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Exclusive Interview: Stuart Gordon talks Dolls blu-ray and possible sequel!

Dolls Stuart Gordon Scream Factory Blu-ray horror DVD

Everybody remembers DOLLS. As I mention to the film's director, Stuart Gordon, in the below interview, the very image of the DOLLS poster seems ingrained in a generation's brain; even people who have never actually seen the film remember that image, or perhaps one or two scenes from it. Those of us who grew up with the film remember being quietly terrified by those amazingly lifelike creatures, who are by turns villainous and heroic.

And they've never been quite so lifelike as now, thanks to the new Blu-ray issued by the wonderful people at Scream Factory. The new disc, just released yesterday, shows the movie in crisp 1080p High-Definition, accentuating its superb cinematography and effects, and it's a glorious thing to behold. Film buffs will also appreciate the new documentary, which is over 30 minutes long and focuses on the surprisingly difficult process of bringing this movie to audiences. (For instance, did you know it was shot immediately before FROM BEYOND - always thought to be Gordon's natural follow-up to RE-ANIMATOR - but the post-production took so long that it was released after?)

Gordon was kind enough to spare a few minutes to talk to me about the new Blu-ray, as well as offer up some behind-the-scenes information about the making of the film, his idea for a sequel (or remake) and what he currently has on his plate. Enjoy!

Dolls Stuart Gordon Scream Factory Blu-ray horror DVD

I'm curious how involved you are in the actual restoration of a movie like DOLLS, do you supervise the transfer at all?

SG: No, I see it when it's done. I'm very pleased with the look of it. In the past, DOLLS didn't look very good, but now that it's coming out on Blu-ray, it looks gorgeous, the way it looked when it was first projected.

What was it like seeing the final, glorious HD result?

SG: Tt really brings out the wonderful photography of our D.P., Mac Ahlberg and the production design by Giovanni Natalucci.

Was it the first time you had revisited the film in a while, or do you check it out every few years?

SG: I hadn't seen it in a while, actually, and it was sort of nice. It's like seeing an old friend; some of it I had forgotten.

Sometimes you talk to directors who hate revisiting their movies.

SG: I enjoy it. There are always things you look at and thing, "I wish I could have done that differently," but for the most part I'm pretty pleased with what I see. And the fact that people are still watching DOLLS after all this time, I think it's miraculous.

Everybody remembers DOLLS - I think even people who have never seen it know what DOLLS is. Almost 30 years later, what's your take on how well its legacy has held up?

SG: I'm really pleased, because when it came out originally it was lost in the shuffle. It took time, all these years, for an audience to really find the film, to rediscover it. I'm very happy that there are these young people who are seeing it for the first time and loving it; you can't ask for much more than that.

Dolls Stuart Gordon Scream Factory Blu-ray horror DVD

Was it a difficult movie to get made? Because it sounds like an unusual process, you were basically making this and FROM BEYOND at the same time?

SG: Yeah, they said, "It's just a little movie, you can knock it off in a couple of weeks before you shoot FROM BEYOND," and it turned out to be far more complex than FROM BEYOND was. It turned out we needed an entire year to do the effects, and that's the reason it came out after FROM BEYOND, it was released a year later.

As a director, do you approach that situation with excitement, or is it nerve-wracking?

SG: It was kind of fun to jump back and forth between the two, they're such different films. It was great that we took the time to get the stop-motion animation right, which David Allen created for the film. That was what it really needed, we had all kinds of things while we were shooting it - puppets and mechanical dolls - but it was the stop-motion work that put it over the top. You had to see those dolls moving, and it was very time-consuming; I think it took him about six months.

That would all be done with CG today.

SG: Yeah, it's great. The stop-motion was all about using the dolls, and it worked out really well. David Allen gave me one of the dolls and I still have it.

What was it like collaborating with Charles Band, obviously you two worked on quite a few movies together.

