Furs on Film – Dolls (1987)

It’s almost Halloween, so let’s discuss a Stuart Gordon film. You know, Re-Animator, From Beyond, and… Dolls. Yes, this is not one of Gordon’s cult classics, but his third film, and he is only three away from his future masterpiece, Robot Jox. While this one was a little early for the evil doll movie renaissance of the 2010s, it does feature a lovely stroller (until it doesn’t).

Dolls – The Film

This is a wicked stepmother film wrapped in an evil-but-not-really doll movie. Judy, her father, and (wicked) stepmother Rosemary (Carolyn Purdy-Gordon) have car trouble near an old mansion. It starts to rain (put a pin in that), and they break into the mansion. Long story short, it’s inhabited by an elderly “magician” couple who imprison evil people in dolls, who then kill other evil people. Is it a spoiler to say Rosemary doesn’t make it? It shouldn’t be. 

Dolls – The Fur

Carolyn Purdy-Gordon in a Blue Fox Fur Stroller Coat, Dolls, 1987

Dolls gets right to “the action” as our soon-to-be-clearly-dysfunctional family interacts in a car on some remote road.

Carolyn Purdy-Gordon in a Blue Fox Fur Stroller Coat, Dolls, 1987

Car rides are notorious fodder for cinematic filler, but the one exception to this rule is when one party is wearing a lovely blue fox fur stroller.

Carolyn Purdy-Gordon in a Blue Fox Fur Stroller Coat, Dolls, 1987

We rapidly establish that Rosemary is a wicked stepmother, which the film ensures you never forget. I suspect her attire invokes that classicly warm character, Cruella de Vil.

Carolyn Purdy-Gordon in a Blue Fox Fur Stroller Coat, Dolls, 1987

The car breaks down; they’re lost. Because nothing actually “horrific” has happened yet in this horror movie, there’s a brief break for Judy to imagine her stuffed bear murdering her parents. I suspect her therapist will have a lot to dig into here.

Carolyn Purdy-Gordon in a Blue Fox Fur Stroller Coat, Dolls, 1987

They see the mansion and consider breaking in.

While there is some discussion on the matter, the final straw is the sudden burst of rain. This leads to the best cut in the entire movie, where one might notice a subtle difference between the coats worn by Rosemary. In fairness, I edited this. The scene cuts to a single line delivered by David, then cuts back to the different coat, but it’s just as jarring.

Carolyn Purdy-Gordon in a Faux Fur Stroller Coat, Dolls, 1987

I was going to chalk this up to a “continuity error” when fast-forwarding, but no, this is 100% intentional. The “stunt coat” replaces the blue fox so it can get rained on.

Carolyn Purdy-Gordon in a Faux Fur Stroller Coat, Dolls, 1987

In fact, it is the complete opposite of a continuity error, as the “wet” stunt coat remains in place once the scene switches inside. Once the stunt coat is gone, that’s it for the rest of the movie.

Stat’s wise, this is mediocre, but I’ve been doing this for a while, and I can say from experience that blue fox is not super common. I don’t know why cinema chooses to marginalize the objectively best kind of fox, but it’s true. Thus, this is one of the best you’ll find, so it’s worth checking out for that reason alone. Also, it’s worth it just for the amazingly inelegant transition to the stunt coat.

Fur Runtime: approx 5.5 minutes
Film Runtime: 77 minutes
On-Screen Fur Ratio: 7.25%

Find-a-Fur: Dolls, 1987

(all times are approximate and are affected by the cut of the film)

  • 03:00 – 12:10 – blue fox coat 
  • 12:10 – 14:00 – faux stunt coat

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