Benito Alazraki – Curse of the Doll people (1961)

Over the years Mexico has gained itself quite a reputation as one of the countries with the strongest traditions in cinematic horror with films like Brainiac (El Baron Del Terror) and Curse of the Doll People proving exactly why. This particular film from the early 60’s is an effective tale of a voodoo curse bringing terror to those who are afflicted by it. It is the usual horror formula of ancient mystical traditions pitted against the modern word of cold hard facts and rational science where there is no room for myth or superstition.

A group of archaeologists travel to the ancient grounds of Coombas where they steal one of the stone deities thus invoking a murderous curse by the tomb keeper who is understandably enraged at the desecration of the holy grounds. The group of thieving men invite shapely Dr. Karen who is an expert on ancient rites and her fiancé who is also a doctor to ask them about the curse that was invoked upon them. Dr. Karen is shocked when she is told quite shamelessly that the group of men decided to steal the deity and bring it home as a trinket to decorate the house with. She is of the view that some superstitions are best not tampered with and that this curse that has been unleashed on the men is something that they ought not to take lightly.

Though the group of men appreciate the curvaceous doctor’s concern, they are not too concerned about the curse as according to the tomb keeper the curse was to have struck by midnight of this very day and with only five minutes to go its hardly likely that any of the group are about to be killed. Just at this moment there is a loud clap of thunder and some flashes of lightening after which the electricity goes out and suddenly five minutes appears like a very long time indeed. The first victim appears to die of a sudden seizure but we discover soon afterwards that the group are being murderously stalked by zombie dolls who stab their victims with a needle not only attaining revenge for the desecration of the tomb but also eventually turning the victim into yet another potential zombie doll.

The film has numerous very eerie scenes and the background music and imagery as well as the shuffling, murdering midgets (dolls) are a sight not easy to forget. The film immediately evokes memories of Devil Doll as it uses the very same theme where murdered victims are diabolically turned into dolls that are then turned into instruments of terror and revenge. The acting is a touch on the overwrought side and the dubbing on the DVD version is pretty off but the film is never less than intriguing and moves along at a rapid pace. The fellow doing the Murder Legendre bit from White Zombie over plays his hand a bit but the dolls and the midgets are brilliant on the whole – creepy and chilling.

Despite the rather dodgy acting and dubbing this is a beautifully shot film with numerous eerie sequences to satisfy. If you enjoyed the brilliant Devil Doll then you will surely warm to this wonderful Mexican horror entry. There may not be much blood and gore on display but that doesn’t stop this film from being wonderfully stylish, highly creepy and thoroughly enjoyable.

no pass

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