Living Doll (1990)
By: Michael Helms on October 31, 2005  |  Comments  |  Bookmark and Share
Mondo Macabro (USA). All Regions, NTSC. 1.85:1 (16:9 enhanced). English DD 2.0 Mono. 95 minutes
The Movie
Director: Peter Litten & George Dugdale
Starring:Mark Jax, Eartha Kitt, Gary Martin, Katie Orgill, Freddie Earle, Heather Robbins
Screenplay: Mark Ezra & George Dugdale
Country: USA
Howard is a New York medical student who picks up work at the local morgue. He's in lust with the hospital flower seller, Christine, who doesn't want to know him. On a rare night out with his work pal and two nurses he spies Christine being mistreated by her boyfriend. Howard goes home alone.

Next day he's ordered to prepare a body - and it's Christine. "Simple as skinning a rabbit", says the pathologist as he cuts her open at the neck, pulls back the flap, and sticks a bone saw in. Howard himself is cut. Crying unconsolably he helps himself to Christine's handbag. Later he goes to her apartment to find a card stating Christine has a rare form of Catalespy and isn't really dead. Of course, Howard packs up Christine and takes her home.

From here on in Howard's life unpacks itself as his feelings for Christine intensify. Into the minutiae we get maggots, liquefying skin, Eartha Kitt as Howard's landlady, necrophilic tongue kissing, transvestite surprise, axolotyls, and the stench of death. Fittingly, it all comes to a head with bullets and Christine's decayed tits disappearing in a jelly explosion.

A case of a film that may sound better on paper than in reality, Living Doll is still a welcome addition to that tiny subgenre of horror: the necrophile flick. Two directors is always a sign for concern and that's true of Living Doll which doesn't seem to be able to balance the farcical with the truly horrible.
Sometimes fuzzy, very grainy, and mostly filmed in dark corners with minimal lighting, Living Doll struggles with it's lack of budget in most areas but it's most apparent in the visuals.
For the most part Living Doll sounds fine with the ominous music score always at hand. Dialogue on the mono soundtrack is kept clear and free of the sound effects that are required to get very juicy as Christine rapidly decays.
Extra Features
Highlight of a bountiful selection of extras is David McGillivray's droll contemporary diary readings from the period when he was working on a script that became Living Doll. He highlights his dealings with producer of LIving Doll Dick Randall. Also included is 52 minute documentary on another Randall flick, Don't Open 'Til Christmas. There's the same team's short Horrorshow, and interviews with actor Mark Jax (Howard) and credited writer Paul Hart-Wilden. And the original trailer, a massive amount of dead tree publicity, and the usual mass of enticing Mondo Macabro previews.
The Verdict
Recommended, for all sorts of necromaniacs.
Movie Score
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