‘Who hasn’t played with real dolls at some time or other?’
Miss Leslie’s Dolls is a 1973 American horror thriller feature film directed by Joseph G. Prieto (second unit director on Mexican pic The Beasts of Terror) from a screenplay co-written with Ralph Remy Jr. The movie stars Salvador Ugarte, Terri Juston and Marcelle Bichette.
Alma Frost, a beautiful university teacher and three of her students, Martha, Lily and Roy, are stranded in a backwoods area in the midst of a big thunderstorm. Forced to abandon their automobile in a cemetery they seek refuge in an old lonely house in the woods, where they meet with Miss Leslie, a kind, affable and middle-aged woman who lives in the house.
They’ll soon find out that Miss Leslie is a dangerous maniac obsessed with the thought of liberating her spirit from her ageing body, so that she – the spirit – may take possession of the healthy and wholesome body of a young girl, to make it her own and enjoy with it the pleasures of life and love.
With this mania in mind Miss Leslie has caused the death of several girls whom she has embalmed, keeping them in a sort of chapel-like chamber and calling them her “dolls”…
“Like a trash culture collage, all these little – ahem – ‘homages’ add to its demented charm. Which is just as well because, truth be told, there’s really very little that’s original in this mess-terpiece. They’d been making this sort of story since the thirties at least. And, for the first couple of reels, it’s as leadenly staged as anything from Monogram at their most threadbare. But stick with it because it has one overwhelmingly redeeming quality – Salvador Ugarte!” Film4Q
“There is corny dialogue to laugh at, an unbelievable acceptance of the goings on by the youngsters but a sinister tone is established and when the dolls appear we know we are watching something, just that little bit different. Great fun and after that slow start very enjoyable.” Christopher Underwood
Cast and characters:
- Salvador Ugarte … Miss Leslie
- Terri Juston … Miss Alma Frost
- Marcelle Bichette … Lily
- Kitty Lewis … Martha
- Charles Pitts … Roy Sanders – Supervixens
Presumed lost, a print was found and shown at the British Film Institute in London on September 30, 2009.
Network is releasing Miss Leslie’s Dolls on Blu-ray and DVD in the UK on September 3, 2018.
Image credits: Temple of Schlock