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Chucky’s evil sister, in spirit, does her part to look as creepy as intended but lacks the bite of good ol’ Charles Lee Ray.

An ancient evil inhabits a doll that controls the young daughter of a toy factory owner. Let’s dig into 1991’s “Dolly Dearest”, directed by Maria Lease!

As I See It

With some prime coverage in Fangoria #102, this basically direct-to-video, early nineties horror had a bar that was too high from the start.

The article focuses on the fact that this film, as well as two other upcoming horror releases (The Howling IV and Mirror, Mirror) were directed by Women.

They are correct in their assumption that none of the films would be genre-defining, but the fact that women were given the control seat was commendable at the time. Thankfully, in recent years, talented filmmakers like Zoe Lister-Jones (The Craft: Legacy) have helped prove brilliance knows no gender bounds. (Lister-Jones even utilized an entirely female crew for her film Band Aid, for the first time in history.)

All that aside, we do end up with a cheesy film that does little to excite beyond its collation with the most famous killer doll of all.

The story is tired, using a lazy angle of an archaeological dig to release an evil spirit that just happens to find its way into a porcelain doll in a nearby factory.

I would say this is worth a watch and may even find a large cult audience thanks to historical horror stewards — Vinegar Syndrome — and their tireless effort at bringing movies back to life that arguably should have remained in the basement of some abandoned VHS store.

Famous Faces

Denise Crosby (Marilyn Wade) was Rachel Creed in the original adaptation of the Stephen King novel Pet Sematary.

Every actor should use the formula of Verb-Past Participle to come up with their stage name. I’m not sure they would come up with a name as cool as Rip Torn (Karl Resnick), but the late Elmore Torn has growled through many familiar roles — from Zed in the Men in Black series to Tom Green’s dad in Freddy Got Fingered.

Ed Gale (The Doll) has one of the coolest resumes in cinema history. He’s Howard T. Duck, Dink (Spaceballs), Jon Lovitz’s guard Bulldog in Mom and Dad Save the World, and — greatest of all —  Station from Bill and Ted’s Bogus Journey.

Of Gratuitous Nature

Of course, the teen’s fantasy would include a sexy nurse seducing him, nude.


Denise Crosby is looking her most babelicious. Like a full meal (is that more than a snack?). I’m not sure I realized how much I love her in this genre until I saw her doing the convention rounds.

Ripe for a Remake

The king and queen of killer dolls, Chucky and Annabelle, both launched wildly successful franchises. Additionally, films like Dead Silence and even Goosebumps have helped fulfill the evil sentient doll quota. But… there could be room to use current toy technology to control a kid, which might be creepy if done right.


It is not a sequel officially, but it was advertised while in pre-production as Child’s Play 4. It’s easy to make the comparison, and it may have been intentional. I’d much rather be compared to Stephen King than some blogger (alas is my fate). The cover of the aforementioned Fangoria issue which covers Dolly Dearest even pokes fun at the rip-off, proclaiming “Back to the toy store, Chucky!”

Where to Watch

Vinegar Syndrome released a Blu-Ray/DVD combo back in 2020 which has since sold out but is surprisingly available from big-box retailers.

Overall Rating (Out of 5 Butterflies): 2

The Daily Dig brings you hidden genre gems from the 1960s-90s you may have not yet discovered. You’ll get a brief rundown of everything you need to know, including where to watch each title for yourself. Come back each day, Mon-Fri, for new featured titles. CLICK HERE FOR A TIMELINE OF DAILY DIG COVERAGE.

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