD label Hollywood Home Theater in 1984, I imagine most viewers were probably in complete and utter shock as the movie unfolded before their unsuspecting eyes. It contains a wide array of creepy yet comedic moments that are guaranteed to stick with you long after you're done watching it.
Scenes such as the puppet shouting "Wake Up Bitch" to a sleeping Helen, the puppet licking her body (complete with a salivating tongue), and finally the puppet fucking her still pack a punch today.
Unfortunately BDDFH has gained a reputation of being one of those "so bad it's good" movies and is typically panned by most reviewers, which in my opinion is an unfair assessment. Sure the acting isn't great and the casio soundtrack has not aged well but BDDFH is a fun, original, and unique movie that deserves much more respect than the trash talking critics give it. It's one of those movies that is truly one of a kind and could only come from someone working outside of the Hollywood system.
A while back Massacre Video released a special edition DVD which contains two versions of the movie, the original Director's Cut (previously unreleased) as well as the original VHS cut. The VHS cut is better paced and takes no time getting to the puppet action but the Director's Cut adds more to the story and is superior in my opinion.
If you haven't seen BDDFH it's mandatory viewing for all SOV fans. Chester Novell Turner is one of the true pioneers of shot on video cinema and I'm glad the movies reputation has grown over the years despite the negative criticisms. I hope though that people can evaluate it more on its merits of being a unique piece of art than just a movie where a puppet fucks a woman. In my opinion this is one of the most important and best shot on video movies ever made and I hope someday it gets the respect it ultimately deserves.