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Chosen One of the Day: The devil-dolls from Devil-Doll

Contributed by
May 20, 2018

Director Tod Browning is best known for a pair of horror classics: Dracula and Freaks. Those are both great movies, and it’s right that they should be remembered so fondly.

But, just FYI, did you know that there’s also a Browning movie, called The Devil-Doll (1936), where escaped convict Lionel Barrymore dresses up as an old woman so he can exact his vengeance upon the former business partners who framed him by siccing semi-sentient dolls on them? And that the “dolls” are actually human beings that have been shrunk down to a fraction of their size, with their mental capacity greatly diminished so they can be ordered to do anything, even (drumroll) kill?

Well, now you do.

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What can I say? Here at FANGRRLS, we love a good devil doll. Always have, always will.

The reason behind the shrinking is that the scientist who invented the procedure thinks it’ll help the world not run out of resources. If you’ll recall, that’s basically the plot of last year’s Downsizing, starring Matt Damon. Neither critics nor audiences liked Downsizing all that much. Maybe it needed Mr. Potter from It’s a Wonderful Life, undercover in Paris as an elderly female toy entrepreneur, stabbing someone with a Barbie-sized dagger in order to prepare him for his devil doll-ization? Or a scene where a human-turned-doll steals some jewelry and then stabs a sleeping man in the neck, paralyzing him for life? Maybe it needed more of this:

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I’d have seen Downsizing if it’d had an unhinged woman with Bride of Frankenstein hair obsessed with turning people (and dogs! and horses!) into devil dolls. Just sayin'.