SG: The thing that's great about Charlie is that he pretty much leaves you alone. Once you sign on to do the film, it becomes your film. Oftentimes there's only a poster and a title and you can pretty much do whatever you want. When we made CASTLE FREAK, I asked him what the movie was about. He said, "There's a castle and there's a freak." With DOLLS, there was a script written by Ed Naha that he handed me - the original title was actually THE DOLL, singular. I read it and really liked it, and it connected with a lot of things I had been reading about fairy tales, so I was excited about doing it.

I know there were scenes you shot for the film that were a little gorier, a little more sensational, but they were cut out. What happened there?

SG: It just didn't seem like the right tone. The movie has a sort of sweet, fairy tale quality to it, and it became too hard-edged, and it broke the mood. We did shoot some stuff that was very explicit. One of the dolls had a little pitchfork and pulled out Carolyn's - my wife's - intestines. Pretty gory, but it felt wrong for the movie.

The movie has such a great balance of sinister horror and almost light-hearted comedy. Did you know you were going to pull it off while on set?

SG: We knew on set that there was a great sense of humor to it, and luckily we had some actors who were really able to play the comedy. Stephen Lee, who played Ralph, was very, very funny. Unfortunately, he just passed away a few months ago. I loved working with him, I ended up doing three movies with him. But also my wife Carolyn, and Ian Patrick Williams, were really funny as well. Guy Rolfe and Hilary Mason worked so well together. I think comedy is the hardest thing to do, and they were all very good at it.

Dolls Stuart Gordon Scream Factory Blu-ray horror DVD

Do you remember the critical reception at all, or did you never pay attention to critics to begin with?

SG: The movie kind of came and went without much fanfare; the reviews, initially, were kind of mixed. But over time it went, as Hitchcock said, from a flop to a classic. I think that's why people are into it today, because it connects with audiences.

Did you ever want to make a sequel to it?

SG: I did, we talked about doing a sequel. It's kind of set up for a sequel at the end, when they invite her to come back next summer. We even had an idea for a sequel, in which she gets a package in the mail from England and opens it up and inside are two dolls, Gabriel and Hilary. That would be the way the story begins, at her home in Boston. But we never got around to making the film, unfortunately.

Dolls never go out of style, and even now with ANNABELLE being such a hit, I'm surprised there isn't remake talk.

SG: Yeah. [Laughs] Maybe at some point we'll get a chance to do it. The young actress, Carrie Lorraine, she's grown up now, so we could make a sequel about Judy having a family of her own.

In recent years you've been focusing on the theater, and of course you have a theater background. Do you find it to be more artistically satisfying as opposed to working in cinema?

SG: Actually I love doing both of them, they're pretty different. Theater is where I began so it's very close to my heart, but with movies there are things you can't do on the stage - and vice versa. I really like both of them.

I saw Re-Animator The Musical in NY a couple years ago and it was a blast.

SG: Oh great! We're about to take it to Las Vegas.

Is there a DOLLS musical in the future?

SG: [Laughs] That would be a quite a trick, I think.

Are you still working on your Edgar Allan Poe play NEVERMORE with Jeffrey Combs? Is there a movie in the works yet?

SG: We were talking about doing a film version. We're looking into it. My preference would be to bring NEVERMORE to New York, really would I'd like to do. Jeffrey just brought it to Boston on Halloween and it was a big success there. I'd really love to have it play in New York, though.

What are you currently working on, be it stage or screen?

SG: Well, I'm working on a couple of things. I just did a play - which again I'd like to see play in New York - called TASTE, which is based on the true story of the Rotenburg Cannibal, the guy who put an ad on the internet to find someone he could kill and eat. The play is about the two men meeting for the first time - the first and last time. And it's very strong; we did it here in Los Angeles and people were fainting in the theater.

Scream Factory is doing ROBOT JOX next. Have you seen anything from it?

SG: Yeah, that's great. I haven't seen what the plans are, but knowing them, they're going to be doing a lot of extras. It's never been released with any extras, so I'm really looking forward to it.

Thank you for your time, Stuart.

SG: Thank you!

Dolls Stuart Gordon Scream Factory Blu-ray horror DVD

You can order DOLLS on Blu-ray right HERE.

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