Puppet Purgatory

Devil Doll

The Great Vorelli is great for several reasons, none of which has anything to do with his righteous beard. Vorelli is a hypnotist/ventriloquist who, along with his lap dummy Hugo, thrill London audiences with amazing feats of making wood talk. Backstage, Vorelli keeps Hugo in a locked cage. I would’ve stuffed him in a closet or something. But what the hell do I know about ventriloquism?

Devil Doll

Hugo, as it turns out, houses the soul of a former assistant, transferred there by Vorelli. And Vorelli hates that little b-hole, mocking and taunting him by saying stuff like, “You’ll never drink booze again.” (Actually, it was wine, but I don’t like wine, so I substituted booze instead. It’s my blog – I do what I want.)

Devil Doll

Vorelli is fixated on a young heiress and plans to use his skills to make her hot for him so he can appropriate her bank account. Vorelli needs the doll to kill her and transfer her soul into the puppet, thereby making Hugo’s chi homeless. But the dummy ain’t no dummy, and Hugo gets his moment in the sun by turning tables on his brow-beating boss.

Devil Doll

Vorelli has about as much charisma as an articulated mannequin. Hugo doesn’t say much, but is a man of action and pulls a soul-transfer maneuver Vorelli would’ve been impressed with. And the heiress’ boyfriend? A trophy to parade around until he’s needed to finally do something in the last two minutes. Devil Doll (1964) needed a woodchipper to liven things up.

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