21 May 2024
Devil Doll (1964)
79 min.
Directed by Lindsay Shonteff.
With Bryant Halliday, William Sylvester, Yvonne Romain, Sandra Dorne, Alan Gifford, Francis de Wolff.
Wedged between the solid Dead of Night (1945) and Richard Attenborough's Magic (1978), this 1964 tale of a ventriloquist with hypnotic powers is first class.

Bryant Halliday is excellent as the "The Great Vorelli," a sinister vaudeville ventriloquist who hypnotizes and then transfers the souls of hapless victims into his stage dummy Hugo.

Looking for a female soul to give Hugo a mate, Vorelli hopes to siphon the pure essence of beautiful - and rich - Marianne (Romain).

Marianne's boyfriend Mark (Sylvester) is determined to save her from Vorelli's twisted plans. He's researched the madman, and believes he knows his secrets. But can Mark stop both Vorelli and the possessed Hugo?

Filmed in crisp black & white, this British sleeper is an excellent pastiche of PSYCHO, The Twilight Zone and Tourist Trap.

Worth seeing. The climax is a keeper.

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